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Food Ingredients Europe: a conversation with our startups

EIT Food is sponsoring a startup pavilion at the Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) conference in Paris from 6-8 December 2022. Here we hear from startups in our community about what they hope to gain from the event.

06 Dec 2022
EIT Food West

EIT Food, the world’s largest and most dynamic food innovation community, is sponsoring a startup pavilion at the Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) conference in Paris in December 2022. Our startup initiatives have been developed on the principle that no two startups are alike, and catering to the different stages of startup development, Seedbed, EIT Food Accelerator Network (FAN) and RisingFoodStars (RFS), provide entrepreneurs with specialised support and mentorship.

While exactly how a startup is supported varies widely depending on the programme and the startup’s unique circumstances, a strong framework exists for ensuring that all partner startups are given provisions for success. With the goal of successful market adoption, we provide all participating startups with tailored mentorship and access to our extensive network of research centres, industry partners and investors.

Daniel Protz, founder of FlavorWiki, participated in the first EIT FAN programme, and praises its help in his company’s development: “EIT Food brings this knowledge and network, to learn fast and evolve as a young business,” Protz explains, “We joined as an early startup in 2018. Since then we have grown from one founder to over 55 people in 20 countries.”

Aviaja Riemann-Andersen of Agrain, and participant in the RFS initiative, holds a similar perspective: “For Agrain, the RFS programme has already been a true gamechanger. We have reshuffled our strategy and we are building a much stronger and healthier foundation for our business.”

Sponsoring a pavilion at the FiE will provide our startups with ample opportunities to network with the agrifood community, and increase interest in their developing brands.

Luca Fichtinger of Kern Tec is also a participant in EIT Food’s RFS programme and aims to bring attention to his newest product at FiE: “Kern Tec will present our latest dairy alternative products and are looking forward to meeting interested B2B customers.”

Intent on using this opportunity to engage with potential investors, Juliana Romero of Cano-ela and participant in the FAN programme echoes this sentiment: “[Cano-ela is] looking forward to receiving as many visitors to our booth to talk to them and show them how our solutions can help them to clean their label, and make their products more nutritious and sustainable.”

Having received extensive guidance through the EIT Food network, each of these startups have learned much about what is necessary to succeed in the European agrifood market. To enable future entrepreneurs to benefit from their experience, these representatives were asked what advice they would give to their younger startup selves.

Protz of FlavorWiki said: “try to make business, not ideas. Too often startups get pulled into an exercise in innovation ideation with industry partners. Always work to align a service or product that somebody will pay for, not just discuss and pilot.”

Agrain’s Riemann-Andersen follows this pragmatic approach: “Always – ALWAYS – secure your funding. If you run out of money you will not be able to do your business. Collaborate with corporates and incumbents in your field. Growing together is faster and stronger. They want you to succeed – because you can help them move forward.”

In a similar way, Romero of Cano-ela urges young entrepreneurs to reflect on the capacities of their organisations. “Focus on what is really important,” she advises, “there are always invitations and opportunities, but we cannot be part of everything, so we need to create an overall strategy and join those opportunities that are in line with our general strategy. Another key learning is to collaborate. As a small entity, it is impossible to focus on everything, so collaborating and finding those early adopters and/or similar-minded people with other skills can be very beneficial to advance faster and better.”

Lastly, Fichtinger of Kern Tec’s advice is to urge startups to remember “it’s all about the team. With a great team you can achieve everything and solve the biggest challenges.”

Other EIT Food activity at the FiE conference

In addition to the startup pavilion, EIT Food will be coordinating a pre-event with FiE & EIT Food partner Shake-Up Factory on Monday 5 December at Station F to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the FAN Hub.

EIT Food CEO Dr Andy Zynga will also be speaking as part of a keynote session on 6 December at 11:30am CET. The session will focus on future proofing the food system in Europe through a public-private partnership.

Startups participating at the EIT Food pavilion include:

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