Europe’s agrifood community of entrepreneurs, partners and investors will gather online at the EIT Food Venture Summit in November
EIT Food Venture Summit
Photo as seen on the EIT Food Venture Summit website

EIT Food seeks to find the next 100 agrifood entrepreneurs who can transform the food system to be healthier, innovative and more sustainable, and is hosting an online event to gather European start-ups, food corporations and investors.

In the first-ever virtual EIT Food Venture Summit, on 17 and 18 November, investors and food corporations will be able to explore commercial partnerships and investment opportunities with 130-plus high-impact start-ups and will hear pitches from a select group of some of EIT Food’s existing partners and entrepreneurs.

New start-ups will also have an opportunity to learn about flagship programmes and connect with other agritech industry leaders.

All agrifoodtech start-ups that join any of the programmes of EIT Food’s Business Creation gain support and mentorship as part of the vibrant and diverse EIT Food community.

The programmes include Seedbed, for early-stage start-ups looking to verify their proposition and market; the Food Accelerator Network for start-up wanting to gain access to tools, connections and expertise; and the RisingFoodStars Association for start-ups to scale and reach new markets.

These initiatives are measured against economic, societal and environmental impact.

Europe’s agrifood community

EIT Food’s initiatives have supported entrepreneurs to grow and scale their impact faster, from help with market testing new ideas, providing access to experts, connections, and links to corporate partners across the food industry, as well as support with investors.

Last year, EIT Food’s portfolio of start-ups raised more than €91 million in external investments as a result of the programme.

“Our purpose is to create a culture across Europe for entrepreneurship to thrive,” said Andy Zynga, chief executive of EIT Food. “Only a spirit of entrepreneurship will help Europe to make the transformation we need, creating a food system fit for the future, that is healthy, sustainable, and meets the needs of a growing population.”

Zynga explained EIT Food is calling for new ideas from experts, innovators and investors, right across the food system. “We encourage anyone who has an idea or a business that can make a real difference, with potential to scale and grow, to apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.

Next-generation agrifood start-ups

The food system faces major challenges if the world is to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and adhere to the Paris Agreement climate targets. Yet, less than 4% of start-ups in Europe are in the agrifood space, creating a huge market opportunity for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs alike.

EIT Food now seeks start-ups to form its 2021 cohort. The search follows on from more than €10 million in direct financial support that programmes under the Business Creation programmes have deployed this year.

Many start-ups already working with EIT Food will be appearing at the Venture Summit to showcase their ideas and pitch to new investors.

“EIT Food has enabled us to tap into some of the largest corporations in the world and to establish proof of concepts with them,” said Brij Sahi, co-founder and chief executive of SwissDeCode, a real-time food authentication start-up. “This opportunity means we can directly engage with corporates and discuss on a one-to-one basis what we could do together.”

Those that join the network benefit not only from easy-to-access funding and investment but also access to world-leading agrifood entrepreneurs, corporates and partners, such as Pepsico, Danone, Nestlé and Cambridge University.

Damian Jourdan, open innovation manager at Danone, said: “The focus on customer discovery of EIT Food Seedbed programme is really interesting and distinctive – start-ups need to understand whether they will have customers to buy their product. As a key partner in the network, we’re here to bring value and to help entrepreneurs grow their venture faster with our expertise.”

Applications for EIT Food 2021 cohort will open early next year and close in Spring 2021. Visit EIT food to register your interest and find out more more.

Sign up to the Venture Summit to meet EIT Food’s entrepreneurs and partners.

Date published: 6 November 2020

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