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Innovation Prizes
Innovation Prizes

Innovation Prizes

Do you have an idea that could transform the agriculture, fisheries and food sector?
Apply for RIS Innovation Prizes and receive up to €25,000 of equity-free funding. 

RIS Innovation Prizes is one of the largest startup competitions in the agrifood vertical in Southern and Eastern Europe.

RIS Innovation Prizes was open for applications in 2020. The competition will not reopen in 2021.

Prizes are awarded to entrepreneurs and early stage startups to support the development of new products and services which can help transform our food system, making it healthier, more sustainable and more trusted.  This year, Innovation Prizes are open to early stage entrepreneurs and startups from 17 countries in Southern and Eastern Europe. 

The prizes will be distributed at 17 online country finals with the three best startups taking €1,000, €3,000 and €5,000 in each final. In addition to the cash prizes, participating startups will benefit from high-quality training and expert feedback. 

The country finals will be organised online by EIT Food Hubs in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey.

The competition will conclude with the Grand Final during which the 1st prize winners from all 17 countries will compete for three main prizes: €10,000, €15,000 and €25,000.

Applications open: February 4 - May 24, 2020 via F6S website 

Evaluation process: May 25 - June 7, 2020

17 regional Demo Day finals will be held online between June and July 2020

Bootcamp training for the 1st prize winners of the 17 regional Demo Days - October 2020.

Grand Final for the 1st prize winners - November 2020.

Please refer to the competition Terms and Conditions for full details about the competition process and eligibility.

Eligibility Requirements

We welcome applications from those who meet the following eligibility criteria: 

Be a resident/citizen from one of the eligible RIS regions/countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy* (only regions: Molise, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicilia, Sardegna, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo, Campania, Valle d'Aosta), Latvia, Lithuania, Poland* (only regions: Łódzkie, Lubelskie, Małopolskie, Podkarpackie, Świętokrzyskie, Podlaskie, Wielkopolski, Lubuskie, Dolnośląskie, Opolskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Mazovia Regional excluding Warsaw), Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain* (only regions: Galicia, Principado de Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja, Castilla-la Mancha, Extremadura, Illes Balears, Andalucía, Región de Murcia, Canarias, Castilla y León, Aragón, Comunidad Valenciana), Turkey

The proposed products or services must be innovative and align with one or more of our strategic objectives: 

  • Making the food system better for people’s health
  • Making the food system better for the environment
  • Making the food system more trusted and transparent

Applicants will be considered ineligible if they are alumni or currently participating in FAN (Food Accelerator Network) or if they are RisingFoodStars members


Q: How will the COVID-19 pandemic influence the competition? 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 the Innovation Prizes competition will be organised online.

Q: What stage of idea/startups is this competition for? 

A: There is no exact formula for this. However, startups should note that this programme is aimed at early stage entrepreneurs and startups. If you have raised large amounts of investment (i.e. more than €100,000) or have large revenue streams (i.e. more than €50,000), this Prize is probably not for you. In fact, one of the criteria that your application will be judged upon is whether the Innovation Prize will be ‘catalytic’ in your startup's success. If you wish to discuss the individual situation of your startup, please contact us. 

Q: Do I have to have an incorporated startup to apply for this competition? 

A: No, you do not have to be incorporated to apply for the Innovation Prizes. We accept applications both from registered companies and entrepreneurs/teams who haven't yet oficially registered their startup.

Q: What is RIS? 

A: RIS stands for Regional Innovation Scheme, which is a special funding scheme to support entrepreneurs and startups located in Eastern and Southern Europe. It is only available for residents and/or citizens of one of the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Spain, Turkey. Please note that only certain regions of Italy, Poland and Spain are eligible for this program (see the details in Terms and Conditions). With any questions about ineligible regions please email at

Q: I applied and became a finalist of the EIT Food RIS Innovation Prizes in 2018 or 2019. Can I still apply for the Innovation Prizes?  

A: Yes, you can! However, winners of 2018 and 2019 editions of RIS Innovation Prizes will be considered ineligible (please read the complete eligibility criteria in the Terms and Conditions).

Q: Do I have to take part in the Demo Day? 

A: Yes, you do. A minimum of one member of your team must participate in the online Demo Day and accompanying training. However, the more, the merrier! 

Q: What does the training that accompanies the Demo Day consist of? 

A: The training will be tailored to the needs of the startups participating. However, likely topics include pitch training, building strong relationships with investors, effective communication, funding sources and marketing. 

Project Lead

Joseph Gridley

EIT Food


RIS Business Development Manager

Contact details

Yulia Bodnar

EIT Food


RIS Startup Support Manager

Contact details

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