Heal the planet? Solve world hunger? Fix a worldwide protein shortage? There’s a woman waiting with a solution to each of these problems right now.
At this month’s Ag Innovation Showcase in St. Louis, Mo., organizers have noticed an uptick in recent years in women-led ag startups. This year’s event will feature six females pitching on the main stage to would-be investors and other attendees.
“When we started Ag Showcase, back in 2009, it was with the idea to accelerate ag innovation in a meaningful way,” says Sam Fiorello, COO of the Danforth Plant Science Center and president of the Bio Research and Development Growth Park, which co-organizes AIS with Larta Institute. “It is encouraging to see more female entrepreneurs being highlighted.”
Rohit Shukla, CEO and founder of Larta Institute, notes that in 2015, both the winner and runner up for the AIS Best of Show award were both female entrepreneurs – Amelia Baxter from WholeTrees and Sara Bellos from Stony Creek Colors.
“The trend towards women should not be surprising,” he says. “These are talented, driven, consummate entrepreneurs who happen to be women, and many of them are committed to and focused on building ecologically responsible technologies. As such, they are an inspiration to all innovators in this evolving and inspired sector.”
Females at this year’s AIS will conduct presentations on:
- NeoGram – this company breeds tropical grazing grass for cattle that improves grass-to-meat ratio by 37% and reduces greenhouse emissions from cattle by 58%.
- Kiverdi – this company recycles greenhouse gasses through single-cell organisms to produce food or fuel.
- Cotyledon Consulting – this company has a biological solution to herbicide resistance they call “StemShock.”
- Ignitia – this company uses a scalable tropical weather forecasting model they say is about twice as accurate as existing global models.
- XTB Laboratories – this company developed an early detection system for the orange industry for the devastating citrus greening disease.
- SmartVision Works – this company developed a patent-pending machine that will sort and classify anything as small as a micrometer.
The 2016 AIS takes place Sept. 14-16 in St. Louis.