Calgary, Alberta, April 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd. (UFA) together with Zone Startups Calgary (ZSC) are pleased to announce a partnership to collaborate and support early-stage agriculture technology companies with technical and commercial validation through UFA and ZSC’s program offerings.

Zone Startups Calgary is an accelerator for pilot-ready technology startups with strong teams and a vision to become fast-growing market leaders. ZSC is operated by Ryerson Futures Inc., a Toronto-based global accelerator program. In 2016, it created Zone Startups Calgary in a partnership with GE Canada, Baker Hughes General Electric, and TELUS to accelerate the commercialization of innovative digital technology companies within the agricultural, energy, 5G, and transportation sectors. In addition to Calgary, Zone Startups programs are present on a global stage with operations in Toronto, India, and Vietnam, having worked with a number of partners, including Barclays, Bombay Stock Exchange, Shell, RBC, Rogers Communications and TD Bank.

“Zone Startups Calgary is a great fit for United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative,” says Scott Bolton, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Technology changes rapidly, especially in the agricultural industry, and we recognize the need to not only move into the innovation space, but to start driving it for our members. ZSC’s mandate and commitment to supporting the development of early-stage companies strongly aligns with UFA’s Innovation Strategy and our core purpose of serving our members with value-add propositions and solutions.”

Joe Martini, Director of Zone Startups Calgary, comments that “UFA has demonstrated their commitment to innovation by funding projects through partnerships with CAP, SIRCA, and Olds College, but also investing time and resources helping leaders of tomorrow fulfill their goals of innovation in agriculture.”

“ZSC looks forward to collaborating with UFA to source and curate technology companies that address UFA’s and its customers’ innovation challenges as well as providing agricultural technology companies with access to market, commercialization programming, and support,” says Martini. “The UFA/Zone Startups collaboration will make a meaningful impact on the AgTech community and lay a foundation for expedited technology commercialization.”

“Throughout the year, our co-operative focuses its efforts on serving our members and customers and investing in our infrastructure, business processes, and teams. Part of that investment now includes innovation, ultimately with the end goal of adding value for our members while solving problems, and helping them to get the job done,” adds Bolton. “Our mandate has always been about staying the course and making smart decisions. As we enter a new decade, it’s even more important that UFA makes the right business decisions—even in a challenging economic and political environment—and invests in diversified solutions for the future so that we remain financially healthy for many years to come.”

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About UFA Co-operative Limited:

Founded in 1909, UFA Co-operative Limited is an Alberta-based agricultural co-operative with more than 120,000 member-owners. UFA’s network comprises more than 111 bulk fuel and Cardlock Petroleum locations, 34 Farm & Ranch Supply stores, and a support office located in Calgary. Independent Petroleum Agents and more than 950 UFA employees provide products, services, and agricultural solutions to farmers, ranchers, members, and commercial customers in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. For more information, visit www.UFA.com.

About Ryerson Futures and Zone Startups:

Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) operates corporate accelerator programs focused on growing and investing in early-stage technology companies. RFI's programs include Zone Startups Calgary in partnership with GE, Baker Hughes, TELUS, and UFA, Zone Startups Sports + Media in partnership with Rogers, Zone Startups India including programs with the Shell Foundation, and Zone Startups Vietnam in partnership with Unibrands, Vina Capital, TTG Holdings, and Talentnet. Since 2013, RFI and Zone Startups companies have raised over $700MM in financing. For more information about Ryerson Futures and Zone Startups, visit ryersonfutures.ca and zonestartups.com, and for information on Zone Startups Calgary, visit calgary.zonestartups.com.

Trish Nixon
UFA Co-operative Ltd.
403-875-7595
trish.nixon@ufa.com

Joe Martini
Zone Startups Calgary
403-826-8734
joe@zonestartups.com