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Empowering Women in Agrifood Croatia Final pitch - grand finale of the 6-month programme

The lack of representation of women in rural areas not only affects the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, but prevents many women from fully developing their potential. In order to tackle this problem and improve the position of women in the agrifood industry, the Empowering Women in Agrifood programme was launched.

29 Nov 2022
EIT Food North & East

It is a support program intended for female entrepreneurs in the early stages of their careers for the purpose of developing sustainable business in the agri-food sector. In Croatia it is organized by Lean Startup Croatia and EIT Food with the aim of achieving gender equality and encouraging Croatian women to occupy leading positions in the agri-food industry.

The panel discussion preceded the Empowering Women in Agrifood Final pitch

After 6 months of cooperation, mentoring and developing ideas Empowering Women in Agrifood Final pitch event was held on November 22, 2022. The Final Demo Day was open to the general public, so the event was attended by many experts and innovators from the agricultural and food industry.

Entrepreneurs Eleonora Gardoš (Planolive), Monika Gvozdić (RoomHarvest), Ivana Rendulić Jelušić (Alti Agro), Ivna Podrug (Adopt a chicken), Manuela Panić (NADES Design), Vjerana Stipetić (La La Land) presented themselves to the audience and the jury. Petra Mlinarić (OPG Mlinarić), Gracija Požar (P.H.B.), Naomi Sarah Bosch (Plentiful Lands). Attendees competed for valuable cash prizes in the amount of €10,000 and €5,000.

This time the entrepreneurs were evaluated by the jury: Mirna Obradović from the Sector for Innovation at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development; Renata Brkić from Feelsgood Capital; Ana Nikšić from EIT Food HUB Croatia (TERA Tehnopolis) and Mario Njavro from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb.

Before the announcement of the winners, participants and guests had the opportunity to listen to two panel discussions on the development of the agri-food sector from the perspective of experts and startups.

The first panel was moderated by Filip Stipančić from Lean Startup Croatia, who hosted Renata Brkić (Feelsgood Capital), Maja Fertalić (Nutty by Maja) and Domagoj Vidmar (Pepitas). The panelists discussed the possibilities of developing innovations in the Croatian agrifood sector with reference to their own experiences of launching startups and the challenges they encountered.

Then there was another perspective on the same topic, but from experts who have been dealing with the improvement of the Croatian agricultural and food sector for many years. Mario Njavro (Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb), Ana Nikšić (EIT Food HUB Croatia, TERA Tehnopolis), Nikolina Jelavić (Podravka) and Renata Mavrić (PROBION) shared their thoughts with the audience, moderated by Mate Mrkalj (Nutris).

After that Brankica Borović, the entrepreneur behind the natural cosmetics brand Viktoria, gave audience closer look at her entrepreneurial path and success with an interesting game of associations.

Attendees and mentors

During the entire program, the participants had mentors with them, without whom the progress of the teams would not be possible. The mentors are specialized in various areas of development and come from different industries, namely Filip Stipančić, Hermes Arriaga, Sandra Vlašić, Dora Zane, Helena Habdija, Dražen Nikolić, Nikolina Topić, Ana Raguž, Marija Mažić and Mato Mrkalj.

After the final counting of points, 1st place and €10,000 went to Manuela Panić (NADES Design), and 2nd place and €5,000 went to Petra Mlinarić (OPG Mlinarić).

Event managers Miro Hegedić and Valentina Perić congratulated the winners and told them to continue to persevere in their business ideas and use their prizes wisely. Both winners agreed that they will spend the received amounts on further development of their businesses.

See the photo gallery from the Croatian Empowering Women in Agrifood Final pitch event below.

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 and EWA on their web page.

For more information about the EWA program in Croatia, contact:

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