EIT Food, Europe’s leading food innovation initiative supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), today launches a search to find the next 100 agrifood entrepreneurs who can transform the food system to be healthier, innovative and more sustainable.
The search for the 2021 cohort comes following news that EIT Food has provided more than €10 million in direct financial support across its Business Creation programmes in 2020. This support has helped entrepreneurs to grow and scale their impact faster – from help with market testing new ideas, providing access to experts, connections to corporate partners across the food industry, and support with investors. Last year, successful EIT Food startups raised more than €91 million in external investments as a result of the programme.
The food system faces major challenges if the world is to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and adhere to the Paris Agreement climate targets. Yet, less than 4% of startups in Europe are in the agrifood space (1), creating a huge market opportunity for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs alike.
From aspiring entrepreneurs with new business ideas across universities and education centres, to early stage startups and scaleups wanting to expand internationally, EIT Food is looking for ideas and businesses across European markets, designed to have the highest impact when shaping the future of food, and aligned with the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy. The search focuses on new ideas across six key focus areas; sustainable agriculture, sustainable aquaculture, alternative proteins, digital traceability, circular food systems and targeted nutrition.
In the first ever virtual EIT Food Venture Summit, on 17 and 18 November 2020, investors and corporates will be able to explore commercial partnerships and investment opportunities with 130+ high-impact startups and will hear pitches from a select group of some of EIT Food’s existing partners and entrepreneurs. Interested new startups will also have an opportunity to learn about flagship programmes and connect with other agritech leaders.
Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food, says:
“Our purpose at EIT Food is to create a culture across Europe for entrepreneurship to thrive. Only a spirit of entrepreneurship will help Europe to make the transformation we need, creating a food system fit for the future, that is healthy, sustainable, and meets the needs of a growing population.
“Today we are calling for new ideas from experts, innovators and investors, right across the food system. We encourage anyone who has an idea or a business that can make a real difference, with potential to scale and grow, to apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Many startups, already working with EIT Food, will be appearing at the Venture Summit to showcase their ideas and pitch to new investors.
Brij Sahi, Co-Founder and CEO of SwissDeCode, says:
“EIT Food has enabled us to tap into some of the largest corporations in the world and to establish proof of concepts with them. This opportunity means we can directly engage with corporates and discuss on a one-to-one basis what we could do together.”
Those that join the network benefit not only from easy-to-access funding and investment, but also access to world-leading agrifood entrepreneurs, corporates and partners, such as Pepsico, Danone, Nestlé and Cambridge University.
Damien Jourdan, Open Innovation Manager at Danone, comments:
“The EIT Food Seedbed program’s focus on customer discovery is really interesting and distinctive – startups need to understand whether they will have customers to buy their product. As a key partner in the network, we’re here to bring value and to help entrepreneurs grow their venture faster with our expertise.”
Whether applicants join the EIT Food Seedbed programme as an early-stage startup looking to verify their proposition and market, the Food Accelerator Network to gain access to tools, connections and expertise, or the RisingFoodStars Association to scale and reach new markets, startups will gain support and mentorship as part of the vibrant and diverse EIT Food community. In order to generate new knowledge and technologies, and to drive the growth and competitiveness of the EU, these activities will all be measured against economic, societal and environmental impact.
Applications will open early next year and close in Spring 2021. Register your interest and find out more through this form.
Sign up to the Venture Summit to meet EIT Food’s entrepreneurs and partners.
For interviews, entrepreneur case studies, VIP media passes to Venture Summit, please contact:
T: +44 (0) 7542 566437
T: +34 (0) 639 917571
About EIT Food
EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, with the aim to create a sustainable and future-proof food sector. The initiative is made up of a consortium of key industry players, start-ups, research centres and universities from across Europe. It is one of eight Innovation Communities established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.
EIT Food aims to collaborate closely with consumers to develop new knowledge and technology-based products and services that will ultimately deliver a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for all European citizens.