Six innovative startups from the agrifood sector gathered on the 24 to 27th of June in Bilbao to take part in an intensive bootcamp in order to know more about the incubation programme and meet their mentors. These companies were selected amongst a large group of candidates from across the continent. During four months, they will take part in a in-depth programme aimed at converting these projects into viable enterprises with good future prospects.
The backgrounds of the young companies selected for Bilbao are extremely varied: three from the United Kingdom, as well as one from Rwanda, one from Portugal and another from Germany.
Efforts are also focused on different activities. Sowbot (Bristol) manufactures robots for use in farms. Crover (Edinburgh) proposes saving grain losses through the mapping of barns. SeeSleeves (Cambridge) is developing biodegradable and insulating alternatives to plastic. NjordFrey (Rwanda) is providing water-related solutions for farmers in developing countries which assist in combating malnutrition. 2BNanoFood (Braga) is devising biodegradable nanostructures for food applications. And, lastly, Vegshelf (Düsseldorf) is a B2B platform for foodstuffs of plant origin.
The bootcamp’s busy schedule includes meetings with mentors, that is, people from the business world who will help guide their projects and make them viable; practising their verbal business card, refining their value proposition and learning about market segmentation amongst other things.
“The main objective is to attract talent”, explains Begoña Pérez-Villarreal, Director of EIT Food in Southern Europe. “We are looking for people with an idea or a newly-created company, and we will help them approach the market and provide them with the conditions they need to build a scalable business”, she added.
The incubator (SeedBed), created by EIT Food, supports the aspiring entrepreneurs by determining if there is a market for the products and services that use innovative agrifood technology. During the following four months, the six selected projects will have the tools, connections and mentors to help them better understand the needs of their customers and validate their business idea. In the end, they will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of one hundred experts in the industry, and they will have a chance to win one of three prizes of up to 20,000 euros. The project, known as Seedbed, will also benefit from the collaboration of local entities such as Azti and Grupo AN.