Business Gateway helps north-east agricultural software firm ‘dig up’ funding to improve safety in farming
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Business Gateway has helped an agriculture software firm access over £16,000 of funding which has enabled the successful launch of an app that will improve farming health and safety.
Launched in 2020, Smart Farmer logs pre-start safety checks on farm machinery, allowing operators to see when machines were last serviced and if there are any issues, instead of the previous impractical method of maintaining paper records.
Recognised as an expert in his field, founder Marc Skivington from Kineff was keen to solve existing impracticalities within the industry while revolutionising the way records are shared.
Equipped with agri-sector knowledge, Marc had the theoretical experience, passion and initial concept, but it was Business Gateway that provided the practical experience necessary to form a robust business plan that helped bring Smart Farmer from concept to cash.
Following one-to-one support on his business plan, Marc was able to approach Aberdeenshire Council and secure over £16,000 of funding.
As well as a suite of resources including marketing advice, innovation support and access to market research reports, Business Gateway also signposted Marc to a software developer in Aberdeen to support with the creation of the Smart Farmer app.
The app’s embedded software system means recording and reporting machinery is easy thanks to the use of a QR code and results are recorded on the app and online and can be shared immediately.
Over the last year Smart Farmer has grown from strength to strength and was awarded Gold for Agri-Tech Innovator of the Year at the 2020 British Farming Awards, as well as the silver award for innovation at the Royal Highland Show in 2021, increasing brand awareness across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Marc, founder of Smart Farmer, said: “Business Gateway and my adviser John provided constant encouragement and helped me step out of my comfort zone as I started on this journey, pointing me in the right direction at every juncture.
"They helped ensure my business plan was robust enough to successfully secure funding and put me in touch with a software developer so that Smart Farmer could become a reality.
“Looking ahead, I’m pleased to be recognised to be leading the way in agri-tech innovation and I’m confident we will continue to go from strength to strength over the coming months.”
John MacGillivray, Business Gateway adviser, said: “For many businesses starting out, funding is often a vital component to launching a product. "While Marc had the vision, passion, and ambition, by working with our team of advisers we built resilience into his business plan, which put him in a strong position to secure funding to enable the launch of his product.
“Not only is it rewarding to see Marc’s creation come to life, but also how well the business has been received by the farming industry.
"We look forward to supporting Marc as Smart Farmer continues to grow.”