A ground-breaking Greek company is paving the way for increased use of technology in agriculture. EU funding was vital in helping it get started.
Greek start-up Agroknow marries technology with farming by collecting, managing and organising agricultural information to help farmers increase and improve their crop production. “We know where you can find information, how to combine it and with which technology you can best exploit it,” says founder, Nikos Manouselis.
The idea for the company came to him by chance. While he was doing his PhD, he realised that “there’s something very interesting about the way in which all the information in the field of agronomy is digitally organised and stored”.
EU funding brought his ideas to fruition. “I realised that the EU had decided to boost research into the use of computers in agriculture and how everyone could gain knowledge and improve crops and their quality. I saw that funding was available and that there was room for what I was doing,” he says.
Thus Agroknow was born in 2008 and grew by exploiting the power of the open data movement (which promotes the use, distribution and sharing of data on the condition that the creator is credited). It has since undertaken projects on behalf of global clients such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“I believe we used that European funding in the best way, developing and evolving a rare know-how, which we export to customers from the rest of the world,” says Manouselis. Indeed, Agroknow is now held up as a model for how EU funding can boost entrepreneurship.
Manouselis points out that the EU’s contribution doesn’t stop at funding. “The EU environment has offered us another significant competitive advantage. We have learned to operate in a multicultural environment and to collaborate with people who have a very different culture and speak different languages,” he concludes.