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10 Croatian women entrepreneurs accepted into EWA program in 2022

EIT Food and Lean Startup Croatia launched the Empowering Women in Agrifood programme for Croatian women entrepreneurs in the agri-food industry.

10 female entrepreneurs will go through a 5-month pre-incubation program adapted to creating solutions for specific challenges in the agri-food industry. This program supports women entrepreneurs in the earliest phase of their business development and most often in the phase before they form a legal entity.

15 Jul 2022
EIT Food North & East

The first edition of the Croatian EWA program

On Saturday, July 2nd, 2022, the Empowering Women in Agrifood project officially began in Croatia with a Matchmaking event where 10 selected participants and 10 mentors gathered.

The program was also attended by Aleksandra Bara from EIT Food North-East, who greeted the audience and briefly presented the EIT Food initiative.

The program began with networking and an introductory lecture by Miro Hegedic, PhD about the EWA program and the presentation of mentors, and then Filip Stipancic and Daniel Milosevic from Lean Startup Croatia explained what mentoring entails and how it helps entrepreneurs.

After the introductory part 10 selected participants pitched their business ideas:

  • Vjerana Stipetic

With the idea of growing organic fruits and vegetables and popularizing Zagorje as a region of truffles, Vjerana decided to apply for participation in the EWA program. Her wish is to build her own small business and thus ensure a sustainable income for her family, but also for her hometown of Zagorje.

  • Gracija Pozar

Given the many years of farming and horse breeding, Gracija wants to produce manure for the purpose of ecological food production. She believes that with the manure she will produce, she can compete with artificial fertilizers.

  • Ivna Podrug

Ivna is a 2nd year graduate student at the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb who wants to bring people in urban areas closer to a sustainable and ecological way of eating and living. Through its "Adopt a chicken" project, which combines technology and traditional agriculture, she wants to present a new way of buying food products.

  • Manuela Panic

Manuela and her NADES team want to take advantage of all the goodness that plants provide and produce a plant extract with antioxidant activity.

  • Eleonora Gardos

With rich experience in olive production, Eleonora wants to educate olive growers on how agrotechnical operations and oil processing works, by organizing workshops and laboratories that would connect agricultural practice with the final product.

  • Magdalena Kovacic

Magdalena is a 1st-year graduate student in phytomedicine and a passionate lover of plants and music. With the idea of ​​creating safe and ecological food products, she decided to connect tourism, wellness, forest medicine and music therapy.

  • Monika Gvozdic

Due to the problem of expensive foodstuffs, Monika noticed that people are increasingly thinking about growing their own vegetables. Because of this, she decided to develop an aeroponic system to grow vegetables in her home and to enable the same to other people.

  • Naomi Sarah Bosch

Through her project, Naomi Sarah wants to increase the population's awareness of environmental problems, help them gain self-reliance and connect with nature by using food from nature.

  • Ivana Rendulic Jelusic

Through the platform she is developing, Ivana wants to make it easier for winegrowers to produce wine, monitor the agricultural area, and the state of nutrition/health of the vines. She believes that her solution will solve the problem of consumption of inputs in viticulture, optimize working hours and increase the economy of wine production.

  • Petra Mlinaric

Petra sees the problem of insufficient selection of healthy food products on the Croatian market, and plans to solve this by processing fruits, vegetables and fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables grown in an ecological way.

During their 6-month entrepreneurial journey, 10 mentors will provide them with support, knowledge and experience:

  1. Filip Stipancic - Customer development, business development
  2. Hermes Arriaga - Business modeling and business development
  3. Sandra Vlasic - Renewables, social impact, product
  4. Dora Zane - Business modeling, early stage validation
  5. Helena Habdija - Social impact business models
  6. Drazen Nikolic - Business developmenrt, scaling, fundraising
  7. Nikolina Topic - Service design, prototyping
  8. Maja Brkljacic - Market research, business modeling
  9. Marija Mazic - Social impact business models
  10. Mato Mrkalj - Business development in Agrifood

After the official part of the program, everyone enjoyed lunch together and had a nice time networking.

Congratulations to all selected participants and thank to companies that supported the event, especially Cidrani, EKIPA and Jaggetty for the products they donated.

About Lean Startup Croatia

Lean Startup Croatia creates a culture of sustainable entrepreneurship and successful companies through a structured approach in the development of entrepreneurial ideas and startups, using and sharing knowledge, contacts, and experience. “In all projects and whenever possible, we invest special importance and effort in teams led by women entrepreneurs to ensure their ability to succeed. The fact is that women must contend with a wide range of challenges in business. That is why we are looking forward to those projects in which women have achieved significant success and continued to develop their business ideas.”

Learn more about Lean Startup Croatia on their web page.

Visit Empoweting Women in Agrifood – EWA web page and to learn more about the programme and its additional activities.

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