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Seedbed Incubator
Seedbed Incubator

Seedbed Incubator

A 6-month programme that aims to transform innovative ideas and research breakthroughs into market-validated business propositions.

The EIT Food Seedbed Incubator Programme is delivered by top EIT Food Partner Universities and Research and Innovation Organisations, providing their expertise in technology commercialisation and their vast connections with Industry to support researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs launch or progress a commercially viable business based on market need. 

The Seedbed Incubator will enable you to identify and connect with key customers, test the market and take your minimum viable product or service from a commercial proposition to a validated business. Watch the video below to learn more!

Benefits of Seedbed

The EIT Food Seedbed Programme provides participants with world-class start-up training and coaching to identify their core business assumptions and the support to refine their business value propositions. Seedbed Hubs provide participants with the skills, personalised business coaching, industry connections and funding to test innovative ideas directly with 100+ potential customers and end-user. The programme includes: 

  • Training at a 4-day online bootcamp based on a unique customer-oriented methodology to allow participants to define clear value propositions; winning business models, and a market validation plan to better understand the needs of the market and develop a solution customers are willing to pay for
  • Coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs and leading experts in the agrifood sector
  • Funding of up to €6,000 to facilitate market testing activities and to speak to potential customers, stakeholders and end-users to validate business ideas; plus the opportunity to access follow-on EIT Food funding and support through the Startup Launch Grant.
  • An opportunity to pitch to a panel of industry experts and receive constructive feedback.

Ultimately, Seedbed is designed to produce independent, creative, and market-aware entrepreneurs with the necessary multi-disciplinary skillset to address not only key challenges in the agri-food sector but make important contributions to ensure our food system is secure and trusted. Most importantly, our teams finish with a validated business model primed for attracting follow-on support and investment that will help take their proposition closer to market. As a Seedbed alumnus, you'll have continued access and opportunities within the EIT Food network including access to EIT Food investment schemes. 

Who Should Apply?

Are you doing or supporting research that has commercial potential? Have you got an innovative technology that could revolutionise the food system? Then our Seedbed Incubator Programme could be for you!

The EIT Food Seedbed Programme is focused on supporting three participant groups with business propositions underpinned by science and technology, that could transform the food system:

  • Entrepreneurial Teams seeking to validate the commercial potential of their innovation
  • Science Entrepreneurs seeking to validate the commercial potential of technology they are developing as a student, academic or employee at a Research Organisation or University
  • Recently incorporated companies (spinouts or startups, typically less than a year old) seeking to validate the commercial potential of their innovation

Research Centres and Universities: We are particularly interested in working with tech transfer and commercialisation offices across Europe to support the transformation of research discoveries into commercial ventures.  If you want to learn more about how we work with TTOs, please get in touch with the EIT Food Seedbed Incubator Programme Manager (Lukxmi Balathasan -

2021 Seedbed Applications

Applications for Seedbed 2021 open on 14th Feb 2021. The application deadline is 10th April 2021 at 23.45h. Applicants are expected to be notified by mid-May.

To apply please visit

Seedbed in your region

If you would like to hear more about our EIT Food Seedbed Programme, please get in touch with your regional hub manager:

  • Eastern Europe: University of Warsaw – Olha Pelekh
  • Germany, Austria, Netherlands: DIL – Alexander Märdian
  • Southern Europe: EIT Food CLC South – Juliet Bray
  • Nordics: University of Aarhus - Charlotte Bay Hansen
  • UK, Ireland, Iceland: Queen’s’ University Belfast – Kerri Crossey


Q) What are the eligibility criteria?
A) be eligible for the programme potential participants must meet the following criteria:

Business propositions must be underpinned by scientific or technological innovations with proof of concept established. They must fall under one of the six of EIT Food's Focus Areas i.e.

  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Alternative Proteins
  • Digital Traceability
  • Circular Food Systems
  • Targeted Nutrition

If applying as a team: one of the founders must be a citizen or resident of an EU member state or associated countries.
If applying as a startup: company must be established in an EU member state or associated countries.

Q) How many team members can participate in the programme?
A) The program is limited to 2 team representatives.

Q) Can a solo researcher or academic entrepreneur with no other team members still apply? 
A) Yes, but an individual academic entrepreneur or solo researcher should have support from one member of their Technology Transfer Office, whose contact details should be included in the application.

Q) How will an application be assessed?
A) Applications are assessed against the following criteria: eligibility, motivation, problem validation, solution fit, technology readiness and USP, potential business model, and team.

Q) How long is the programme?
A) Starting in June 2021, Seedbed Incubator is a six-month programme delivered across five EU hubs. As part of the programme participants are invited to attend a 4-day bootcamp in June 2021.

Q) What hub would a participant be assigned to?
A) The Seedbed programme operates over 5 regional Hub locations, therefore in most cases participants would be assigned to the hub nearest to them, however in certain cases teams can also choose the most appropriate hub for them. 

Q) How much funding would I receive if I am successful in being accepted on to the programme?
A) Funding of up to €6,000 to facilitate market testing activities and to speak to potential customers, stakeholders and end-users to validate business ideas; plus the opportunity to access follow-on EIT Food funding and support through the Startup Launch Grant.

Q) What happens after completing the Seedbed Incubator?
A) When the Seedbed programme is completed participants become a Seedbed Alumni and have the opportunity to access follow on funding to support their commercial roadmap. This may include spinning-out or starting-up a new company, or establishing technology feasibility tests with identified partners. There is the possibility to progress to the EIT Food Accelerator Network (EIT FAN), which connects impactful agrifood startups with industry-leading corporate and research partners to pilot their technology and drive the ultimate goal: a successful market adoption. Visit for more information

Q) Why is Seedbed unique compared to other incubator programmes?
A) A number of incubator programmes that exist are generic and they have general market validation programmes. Seedbed gives direct access to the agrifood sector and sector experts across Europe which is crucial to understand the commercial potential of a technology in this sector.


The following partners are involved in the project

Queen’s University of Belfast
University of Warsaw
Grupo AN S.Coop
Aarhus University
Danone Research

Project Lead

Dr Lukxmi Balathasan

EIT Food


Seedbed Incubator Programme Manager

Contact details

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