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EWA 2024 Programme supports ten women innovators in Lithuania

AgriFood Lithuania collaborates with EIT Food to introduce the Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA) programme to Lithuania, focused on supporting women entrepreneurs in the agrifood industry.

28 Jun 2024
EIT Food North & East

Vilnius, June 26, 2024 - The third edition of the Lithuanian Empowering Women in Agrifood (EWA) programme started with a vibrant matchmaking event, gathering women entrepreneurs eager to make their mark in the industry. Organized by AgriFood Lithuania DIH and supported by Kauno Grūdai, this year's initiative promises a transformative journey for its 10 selected participants.

Participants will benefit from personalized mentoring, networking sessions, and access to an international digital platform during the intensive 5-month pre-incubation programme. The programme offers a prize fund awarded to those demonstrating the most significant progress, culminating in a final pitching event in November. The two top achievers will receive €10,000, with €5,000 from EIT Food and €3,000 awarded by Kauno Grūdai to the third-place winner.

The launch event for EWA 2024 took place at Vilnius' Pacai Hotel, where women entrepreneurs from throughout Lithuania gathered. They engaged with the EIT Food network, established relationships with peers and professionals, and presented their innovative ideas. The event concluded with one-on-one mentoring sessions, where mentees collaborated closely with their mentors to advance their business goals.

"I wish you to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity and not to lose motivation in the next phase: grow your knowledge, know-how, belief in yourself and your ambitious ideas. The experience of previous years shows that for everyone who puts in enough effort, the programme can be a decisive stepping stone to success, even if they do not win a prize."

- CEO of AgriFood Lithuania K. Šermukšnytė-Alešiūnienė encouraged women at the opening event.

Meet Lithuanian EWA 2024 mentees and their ideas:

  • Inga Matulytė wants to create innovative, nutritious candies like snacks enriched with fiber, vitamins, and minerals using plant extracts and juices leftovers.
  • Viktorija Šiukščiūtė is creating a startup of sustainable, urban micro-farms growing and supplying nutrient-rich microgreens using advanced vertical hydroponic systems supported by communities. It’s a new agricultural model in Lithuania.
  • Greta Budreikė runs a startup and is innovating alternative proteins – cricket-based savory breakfast cereals produced by eco-friendly cricket farming and extrusion cooking and offering a high-protein, nutrient-rich alternative to traditional options.
  • Agnė Vaitiekūnaitė runs a startup of haskap berries farm and is planning to create a novelty - nootropic products as food supplements with the highest number of the antioxidants in the market.
  • Božena Lazovska-Kuzborska is creating a “net zero” business model by integrating vegetable farming and goat cheese production. Excess vegetables are dried and used as cheese seasonings, while unsuitable produce feeds for goats.
  • Ingrida Kuprevičiūtė has an idea to create a prototype of freeze-dried flaxseed broth powder for easy consumption, addressing common stomach issues like gastritis and ulcers, and to use sustainable packaging.
  • Paulina Jonutė runs a startup of dairy farm and offers fresh, natural dairy products with twice the protein of regular options, directly from the farm to consumers. Utilizing sustainable practices, the products are free from artificial additives.
  • Urtė Raubytė is creating functional nanocoatings from vegetable processing by-products using green synthesis methods. These sustainable, edible coatings extend fruit and vegetable shelf life by up to 30%, are compostable, and enhance nutrition with bioactive compounds.
  • Ugnė Dirdaitė is creating a prototype of a gluten-free, lactose-free plant-based milk made from millet, a climate-resistant grain requiring less water. Vegetable-based milk has twice the protein content of its nearest competitor.
  • Aistė Leonaitienė has an idea to create birch sap syrup, a natural, locally sourced alternative to artificial sweeteners and maple syrup. It is a unique product to the Lithuanian market.

Meet their mentors:

  • Jelena Ramanauskienė, Head of Administration at Kauno Grūdai
  • Eglė Vaičiūkynaitė, Assoc. Prof. of Practice at the KTU School of Economics and Business, Co-founder and CEO of Neuromarketing & AI Lab in California (US) and Vilnius (Lithuania)
  • Dr. Aistė Balčiūnaitienė, Senior Researcher at Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, CEO of Biofita
  • Jolanta Kuzminienė, Director of Varėnos Pienelis
  • Inga Juozapavičienė, Lector at Vilnius University Business School
  • Gintarė Alčiauskienė, CEO of Sibena (Vikonda Group)
  • Ignas Šlapkauskas, EIC Program Manager at Lithuanian Innovation Centre
  • Justas Stanys, Business Development and Innovations Manager at Kauno Grūdai
  • Algirdas Augustinas, COO of Vikeda
  • Elmantas Pocevičius, CEO of Švenčionių Vaistažolės & Acorus Calamus, Head of R&D Department at Vision DEM4 Laboratory, lector at Vilnius University

About AgriFood Lithuania DIH:

AgriFood Lithuania is a digital innovation hub and cluster connecting the most important Lithuanian research, business, and public stakeholders for the common pursuit of digital transformation in the agrifood and associated sectors. By linking stakeholders with international and cross-sectoral initiatives, it serves as a one-stop-shop for AgriFood Tech innovation development and cooperation opportunities. In 2020, the European Commission included AgriFood Lithuania DIH as one of two good practice examples of European sectoral DIHs in the JRC science for policy report.

Learn more about AgriFood Lithuania DIH on their web page.

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