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The winners of the EWA 2022 Start-up Competition in Bulgaria have been announced

Regional Agency for Entrepreneurship and Innovations – Varna (RAPIV) organized Pitching competition for the start-ups, participating in EIT Food EWA Programme. The event took place in Varna, Bulgaria on 26th November 2022.

12 Dec 2022
EIT Food North & East

During the event, EWA programme participants had the chance to present their ideas for the agrifood sector in front of the general audience, potential partners and investors and to receive financial support for the development of their ideas.

The EWA Participants presented their pitches in preliminary announced order, each having seven minutes to pitch their business idea in the way they would present it to an investor, followed by 7 minutes Q&A session, during which the jury and the audience could ask questions regarding the business idea and the business model.

Highlights from the pitches

  • Antoniya Georgieva – Biogaria

The start-up idea is to develop a product based on algae biomass. It will find application as a biofertilizer that will regulate the processes of absorption of water and nutrients by plants.

  • Betina Yordanova – Orchard - village Tsarev Brod

Betina’ s idea is to offer to the market fruit raw material of prunes that is free of substitutes and chemical additives. The target market are factories for prune products, using fruit raw materials in industrial quantities. She is also developing a new product – candies, based on the natural fruit raw material.

  • Desislava Stoitsova – Duck farm

Desislava presented her idea for closed cycle of organic production of duck meat. The start-up aims to ensure the quality by producing their own feed and growing the ducks in natural conditions. This will allow to reduce the use of chemicals and thus reduce a number of environmental and human health problems.

  • Nataliya Nikolova – Recycle Art

Nataliya gathered valuable experience during EWA Programme which allowed her to further develop her idea for the production of seedling from rare plants and decorations into a service that would allow customers to choose combinations of herbs and plants according to their taste by using a specially designed application.

  • Kristina Tsenova

The knowledge and skills gained in the programme helped Kristina to promote her products and reach to new customers and to develop and offer to the market a new product – immunostimulator Tsenova.

  • Stefka Malcheva

Stefka Malcheva shared that the gained knowledge and experience in EWA programme and especially the received feedback and mentor support, helped her reshape her business idea. She started initially with idea for houses for apitherapy and then, following the advice during the group session on business planning and with the help of her mentor she started developing a completely new product – Dr. Oi’s sweets with 90% honey for soothing a sore throat. The innovation includes another new product - honey powder, produced by own technology, that can also be used as sweetener instead of sugar.

  • Slavena Rodinova – Hot Farm

In the course of EWA programme and with the help of her mentor , the start up has developed a new variety of chilli peppers – Bulgarian sense. HotFarm uses own technology to offer quality products that are suitable for people with stomach problems. Another product with numerous health benefits is Hotfarm tincture – food additive with vitamin C and good effect on metabolism and blood pressure.

  • Blazhka Dimitrova – Zero Wave

The start-up utilizes the waste products from malz and beer in the production of high-quality food, rich in fibres and proteins. The start up is based on the idea of zero waste and low carbon foodprint throughout the value chain.

Significant achievements thanks to EWA programme, include entering new markets – Romania and Greece and 100 Shell locations in Bulgaria, offering Zero Wave products. The company has also signed contracts with Lagardere and Lidl and started collaboration with “Istinski med” – platform for the support of beekeepers and honey producers.

  • Jane Dimitrova - FoodObox

The idea of FoodObox is to help reduce food waste and at the same time provide consumers with high quality food at affordable price. The start-up has grown by 52%, adding 13 000 users of the app and 35% more B2B clients (retailers and restaurants) since the start of EWA Programme. The company has also achieved its objective to enter new markets – Romania.

  • Elena Simeonova

The business idea is to create a Farm "Zemya" that will be a place for culinary and rural tourism. The company will have a diverse portfolio of activities, including: restaurant with food picked the same day from the gardens and cooked on site; trade in fruits, vegetables, nuts and canned goods (including an electronic store); organization of tastings, team building, personal celebrations, children's camps, study visits with a focus on getting to know the way of growing different crops and developing partnerships with local producers and offering their products.

Place and format of the event

The event was organized in hybrid mode – at Hotel Rosslyn Dimyat, Varna, Bulgaria and online via Google meet platform.

Number of participants/viewers

The event attracted more than 40 participants on site and via Google meet platform.

The Pitching event was streamed online via RAPIV’s Facebook page and had more than 100 viewers during the day of the event.

Jury members

  1. Ina Todorova – representative of EIT Food Hub Bulgaria, company Cleantech Bulgaria Ltd.
  2. Svetlana Boyanova – Chairperson of Institute for Agrostrategies and Innovations and Chairperson of AgroHub.BG
  3. Milen Vlaev / Head of Department "Agribusiness", DSK Agro, DSK Bank JSC
  4. Yuri Zarev / National Agricultural Advisory Service

Winners

The culmination of the event was the official ceremony for announcing the results by the jury and the award ceremony.

First place and 10 000 Euro prize was awarded to Stefka Malcheva and her project - The sweets of Dr. Oi’s sweets with 90% honey for soothing a sore throat. The innovation includes another new product - honey powder, produced by own technology, that can also be used as sweetener instead of sugar.

Second place and 5 000 Euro prize winner is Antoniya Georgieva with Biogaria – start up, developing a fertilizer based on the utilization of algae biomass.

The newly created product will be used as a biofertilizer that will regulate the processes of water and nutrient absorption by plants.

Closing remarks

Participants gained new knowledge regarding the different elements of the start-up support ecosystem and on the available initiatives for support of women entrepreneurs and startups in agrifood on regional, national and EU level.

They are up-to date with the information and digitalization services that will be provided by the AgroHub. In the field of financing – they pitched their ideas to potential investors – DSK Bank and Innovation Starter Box. Participants can also continue their EWA journey with the opportunities provided by EIT Food and the National Hub.

They can also seek support from the National Agriculture Advisory Service (NAAS) to apply for national funding programmes and participate in specific agricultural trainings.

The large public increased their knowledge about initiatives provided by EIT Food to support entrepreneurship, innovations in the agrifood sector.

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