Agribusiness is geared towards innovation, says Simone Stülp

Agribusiness is geared towards innovation, says Simone Stülp

Until a few years passed over by risk investors, with few deals and low investment volume, AgTechs (technology startups) definitely changed the game. In 2021, the best year for venture capital in Brazil, these companies received BRL 109.2 million in contributions, according to data from Distrito.

The truth is that AgTechs are allies for the transformation of one of the most important sectors of our economy, and are one of the attractions of the Arena Agrodigital, of the 23rd Expodireto Cotrijal, in Não-Me-Toque (RS). “Startups are the engine of the economy not only in the future, but already in the present, and the State has a great priority to promote them”, commented the Secretary of Innovation, Science and Technology of the State, Simone Stülp, who participated in a panel at the fair.

Mercado Digital – What is the great value for our economy of inserting startups in the world of agribusiness?

Simone – Agribusiness is a sector dedicated to innovation. We cannot talk about agribusiness in the 21st century, in the face of so many imminent changes, without thinking about new techniques and new ways of producing food and commodities. The rural producer is increasingly attentive to opportunities, understanding that property management is enhanced with the use of new technologies. Thus, we have benefits that extend along an entire fundamental chain for the economy of Rio Grande do Sul. Through technologies provided by startups, it is now possible to carry out integrated property management, reduce the use of pesticides, monitor the climate and make more assertive decisions, use drones to spray intelligently, in addition to other technologies that use Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT), always thinking about optimizing production and facilitating decision-making.

Digital Market – How can we accelerate these connections with rural producers?

Simone – It is of unique importance to see major events bringing startups and fostering this exchange between major players, because it brings solutions closer to the market they are effectively targeting. Therefore, we have this opportunity for rural producers to get in touch with the technologies proposed by startups, in addition to having investors and major players who can also leverage them. It is in this face-to-face exchange space where great partnerships are established. I am an event enthusiast, because nothing replaces being able to look into the eyes of the person who is proposing something to you. In addition, it is essential to have different players exchanging ideas, talking, coming together to think about new things, because innovation essentially happens in collaborative and co-creation spaces.

Digital Market – What are the government’s actions to try to maximize opportunities for startups?

Simone – Startups are the engine of the economy not only in the future, but already in the present, and the State has a high priority to encourage them. The government has several actions that promote the approximation between startups and companies, thinking in terms of open innovation. The Startup Lab program, run by the Secretariat of Innovation, Science and Technology, has open innovation rounds in the eight regional innovation ecosystems in the state of Rio Grande do Sul and received a contribution of approximately R$ 1.9 million through the Avançar program. In addition, all of our public notices foresee the partnership between the so-called quadruple helix, composed of universities, public authorities, companies and organized civil society. Several projects that received significant financial support in the last four years have partnered with startups, which provide the technological solution that is leveraged and operationalized by an ICT. Nor can we forget the RS Innovation Agro, the first space exclusively dedicated to the discussion of agribusiness within Expointer, which was created in partnership with the Brazilian Federation of Breed Animal Breeders Associations (Febrac) in 2022. In this space, we launched Inova Agro, the first public notice to promote exclusively the agribusiness sector, with a contribution of more than R$ 7.5 million through the Research Support Foundation of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (Fapergs), with resources of up to R$ 100 thousand reserved for startups. At RS Innovation Agro, we also had the presence of 68 agtechs, who had a stand and were also able to present their pitches on stage.

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