• Herts based agritech business hub growing rapidly
  • Sixty percent increase in office space in 2019 will house even more innovative businesses
  • Adds to growing regional strength in agriculture, environment and food related industries

World-renowned agricultural research institute Rothamsted Research has said increased demand is behind the planned expansion in capacity of its on-site innovation facilities for business.

The newly named Rothamsted Agritech Business Centre will increase in size by 60% from April, to accommodate companies wishing to join with the twenty-one already based at the Institute’s Harpenden headquarters.

Nicole Sadd, the Executive Director of Rothamsted Enterprises who run the Agritech Business Centre - along with the Conference Centre, Restaurant, and Manor House venue - said it was an exciting time for both the Rothamsted campus and the region.

“We’ve reached a real critical mass now and that’s attracting business from all over the world. The Hub is thriving, and both the companies on-site and the Institute’s scientists are benefiting from being able to share ideas, knowledge and facilities.

“It certainly helps being attached to perhaps the best-known agricultural research centre in the world. When you include our on-site conferencing facilities, our transport links, and our proximity to London, it’s made us attractive for anyone looking to start up a business in this sector.

“When you also factor in the rise of the Green Triangle partnership, and the Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter Enterprise Zone, the county is fast becoming the nexus for smart ideas in the fields of sustainability, farming and food production.”

Businesses with a presence at Rothamsted range in size - from start-ups and SMEs right through to established international agribusiness such as Gowan Crop Protection and Timac Agro.

Agri-tech innovation is booming in the UK, with the sector worth over £14 billion to UK economy, so as well as having scientists and businesses on site, Rothamsted Enterprises also has the investors flocking.

“Being able to bring world leading researchers together with exciting visionaries and disrupters is crucial for the UK’s innovation sector,” says Sadd. “Add in a number of investors, and Rothamsted really is at the centre of this new ‘food web’.”

These collaborations are already bearing fruit, with several tenants forging links with scientists based at the Institute.

Babwe Barton Enterprises, who specialise in capturing energy and emissions expelled from air-conditioning units and heating systems, have forged several such links, according to CEO Christopher Barton.

“Our technology recovers pollutants converting them into other useful chemicals, and energy, which is turned into electricity.

“We’ve also been working with some Rothamsted scientists, testing the particulates that are captured and establishing whether they are usable for commercially viable products such as fertiliser.”

Alongside the Business Centre, Rothamsted Enterprises also runs the on-site Rothamsted Conference Centre, which held over 1400 events and welcomed 52,000 delegates through its doors last year.

Rothamsted Manor, the 17th century, Grade I listed manor house, is now used as a venue for weddings, VIP receptions and other special events.

The popular Rothamsted Restaurant, which has been open to the public for 2 years, is also going from strength to strength, with over 40,000 sales in 2018.