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Top women in agrifood to watch

For International Women's Day, we honor the extraordinary contributions of women in the agrifood sector, embodying resilience, innovation, and leadership.

08 Mar 2024
EIT Food South
23 min reading time

Despite facing significant challenges, women entrepreneurs are driving positive change and shaping a more sustainable future for all.

At EIT Food, we are proud to support and empower women entrepreneurs through our programmes and initiatives. From the Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA) Programme to the EIT Food Accelerator Network, Seedbed, Team Up and including Supernovas, an initiative expanding beyond the sectors, we provide platforms for women to thrive, innovate, and succeed in the agrifood sector.

As we commemorate International Women's Day, let us amplify the voices and achievements of women in agrifood, celebrating their resilience, creativity, and dedication to building a more inclusive and sustainable food system for the future. Join us in honoring these trailblazing women and their remarkable contributions to the agrifood industry.

Our most sincere recognition to all the inspiring women making a difference in agrifood and beyond.

Julie Koch Fahler, Co-founder and COO of Agreena, leads Europe's top soil carbon platform, revolutionizing agricultural commodity trading. With over 13 years of diverse experience spanning e-commerce, digital media, and marketing strategy, Julie drives innovation from Copenhagen, Denmark. As a retail industry expert, she's reshaping how agricultural products are traded online, ensuring Agreena's impact reaches wholesalers and retail investors alike. Julie's dedication to sustainability and strategic vision make her a driving force in the agrifood sector.

María Martínez, Co-founder of Agrodit, draws inspiration from her grandfather's farming legacy to innovate sustainable irrigation solutions. With a focus on water efficiency and increased yield, Agrodit's Guardian tech revolutionizes irrigation management, saving water and fertilizers while boosting crop production by 40%. Recognized by the EIT Food Accelerator Network with a prestigious Tech Validation award in 2023, Agrodit is committed to driving innovation in agriculture for a more sustainable future.

Débora Campos, CEO and Founder of AgroGRIn Tech, is a pioneer in sustainable solutions for a greener world. Recognized by Forbes Portugal for her contributions to gender equality in the labor market, Débora participated in the inaugural EWA Programme by EIT Food. AgroGRIn Tech specializes in eco-friendly processes, transforming industrial fruit waste into functional food ingredients. With patented technology for ingredient separation, AgroGRIn Tech ensures efficient waste management and environmental preservation.

Lena Jüngst, Co-founder and Co-inventor of air up, brings her expertise as a scent-based taste expert to the forefront of the company's mission. Recognized in Forbes' 30 Under 30, Lena is passionate about creatively nudging people into better consumption behaviors and inspiring change through design. Her role involves innovating scent-based taste technology, promoting the brand, and advocating for sustainable consumption practices.

Inés Carballo Tomé, Founder and CEO of Aitana Espirulina, is a marine biologist specializing in microalgae cultivation for biomass. Based in Alicante, Spain, she designs projects in permaculture and regenerative agriculture. Aitana Espirulina produces artisanal spirulina of the highest quality, sustainably cultivated between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of Alicante. With a commitment to ethics and coherence, they strive to be the change they want to see in the world, offering fully traceable spirulina while contributing to mitigating climate change. The company excelled in EIT Food's programmes, Team Up and EWA, winning the 2021 edition of the latter.

Selin Mumcu, Co-founder of Algdeha, holds a bachelor's degree in genetics and bioengineering, along with a master's degree in biotechnology. With a background in plant biotechnology research, she spearheads microorganism cultivation and fermentation process optimization at Algdeha. The company offers sustainable algal solutions for fish-based industries, addressing the inefficiency of relying on wild fish for fish meal and oil. Through their unique production method, Algdeha provides high omega-3 microorganism-based solutions, contributing to a more sustainable approach to fish farming and nutrition. Algdeha was selected for the second edition of the EIT Food Seedbed programme in Spain, further enhancing their growth and development opportunities.

Nika Pintar, Founder of Ani Biome, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey after facing severe gastrointestinal issues in her mid-twenties, which significantly impacted her mental wellbeing. Motivated to enhance her quality of life, she delved into the science of fermented micronutrients and their effects on the gut-brain axis. This led to the creation of Ani Biome, a longevity biotech startup focused on personalized solutions backed by science to support gut microbiome health and enhance emotional and cognitive resilience. Ani Biome's commitment to innovation is highlighted by its participation in EIT Food's Rocket Up programme, where it was recognized among four women-led startups pioneering new mobility markets in 2023.

Isabel Vercauteren is the CEO and Co-founder of Aphea.Bio, a pioneering R&D company in Ghent, Belgium, focusing on developing innovative biological products from naturally occurring microorganisms. With a background in plant molecular biology and extensive experience in research and development, business development, and project management, Isabel is leading Aphea.Bio in revolutionizing modern agriculture towards a healthier and more sustainable food system.

Laura Lorenzo, Founder and CEO of A Piece of Lemon Cake, boasts over 15 years of experience in disruptive business models and sustainable agrifood tech systems design. Winner of 4 international awards, including from the European Space Agency, she leads initiatives in circular economy and climate-tech. Established in 2020, A Piece of Lemon Cake pioneers circular business models, including Albedo, a bio-based thermal insulation from citrus peel. Albedo participated in the 2021 Team Up edition alongside 63 innovators from 15 countries. Lorenzo's innovative approach fosters impactful solutions for a greener future.

Angela Bonato, CEO of BeadRoots, is a dynamic and curious individual with a passion for applying her skills in new experiences and learning opportunities. With a background in medical biotechnology and a PhD in cartilage tissue engineering and gene editing, Angela is always looking for the next big adventure in the startup field. BeadRoots, the startup led by Angela, aims to reduce water needs in agriculture in a clean and eco-friendly manner. Their focus is on helping farmers navigate drought periods exacerbated by climate change. BeadRoots utilizes eco-friendly, naturally derived super absorbent polymers to retain water in soil, slowly releasing it to plant roots, thereby contributing to sustainable agriculture practices. Angela's innovative approach earned BeadRoots the first prize in the 2023 Team Up edition.

Eliana Bejarano, CEO of BeAmaz, blends her expertise in international negotiations, politics, and law with a passion for creativity, innovation, and sustainability. With a background in promoting and financing FoodTech and Govtech projects, Eliana champions creative economies and E-mobility. BeAmaz, born from a commitment to nurture the planet and its people, aims to create an ecosystem that enhances biodiversity. Their mission focuses on improving families' lives through sustainable superfood consumption, addressing climate change, and fostering economic growth in Latin America. Eliana participated in the 2023 Team Up edition, showcasing her dedication to innovation and sustainability.

Farayde Matta Fakhouri, Chief Scientific Officer (CRO) at Bio2Coat Natural Preservation Technology, is a food engineer dedicated to reducing food waste and plastic use in packaging. Bio2Coat's 100% natural edible coating extends the shelf life of perishable foods, maintaining their quality without residue. Selected for the EIT Food Accelerator Network in Bilbao (2022), Bio2Coat showcases its commitment to sustainable innovation.

Duygu Yılmaz, CEO and Co-founder of Biolive, leads a pioneering biotechnology enterprise that produces bioplastics from olive seeds, addressing environmental concerns. She revolutionizes the industry with Bio-Pura, a biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based plastics. Yılmaz's innovative approach not only introduces sustainable materials but also contributes to job creation and environmental preservation. Her leadership has earned international recognition, positioning Biolive as a frontrunner in the quest for eco-friendly solutions to global challenges. Biolive was part of the 2022 Team Up edition.

Nerve Cansu İşeri, the Founder of BIONOME Innovation and Technology, is an accomplished expert in bioengineering and drug research. With a master's degree in Bioengineering, Medical Biochemistry, and Drug Research and Development, Nerve's educational background underscores her deep expertise in the field. As a participant in both the EWA and Team Up programmes by EIT Food, she has demonstrated her commitment to advancing innovation in the agrifood sector. BIONOME pioneers the future of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals through cutting-edge genetic engineering and sustainable bioprocessing techniques, revolutionizing CBD and Fucoxanthin production with unparalleled efficiency and environmental responsibility.

Sena Tarım Yalçınkaya, a chemist and Founder of Biopols and Citrona, is dedicated to pioneering natural solutions in specialized cleaning. Through Biopols, she applies her expertise in organic synthetic chemistry to innovate products, while at Citrona, she crafts gentle yet effective cleaning solutions inspired by nature. Recognized in the 2022 EWA programme, Biopols has thrived under Sena's leadership, benefiting from various trainings like the EIT Food Seedbed Incubator Programme to enhance its market presence and commercialization efforts. Additionally, Biopols secured the second Prize in the 2023 Team Up edition.

Federica Pesce, a climate activist and tech entrepreneur, co-founded Bravely Cultured, focusing on novel marine microorganisms for sustainable biomanufacturing. Recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe, Federica's company received a prestigious award at the EIT Food Venture Summit 23 in Lisbon, highlighting their commitment to building healthier lives through food. This accolade opened doors to additional support and mentorship from the EIT Food Seedbed Incubator, empowering Bravely Cultured to further advance their mission for a greener future.

Ana Climent, Founder of Ca Climent, is the fourth generation of a Valencian farming family based in La Granja de la Costera. She is dedicated to preserving two endangered varieties of Valencian peanuts through her startup. Ana champions local production in La Granja de la Costera, Valencia, drastically reducing the carbon footprint compared to peanuts imported from the United States. Her commitment to sustainability and agricultural heritage earned her the first prize in the 4th edition of the EWA Programme in Spain.

Victoria Oseyko, Investor Relations Manager and CMO at Carbominer, drives eco-startup initiatives to combat climate change. With over 5 years in digital marketing, she blends ground-level expertise with strategic vision. Carbominer, founded in 2020, pioneers CO₂ capture tech for indoor agriculture. Their modular CO₂ Direct Air Capture units offer sustainable alternatives to EU growers, aiming for broader industry applications. They joined the EIT Food Accelerator Network 2022, enhancing their commitment to sustainable innovation.

María Eugenia Martín Hidalgo, Co-founder and CEO of ColorSensing, pioneers smart packaging solutions to tackle food waste and ensure food safety. With a background in Industrial Engineering and a Master's in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, she co-founded ColorSensing in 2018 to revolutionize the food industry. Leveraging proprietary technology, ColorSensing enables manufacturers and distributors to reduce food waste and enhance quality assurance. Through collaboration with EIT Food, ColorSensing has received business training and participated in the Innovation Grants competition, driving forward their mission of sustainability and innovation in the food sector.

Emese Pancsa is the Founder of Compocity, a company focused on promoting sustainability through innovative design solutions. As a designer committed to supporting social impact, Emese's vision is to redefine sustainability through daily habits and digitalization. With a background in architecture and a focus on sustainability pedagogy, Emese's work aims to empower communities to become more self-sustaining and improve their quality of life. Compocity's flagship product is an urban indoor composting system coupled with a gamified app, allowing urban dwellers to monitor and contribute to a more livable future while combating climate change.

Juliette Simonin embarked on a unique journey that led her to co-found CrowdFarming in Madrid. This innovative platform connects sustainable farmers directly with consumers, allowing them to become owners of a share of the farm. Collaborating with local orange producers, the Úrcolo brothers, Juliette and her team transformed Naranjas del Carmen into a thriving organic farm. With nearly 200 farmers on board and 350,000 consumers across Europe, CrowdFarming has redefined how agricultural products are distributed and consumed. From "ugly fruits" to a diverse range of products including dairy, vegetables, condiments, cereals, oils, and even woolen blankets from adopted sheep, CrowdFarming offers a unique and sustainable approach to food production and consumption.

Susan Graham leads Dendra Systems as its CEO, a pioneering data analytics company utilizing ecology-driven AI and drone technology for large-scale ecosystem restoration. With a background in bioengineering and a PhD from the University of Oxford in Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Graham co-founded Dendra Systems in 2014 to address biodiversity loss and climate change with scalable solutions. Her innovative approach has garnered international recognition, including Forbes' 30 Under 30 and the Australian Advance Award for Emerging Leader. Dr. Graham's advocacy for scalable technology solutions for land restoration has led her to speak at prestigious events such as the United Nations launch of the SDGs in New York, COP26, TED Monterey, and Eco Summit Berlin.

Leah Bessa, Chief Science Officer and Co-founder of De Novo Foodlabs in South Africa, is a trailblazer in scientific food innovation for a sustainable future. In 2019, she showcased her groundbreaking work by creating ice cream from insect milk, demonstrating her commitment to pushing boundaries in the food industry. Her team's scientific advancements, recognized through the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition, are paving the way for a more reliable and climate-resilient food system. Leah's recent participation in panels and international visits, including engagements in Canada and the US, underscores her dedication to sharing knowledge and collaborating with fellow agripreneurs globally.

Selin Arslan, Founder of Farmhood Food Tech, is a passionate food tech entrepreneur dedicated to sustainability and nutrition enhancement. Farmhood is an innovative startup tackling food waste through cutting-edge research and development on raw materials, creating functional products with distinct experiences and benefits. With a focus on sourcing from sustainable channels like food by-products and agricultural surplus, Farmhood epitomizes Selin's commitment to combating food waste. Recognized in both the 2022 EWA and 2023 Team Up programmes by EIT Food, Farmhood continues to drive innovation in the food industry.

Mathilde Lefrançois, Founder of Farmitoo, was honored as the best young tech leader, receiving the Ivy 2021 Tech Young Leader award. At 29, Mathilde impressed the jury with her humanity, merit, and the impact of her startup, Farmitoo. She launched Farmitoo three years ago as a marketplace for agricultural equipment, offering specialized parts at prices up to 15% lower than market rates. Mathilde's dedication to personalized customer service and innovative approach to agricultural supply have earned her widespread recognition in the tech industry.

Katarina Kostic, CEO and Founder of FROOF, brings 20 years of expertise in regenerative agriculture and agrobiodiversity conservation. With a focus on sustainable land use and capacity building for farmers, she is a pioneer in agroforestry and mycoremediation. FROOF utilizes scientific evidence databases to provide technical advice on fermented foods, probiotic supplements, and human gut microbiome health. Kostic's commitment to regenerative practices and science communication drives FROOF's mission to promote healthy ecosystems and human well-being through innovative agricultural solutions. FROOF was selected to participate in the 2023 Team Up edition, further enhancing their journey in the venture builder programme.

Josune Ayo, Co-founder and CEO of Genbioma, leads a biotechnology company specializing in microbiome-based products for metabolic disorders in human health. With a strong background in probiotics and precision nutrition for diabetes-related conditions, Josune spearheads research on regulating metabolism and gut microbiota. With a PhD and research experience in bioactive ingredients, Genbioma focuses on international markets and has experienced growth after participating in the EIT FAN Accelerator. Genbioma’s mission is to develop science-based solutions for human health through innovative probiotic and bioactive compound research.

Natalie de Brun serves as the Co-founder and CFO of Grönska, a Swedish food-tech company specializing in indoor farming technology. Grönska develops and markets microfarms suitable for indoor cultivation in various settings such as schools, offices, restaurants, and food stores. Their mission revolves around enabling farming in any location through user-friendly technology and resource-efficient methods, with a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and the advancement of sustainable cities globally. Grönska has received recognition for its innovative business concept, including winning the Venture Cup East 2016 in the Energy & Environment category, receiving the Stockholm Innovation Scholarship 2016 in Cleantech, being finalists for Änglamarkspriset in 2017, and winning the Stockholm Acceleration Scholarship in 2020.

Beatriz Mesas López, fueled by her passion for coffee and innovation, was one of the driving forces behind the inception of Incapto Coffee in 2020. From Barcelona and Alcover, and with a vision rooted in sustainability and value creation, Incapto Coffee stands as a genuine alternative in the world of coffee capsules. With Beatriz at the helm, the company aims to transform consumption habits of the 21st century, offering a more sustainable and satisfying coffee experience for consumers.

Anne-Cathrine Hutz, Co-founder and Vice President of Product at Infinite Roots (formerly Mushlabs), leads a German startup focused on mycelium-based food using fermentation and fungi. With a background in business psychology and food innovation, Hutz's journey from culinary exploration at Noma to founding Mushlabs reflects her passion for fermentation and its transformative potential. As a woman in male-dominated fields, she emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives in innovation. Balancing motherhood with startup pressures, Hutz advocates for inclusivity and challenges societal norms in professional settings, striving to normalize family integration in the workplace.

Eva Sánchez Rodríguez, Managing Director at Innoplant, is deeply passionate about agricultural innovation. With a doctoral thesis focusing on plant physiology and nutrition, she founded her own company dedicated to advancing agricultural solutions. Innoplant specializes in scientific and technological solutions for the agricultural sector and its auxiliary industries. With cutting-edge analytical techniques and a highly skilled team, they provide tailored solutions while ensuring confidentiality and professionalism. Innoplant's participation in EIT Food's Rocket Up programme underscores their commitment to innovation and collaboration in the agricultural sector.

Aude Guo, the Co-founder and CTO of Innovafeed, is making waves in the tech world with her innovative approach to sustainable food production. Born in Beijing, China, and raised in Canada and France, Aude's multicultural background has shaped her unique perspective. With a background in engineering and a career spanning from aerospace to management consulting, Aude co-founded Innovafeed in 2016 to tackle climate change and transform the food system. Innovafeed's groundbreaking technology harnesses the nutritional benefits of insects, particularly the Hermetia illucens larvae, to produce protein with minimal environmental impact. By leveraging agricultural residues and partnering with industrial complexes for energy, Innovafeed is revolutionizing protein production while addressing global sustainability challenges.

Barbara Belvisi, Founder and CEO of Interstellar Lab, is a visionary entrepreneur passionate about space and sustainable solutions. Inspired by her finance background and a year with NASA engineers, she founded Interstellar Lab in 2018. The company develops advanced bio-farming platforms for clean plant-based ingredients, combining automation, AI, and bioscience. With partners like NASA and ESA, they're also pioneering space deployment. Their team of 45 experts spans France and the USA, shaping the future of sustainable agriculture on Earth and beyond.

Nina Mannheimer, CPO at Klim, is a pioneering sustainability strategist with a passion for climate communication and sustainable product development. Co-founding Berlin-based Klim with a mission to scale regenerative agriculture, Nina leads the digital product development at the intersection of agriculture, design, and technology. Under her guidance, Klim has secured over $8 million in funding since its launch in 2021 and has established partnerships with over 2,300 farmers in Germany. Nina's dedication to advancing regenerative practices highlights her role as a leader in sustainable innovation and climate action.

Sira Mogas, Founder and CEO of KOA Biotech, holds a PhD in Biomedicine, specializing in SynBio and the development of new biological devices with computational capacity. Engaged in various entrepreneurship programmes, Sira leads KOA Biotech, winner of the first prize in the 2021 Team Up edition, providing a revolutionary digital, autonomous, and on-site testing technology for fish farms. This innovation aims to significantly reduce fish mortality and environmental impact, offering real-time monitoring of potentially harmful bacteria in water to prevent infections. With live tests underway and customer demand growing, KOA Biotech is poised to transform fish health and farm economics for a more sustainable future.

Elif Özcü, Co-founder of Malty, is driven by a passion for continuous self-improvement and sustainability. Malty, recognized among the 2021 EWA Turkish entrepreneurs, is a food tech company committed to revolutionizing the food industry with sustainable ingredients and innovative products. Their snacks, enriched with the nutritional benefits of malt, offer both convenience and health. Founded in 2021, Malty focuses on providing innovative solutions for individuals seeking a healthy lifestyle amidst busy schedules. They prioritize both taste and nutrition, utilizing sustainable and upcycled raw materials to promote human health and environmental preservation.

Katelijne Bekers is the Co-founder and CEO of MicroHarvest, a startup based in Hamburg, Germany. The company is dedicated to producing better, healthier, and tastier protein sustainably, using the power of microorganisms. MicroHarvest's proprietary and scalable technology enables the production of nutritional biomass from fast-growing bacteria, with applications across the entire protein value chain. Katelijne's leadership drives MicroHarvest's mission to contribute to a world where everyone has access to nutritious food through a fair and resilient food system.

Luísa Cruz, Co-founder and CTO at MicroHarvest, brings over a decade of experience in leading roles within R&D in the biotechnology and chemical industries. With a Ph.D. and a passion for innovation, Luísa is known for her resourcefulness and creativity in integrating various fields to tackle challenging projects. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and the power of microorganisms, MicroHarvest aims to revolutionize the protein industry by offering better, healthier, and tastier protein alternatives.

Susana Sánchez Gómez, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder at MOA foodtech, is a biologist with a background in microbiology. In 2020, amidst the pandemic, she realized her vision by co-founding MOA Foodtech with her partners, Bosco Emparanza and José María Elorza. MOA Foodtech is an innovative initiative that merges biotechnology and artificial intelligence to transform by-products of the agrifood industry into a next-generation protein with high nutritional value and 100% sustainability. Through a fermentation process fueled by biological waste and by-products typically discarded, such as leaves, tree bark, or fruit peels, they nourish specific microorganisms, creating a sustainable protein solution.

Lynette Kucsma is the Founder and CMO of Natural Machines and is passionate about health, technology and ‘doing the right thing’. Named by CNN as one of only seven 'tech superheroes' to watch, Lynette is championing Natural Machine’s Foodini - a 3D food printer - as a solution to the climate and health crises. The Foodini enables users to personalise their food, eat healthier, improve kitchen efficiency and lower food waste. Natural, fresh ingredients are entered into the machine and a precision control system moves the capsule to create shapes that are stacked layer upon layer to become three-dimensional creations. For patients with dysphagia or other conditions that require consistency-modified diets, Foodini can improve patients’ food intake by serving customised and optimised dishes that resemble real food.

Nazife Nur Yazğan, Founder of NFS Global Food Technology and Consulting and Assistant Professor at Hacettepe University, is a Doctor of Engineering with a focus on plant-based food alternatives. Her company, NFS Global, specializes in producing fermented yogurt and probiotic beverages from domestic plant sources, contributing to the research and development of plant-based proteins and dairy alternatives. In 2023, NFS Global participated in the fourth edition of EWA Türkiye, showcasing its dedication to innovation in the agrifood sector.

Ingrid Dynna, Co-founder and CEO at NoMy, brings extensive experience from her 15-year career at Google and YouTube, focusing on marketing/sales, strategy, and business development. With an international business degree and having lived in 6 countries, she holds an international mindset. Passionate about leveraging technology to enhance lives and promote sustainability, she leads NoMy. Norwegian Mycelium, under her leadership, transforms food industry by-products into sustainable, high-value ingredients using proven, scalable, and cost-effective fungal fermentation technologies.

Nathalie Rolland is an alternative protein pioneer and renowned worldwide expert with experience in finance, business development and food science. She has conducted studies on alternative protein consumer acceptance and worked with research institutions and non-profit organisations working on this topic. She is now Nutropy’s Co-founder and CEO. Nutropy is a French company that develops the next generation of cheese by producing milk proteins and fatty acids identical to those produced by cows via microorganisms. These milk proteins, and particularly the production of caseins, as well as the production of fatty acids, allow Nutropy to develop premium cheese alternatives that taste as good as conventional cheese but are more sustainable, healthier and better for animals.

Iria Varela Campo, CEO of ODS Protein, is a biologist and entrepreneur dedicated to sustainable protein solutions. As a participant in the 2022 edition of the Empowering Women in Agrifood programme in Spain, she was awarded the second prize, highlighting her commitment to innovation in the agrifood sector. Additionally, she also engaged in the Seedbed Incubator programme by EIT Food. ODS Protein's mission is to address global protein consumption challenges by developing sustainable solutions. Their innovative approach involves producing fermented proteins through a precise fermentation process, utilizing food waste from the industry.

Aneta Ozierańska, Co-founder and CEO of Oligofeed, is dedicated to addressing agricultural challenges. Oligofeed pioneers healthy micro-nutrition for bees, combatting population declines with a proven supplement. After 8 years of research and over 1,000 tests, their product significantly reduces bee mortality. In recognition of their innovative solution, Oligofeed was honored with the EIT Food Accelerator Network Tech Validation award in 2023, joining a select group of 15 winners. This accolade propels their mission to foster bee health and ecological sustainability.

Diana Zagarella, Founder and CEO of Olivair, brings a unique blend of skills, combining her studies in Aeronautical Engineering with a background in theatre acting. Her passion for multicopters drives her belief in their vast potential applications. Olivair, under Diana's leadership, won first prize in the 2023 EWA edition. Their innovative drone technology specializes in harvesting hanging fruit by inducing vibrations with the drone's propellers, facilitating efficient fruit collection. Diana's vision for implementing new drone applications highlights Olivair's commitment to advancing agricultural practices with cutting-edge technology.

Eylül Er, Co-founder and CEO of Palgae, was a participant in the Empowering Women in Agrifood programme by EIT Food in the 2023 edition. She clinched the second prize in Türkiye, showcasing her dedication to fostering innovation in the agrifood sector. With her background in Biomedical Engineering and her entrepreneurial spirit, Eylül spearheads Palgae's mission to produce sustainable biomaterials through carbon capture technology. Her commitment to sustainability and innovation continues to drive Palgae towards a greener future.

Diana Oliveira, Co-founder and Head of R&D at PFx Biotech, leads the Portuguese startup in producing alternative proteins through precision fermentation, aiming to revolutionize food production for a healthier planet. With a diverse background spanning industry and academia, Diana specializes in bioactive compounds and functional ingredients, particularly alternative proteins tailored for advanced nutrition applications. PFx Biotech was selected to be part of the EIT Food Seedbed Incubator, a programme aimed at transforming technology-based agrifoodtech innovations into scalable market-validated businesses, highlighting their commitment to innovation and market validation.

Simone Strey, CEO of Plantix, leads an innovative platform driving efficient agricultural production. Based in Berlin, Simone brings a diverse background in geobotany, soil science, and management to her role. A geographer by training, Simone's passion for exploration extends from the Mongolian steppe to the Brazilian rainforest. In her downtime, she channels her vibrant energy into playing the steel drums. Under Simone's leadership, Plantix empowers farmers worldwide with its innovative mobile crop doctor app, offering real-time pest and disease detection for over 30 major crops, ultimately enhancing crop health and yields.

Natalia Valle Aguirre, CEO and Co-founder of Plant on Demand, is an economist and philosopher with a specialization in research, business, technology, and sustainability. With a passion for social progress and environmental improvement, she leads the team with a flexible and adaptive approach. Natalia balances action and contemplation, representing Plant on Demand to the world while also guiding the team to find moments of silence and reflection. She believes in meaningful work that brings about real change, which is why she is dedicated to POD, an award-winning online platform for organic farmers, distributors, cooperatives, and local retailers. Recognized for its innovative approach, Plant on Demand was a finalist in the EIT Food 2020 Seedbed Bilbao programme.

Sònia Hurtado, CEO and Co-founder of Poseidona, brings over 18 years of diverse experience in the food industry, particularly in R&D and marketing. Her dedication to exploring new food concepts aligns perfectly with Poseidona's mission of developing sustainable proteins from algal waste and invasive biomass. Together with her co-founder María Cermeño, Sònia's passion for food tech and commitment to environmental sustainability drive Poseidona's efforts to provide truly sustainable alternative proteins, contributing to a better world where ethics and environmental protection are paramount. Sònia participated in the EIT Food Seedbed Incubator 2023, showcasing her commitment to driving innovation and sustainability in the food industry.

Rose Goslinga, Co-founder and President of PULA, leads an innovative agricultural insurance and technology company. With a background at Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Goslinga focuses on creating insurance solutions for smallholder farmers in Africa. PULA designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help farmers manage yield risks and improve their incomes. Since its founding in 2015, PULA has expanded its reach to eight countries across Africa, supporting programs that benefit farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Malawi.

Katarzyna Młynarczyk is the Co-founder of Rebread, a company dedicated to reducing bread waste through innovative solutions. She is also the CEO of Sell a Service and Vice President of Socjomania, specializing in digital solutions and service design. With over a decade of experience as a digital product and service strategy consultant, Katarzyna is passionate about conducting workshops and lectures. She is also an avid literature enthusiast and co-author of the book "RZEMIEŚLNICY." Rebread's open manufacturing model repurposes leftover bread and bakery side streams into sustainable products, addressing the global bread waste issue.

Birgit Dekkers, the CEO of Rival Foods, leads a team dedicated to crafting plant-based products that are good for the planet, people, and animals. Rival Foods specializes in creating whole-cut plant-based alternatives, offering a unique solution in a market dominated by processed options. Their innovative production process transforms plant-based ingredients into whole-cut products with remarkable texture, taste, and juiciness, easily prepared with various cooking methods. The journey began in 2014 when co-founder Birgit Dekkers researched plant-based proteins' technological potential for texture creation. Joined by physicist and engineer Ernst Breel in 2019, they founded Rival Foods after Birgit completed her PhD at Wageningen University. Since then, the team has grown, tirelessly developing and commercializing plant-based meat alternatives to address the need for a revamped food system.

Daniela Arias, CIO & Co-founder of Sibö, is dedicated to fostering positive social impact and food security through innovative solutions. With a background in human nutrition and experience in public-private development projects, she leads Sibö in bridging the gap between insects and food companies. Sibö utilizes biotechnology and data science to transform insects into sustainable food ingredients, contributing to a greener and healthier future. Through Daniela's leadership, Sibö is revolutionizing the food industry with its commitment to sustainability and innovation.

Estela Pacheco, former CEO at Microfy Systems (formerly known as Sonicat Systems), combines her expertise from roles at major companies like Ateknea Solutions with her passion for technological innovation. In 2014, she co-founded Sonicat Systems, specializing in advanced solutions for the food industry using high-power ultrasound technology. Estela's contributions include a patented device for modifying the mechanical and physicochemical properties of viscous fluids through high-power ultrasound. Beyond her professional endeavors, Estela mentors for #inspiraSTEAM, empowering young girls in the Basque Country to pursue careers in science and technology.

Mary Grace Gasco, Founder of SpaceCrop, leads an agricultural software company revolutionizing farm management with satellite data and artificial intelligence. With a master's degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy, she combines her passion for space science and technology with sustainable development goals (SDGs) advocacy. SpaceCrop, supported by the European Space Agency and EIT Food, empowers farms with weather forecasting and irrigation management. Mary excels in project management, science communication, and enterprise design thinking, driving SpaceCrop's success in the 2023 EIT Food Accelerator Network.

Benjamina Bollag, CEO and Founder of Uncommon (formerly known as Higher Steaks), spearheads a team in Cambridge, UK, dedicated to revolutionizing the meat industry. With her visionary leadership, Benjamina has propelled Uncommon to the forefront of cultured protein production, utilizing innovative technology based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and RNA. Her unique approach reflects her commitment to sustainability and global health. Benjamina exemplifies the power of female leadership in entrepreneurship and technological innovation.

Laurie Lancee, Founder of Vini Mini, hails from The Hague and brings a wealth of experience from her diverse background in Hospitality Management, Finance, and Business Control. After a life-altering event involving her son Viggo's severe allergic reaction, Laurie pivoted to create Vini Mini. Her mission is to assist parents in preventing food allergies in a straightforward, healthy, and safe manner. Vini Mini focuses on preventing food allergies in infants through supplements. The Amsterdam-based startup participated in the EIT Food Accelerator Network and Women Leadership Programme.

Jozien Boersma, Co-founder of Vini Mini in the Netherlands, leverages her diverse background in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods and key account management. With a Master of Science in Business Administration from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, she contributes invaluable expertise to the startup. Vini Mini focuses on preventing food allergies in infants through supplements. The Amsterdam-based startup participated in the EIT Food Accelerator Network and Women Leadership Programme.

Martina Riolino, CEO and Founder of Zoé Food Evolution, is a passionate advocate for sustainable and ethical culinary practices. Her journey from organizing cultural events to becoming a renowned chef and entrepreneur reflects her dedication to aligning values with business decisions. As a participant in the 2023 edition of EWA Italy, she was awarded the second prize, further highlighting her commitment to driving positive change in the culinary industry. Zoé Food Evolution, launched in 2022, embodies Martina's vision for a better future, offering innovative, plant-based artisanal pasta while prioritizing sustainability and inclusivity in every aspect of the business.

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Did you know that only 2% of all Venture Capital funding in Europe goes to female founded businesses?
regional blog
This day serves as a powerful reminder of the vital role women play in the business world. It's a moment to applaud their resilience, innovation, and unwavering dedication.