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Winners of competition at Norwich Research Park, L-R: Ken Tam, research associate at Ediform, Josh Colmer, CEO Trairseq, and Yan Fen Lee, Co-founder of OPAU. PHOTO: Chris Ball Photography (Image: Chris Ball Photography).

Source: Eastern Daily Press, 3rd December 2023

An Artificial Intelligence firm that helps farmers increase crop efficiency has won a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition at the county’s top research park.

The contest, hosted by Norwich Research Park, pitted eight businesses against each other to win a year’s free virtual tenancy at the hub, plus £500 cash.

TraitSeq, a software company that uses AI to predict agricultural traits for the development of high-yield and climate resistant crops and animal breeds, came out on top, following a five minute pitch by the team.

As part of its prize, the firm will benefit from access to funding, mentors, networks and events, which the Norwich Research Park leadership team hopes will help accelerate the business’s growth. 

Two other firms also won free tenancies at the park: OPAU, a waterless technology company, and Ediform, which designs solutions for those with swallowing difficulties.

The event chair, Dr Soraya Jones, who is the UEA’s Royal Society entrepreneur-in-residence, said: “At the UEA, we aim to support students and academics within the faculty by enhancing their knowledge of entrepreneurship, giving them a greater awareness of the commercialisation process and learning how to be more engaged with the business and investor communities.

“The Innovation Hothouse competition is part of this initiative.”