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  • Former Mayor of Salinas City in California, Dennis Donoghue, receiving the symbolic shamrock.
  • Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell and the former Mayor of Salinas City in California, Dennis Donoghue took part in a symbolic shamrock-giving Skype session.

Bridging Irish and US AgTech Sectors

Posted on March 22, 2016 14:15 PM by WGCIT

AgTech collaboration was taken to new heights this St. Patrick’s Day, when Salinas, Calif. and Ireland virtually conversed about ways to advance high-tech solutions in the ag industry. Paul Bell, the mayor of Drogheda in Ireland, and Dennis Donahue, former mayor of Salinas, connected via Skype on the eve of St. Paddy’s Day about a common bond both cities share: Innovation Centers.

Drogheda is known as the “Gateway to the Boyne Valley” and houses some of the most well-known agri-food companies in Europe. As gateways to major food valley in their respective regions, Drogheda and Salinas have long been sister cities. Since their official twinning in 2012, the agtech sector in both locations has progressed rapidly. Drogheda and Salinas plan to work together on developing common agtech goals and objectives and support each other in carrying out strategies and tactics.

“The long-standing relationship between Salinas and Drogheda will be improved, and the co-operation between both Innovation Centres and regions, offers a great opportunity to further cement the strong partnership, and take a leading role in a rapidly-expanding sector,” said Donahue.

Similar to the WG Center for Innovation & Technology in Salinas, the Mill Enterprise Hub is Drogheda’s first community enterprise center that focuses on accelerating the creation and growth of startups and entrepreneurs in the region. The Mill was conceived over five years ago and has already launched a host of programs that connect new enterprises to existing food and agricultural companies, including FoodTech@TheMill, the Female Entrepreneurship Programme, Youth Entrepreneurship and more.

During the conversation, Bell and Donahue discussed how the WGCIT and Mill can cross-share expertise and examined future collaborations. They also spoke about the strong potential for rural and urban businesses in their respective regions to develop their business by adopting high-tech solutions in the agri-food sector.

Additionally, there was a “Shamrock-giving” ceremony where Salinas was awarded the official Shamrock by Drogheda. The ceremony was an opportunity to re-confirm both regions’ commitment to examine how they could work together on a mutually-beneficial basis. As drivers of the agtech movement, both cities will remain in constant contact about ways to advance and shape the future of the industry.