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Two EIT Food startups recognised in the world’s top 50 SMEs

EIT Food is delighted that two RisingFoodStars startups from within the EIT Food community are amongst the 50 winners of the UN Food Systems Summit ‘Best Small Business: Good Food for All’ competition announced today.

28 Jul 2021

EIT Food is delighted that two RisingFoodStars startups from within the EIT Food community are amongst the 50 winners of the UN Food Systems Summit ‘Best Small Business: Good Food for All’ competition announced today.   

The top 50 have been chosen from nearly 2,000 applications from 135 countries, as their work best exemplifies the Summit’s aim of delivering all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing healthy, sustainable food and livelihoods for all. 

The competition was launched earlier this year to identify the best small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) from across the world, who are transforming food systems for a better tomorrow.  

The winning startups from the EIT Food community are current RisingFoodStar InnovoPro and RisingFoodStar Alum Whole Surplus (2019-2020 cohort). 

Israel-based startup InnovoPro have developed a green technology which utilises a natural process to extract concentrated chickpea protein. The protein is a non-allergenic, taste-neutral superfood, rich in unsaturated fatty acids and containing significant amounts of essential amino acids. Importantly the production process results in zero waste. Taly Nechushtan, CEO of InnovoPro said:

“Our vision is to inspire consumers by creating the best chickpea-based solutions - sustainable, nutritious and above all delicious.”  

Listen to InnovoPro discussing their chickpea-based protein ingredients in our Food Fight Podcast  

Listen now on:

Turkey-based startup Whole Surplus provides technology solutions to recover the best possible environmental, social and financial value out of surplus food. The platform creates a system where food businesses can manage all their unsold inventories from one place. Thanks to the unique technology, in 4 years more than 19,000 tonnes of food have been saved. Olcay Silahlı, Co-founder and CEO of Whole Surplus said: 

“We donate food to more than 1 million people every month in Turkey, and we recover more than 1,000 tonnes of food.” 

EIT Food supports game-changing SMEs 

Supported by the EU, EIT Food invests in projects, organisations and individuals that share our goals for trusted, healthy and sustainable food systems. We unlock innovation potential in entrepreneurs, businesses and universities and create and scale agrifood startups to bring new food systems solutions, technologies and products to market.  

EIT Food supports SMEs by creating an environment which enables them to achieve success and scale their gamechanging solutions to transform the food system. Specifically, we are doing this through a number of initiatives including our Seedbed Incubator for individuals, scientists and aspiring entrepreneurs, the EIT Food Accelerator Network for entrepreneurs and registered startups, the Venture Summit which brings together stakeholders from across the food value chain, and the RisingFoodStars Association for high-potential agrifood mature startups and early scaleups.   

Dr Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food said:

“SMEs make up over 90% of the agrifood sector, creating half the economic value, providing more than half the sector’s jobs, and handling more than half of the food consumed. They make a huge contribution and should therefore play a central role in building a global collaboration towards a healthy, sustainable and equitable food future. 

At EIT Food, we are privileged to be working with a diverse and dynamic group of SMEs. In the last 3 years, we supported more than 400 SMEs with financial and technical means; while training and including over a thousand aspiring or early-stage entrepreneurs in our activities so that they can start a successful journey and help contribute to the transformation of our food systems. 

We are delighted that the contribution of two startups from our RisingFoodStar community, InnovoPro and Whole Surplus, has been recognised in the ‘Best Small Business: Good Food for All’ competition today.

This week, we have published research which shows that two thirds of young people consider a career in the food sector and are interested in becoming entrepreneurs and innovators. This provides us with a real opportunity to transform the food system, however it comes with challenges. 

We need to come together to support this next generation of SMEs, by providing tailored support, education, finance and mentoring; so that we innovate the entire system with these innovative, dynamic and visionary entrepreneurs.” 

A Small Business Agenda for the UN Food Systems Summit

Recognising the value of SMEs and their role in transforming the food system, EIT Food contributed to the development of the UN Food Systems Summit report ‘A Small Business Agenda for the UN Food Systems Summit’, which looks at how to boost the role of SMEs in providing good food for all. The report describes three pathways to integrate food SMEs into the prioritisation, design and governance of efforts to transform food systems. 

Download the report here. 

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