From Idea to Impact: Building Startups with Purpose

From Idea to Impact: Building Startups with Purpose

Join us for an engaging panel discussion where leading incubators and accelerators discuss their strategies for supporting high-growth agtech companies at the forefront of agricultural innovation. This session will explore the unique challenges and opportunities within the agtech sector, highlighting success stories and the pivotal role these organizations play in nurturing the startups that are revolutionizing the agriculture industry. Panelists will share insights into mentorship, funding, networking, and the essential resources they provide to help agtech companies thrive in a competitive market.

Moderator: Robert Saik, AGvisorPRO In 2021 Robert was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 50 Most Influential Agriculture Leaders and was named one of Canada’s Top 10 Ag Mentors.

ROBERT SAIK has forty years of experience as a Professional Agrologist, entrepreneur and an international consultant who’s worked with a wide variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates. He was one of only 3 private citizens to address the October 2020 FAO_UN High Level Special Event (Rome) organized by the Committee for World Food Security to address agriculture sustainability.

Robert is the founder and CEO of award-winning AGvisorPRO, a technology platform that connects those seeking agriculture advice with trusted experts who can provide answers now. In 2023 he also founded visorPRO® which is AI serving the farm equipment and construction sectors.


Megan Croft Shapka is the Ecosystem and Partnership Operations Manager at SVG Ventures I THRIVE, a leading global agri-food tech innovation and investment platform. She is responsible for supporting the execution of THRIVE Canada’s programs, building strategic relationships in Canada, and managing government partnerships.

Megan has a diverse background, primarily in the public sector, with experience in industry engagement, business development, client relationship management, government relations, applied research operations management and leadership, program and curriculum development, and communications. A deeply passionate changemaker with a flair for disrupting the status quo by creating innovative processes, she is keenly interested in sustainability, agriculture, and food production.

Megan formerly led applied research administration, operations and facilities focused on integrated food systems, irrigated crop production, post-harvest and storage techniques, and spatial technologies; establishing strong entrepreneurial ecosystems and support services for small- and medium-sized enterprises; and building and leading incubator programming focused on agriculture innovation and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Megan has an MBA, majoring in entrepreneurship, from Edinburgh Napier University; an MEd in sustainability, creativity, and innovation from Cape Breton University; and a bachelor’s degree in professional communications from Athabasca University.

Bre Walkeden is a Regina based leader, passionate about all things community, connection and innovation. In her role at Cultivator, Bre helps to grow the SK tech and agriculture eco-system through supporting innovative startups and founders to START, GROW and SCALE their companies. Through the AGTECH ACCELERATOR program, Cultivator supports top agtech startups from across Canada and beyond to improve the future of agriculture. She loves building meaningful partnerships and bringing people together to work towards the same goal.

Rakesh Bhat Associate, DiscoveryLab. Previously Senior Manager, Manufacturing and and Procurement, Entos Pharmaceuticals; Director, Precision Bio Laboratories; Director of Laboratory Science, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation; Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta.

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