RVJ Agribusiness Academy moves into the Thames Valley
The RVJ Agribusiness Academy is part of parent company RVJ Eurasia Food and Agro Services. The academy is the product of 7+ years of consultation with education, business and stakeholders in the provision of agri-business education. In February 2016 the Academy was officially launched in the United Kingdom, following the move of their operations and HQ into Reading from their base in The Netherlands. The academy is led by Dr. Vijayender Nalla co-founder and a food & agribusiness entrepreneur with a personal mission to contribute to a secure and sustainable food system.
The “Agribusiness Academy” caters to the learning and development needs of the food & agribusiness space by creating and delivering programmes on industry relevant themes. An IP rich, content-driven business, the agribusiness academy’s mission is to be the gateway to food & agribusiness expertise by creating content that is, inspiring for learners, relevant to industry and value adding for organisations. The Academy partners with thought leaders, from educational institutions and industry professionals, at the forefront of their spaces and utilises technology that facilitates the highest degree of learner flexibility. The Academy’s uniqueness sits in their ability to create and deliver a learning pathway that is relevant and person-alised to both learners and organisations.
Vijayender first approached UKTI (now the Department of Trade) in November 2015 looking to establish a presence in the UK. With a specific interest in the Thames Valley as a preferred location, DIT’s Head of Investment in The Netherlands referred him to DIT’s Partnership Manager for the South East. Mobilising Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce (TVCC) – the local delivery partner for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP – and their soft-landing service team DIT were able to work with TVCC to help with the Academy’s initial request for information relating to establishing their UK limited company; flexible office space; support in identifying staff and help with making introductions to industry specialists.
As part of the wider DIT’s team supporting the client’s investment, Simon Banham, Head of Investment for the Netherlands, he reported, “Vijayender showed a passion and a clarity of vision for the UK from the moment we first spoke in The Netherlands. It was therefore easy to build a clear understanding of the business’s needs and outline how we could be of support and assist his move to and investment in the UK. Having a long standing relationship with Gareth allowed a seamless introduction of the business, knowing further support was in good hands”.
Vijayender comments, “From the outset we were impressed with the speed, professionalism, knowledge and support we received from the UKTI (now DIT) and Chamber team. The DIT and Thames Valley Chamber team ‘hit the spot’ perfectively and made us feel comfortable with our investment decision, and at home and part of the Thames Valley family immediately. Our request to engage a technical (Agribusiness) specialist, with relevant knowledge and understand of our market and networks (inc. with the University of Reading) was met 100% with the introduction to DIT’s Agri-Tech’s industry specialist Professor Paul Berryman. We were also immediately introduced to residential property agents to enable our search for a new home. That was GREAT. The DIT’s Partnership Manager (Gareth Ralphs) and the Chamber team maintained close, and welcome, contact throughout our transition and move into the UK. I’d commend the DIT and the local Chamber team to any business looking to invest in the Thames Valley”.
DIT’s Partnership Manager introduced the DIT’s Agri-Tech Specialist, Professor Paul Berryman, to provide technical support, Paul states, “my role at DIT is to assist overseas companies to invest in the UK’s Agri-Food sector. I was therefore delighted to help RVJ Agribusiness Academy to establish a UK presence, by providing relevant contacts, technical information and business advice.”
Supporting the Academy’s search for flexible office space, the business finally chose GROW @ Green Park a collaboration, incubation & co-working hub offering. GROW’s Louize Clarke welcomed the Academy and Vijayender in January 2016, “It was great to welcome The Agribusiness Academy to our family at GROW at Green Park, he joins where like-minded, innovators, developer and creative entrepreneurs get together. He’s quickly become part of the GROW community and enjoying contributing to the thriving peer network we promote”.
Since landing DIT and the Chamber has continued to support the Academy as they expand and build their business here in the Thames Valley. DIT’s Global Entrepreneurs Programme have supported Vijayender providing him access to a wider range of Government information and guidance; DIT have also facilitated introductions to overseas markets, including Nigeria, to support their business growth and export orientated business and enabled the business to meet visiting overseas delegation.
Vijayender concludes, “six months into our move to the United Kingdom, we are and remain very pleased with our original decision. We are growing our business, networks and recruiting. As a location the Thames Valley is just right and is an environment we have and believe can continue to thrive. It provides us direct access to the academic institutions and specialists we crave and access to London without the costs”.