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Pieter De Smedt - Participant 2017

I have discovered doors to new opportunities I did not even know existed. My life and career have changed tremendously as a result.


The central goal of the project was to set up a regional office for North America in Miami (Florida) for Urban Crop Solutions, a global provider of indoor vertical farms.


Pieter had to investigate how the company’s products and services could be implemented in this nascent industry – tailor-made plant growth installations. This included conducting a market analysis as well as creating brand awareness, building a network and generating customer leads and enabling sales. Pieter had to do all of this while dealing with the challenge of a conservative American agricultural industry.

Unlike Europe, where Dutch greenhouse technology has paved the way, the U.S. market is more skeptical when it comes to adopting new technologies for indoor vertical farming. “Active lead generation required more tailored marketing materials for the U.S. market.”

How he benefited

Thanks to his Prince Albert Fund experience, Pieter was able to make the transition from the legal field into the world of business, a decision he hasn’t regretted! “I started off alone in a foreign country in an entirely new role with a start-up company in a nascent industry, which was a bit destabilizing initially. While I still have a lot to learn today, I am proud of my progress and achievements.”

At the end of the assignment, Pieter and Urban Crop Solutions decided that they both wanted to continue collaborating. He was thus appointed USA Country Manager.

The company – Urban Crop Solutions

Founded in Beveren-Leie (Belgium), Urban Crop Solutions is a global turnkey solution provider in automated plant growth infrastructure and plant growth recipes. It also supplies seeds, substrates and nutrients for clients. Currently the company has a growing list of more than 200 varieties of crops that can be grown in closed environment vertical farms. After opening the largest automated plant factory in Europe, Urban Crop Solutions has launched activities in Miami in 2016 and opened a division in Japan in 2017.

“Pieter proved to be a valuable asset for UCS, helping to raise the company’s profile in the U.S. market. He became our main U.S. point of contact in no time at all and developed
a wide network in our specific industry.”

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