EIT Food Education Pre-Incubation Programme awarded prizes to most promising startup ideas

The third cohort of EIT Food Global Food Venture Programme (GFVP) completed its intensive entrepreneurial journey on December 4, 2020 with an online Final Pitch Event. 20 brilliant PhD scientists from Stage II pitched their business plan, which they have developed during GFVP training to a panel of food industry experts and representatives from the EIT Food community. The awards were presented to the following most promising startup ideas:

  • 1st Prize: Luis Alejandro Vergara, founder of Carbon Harvesters
  • 2nd Prize: Sophie Saget & Marcela Costa with Econut
  • 3rd Prize: Michael Odintsov- Vaintrub, co-founder of Regrowth

The supported business ideas included innovative solutions to most of the challenges in the Food space – from food technology to waste management, from biotechnology to health and nutrition, from 3D-robotic vision to real-time plant disease recognition, and much more.

This is what the 2020 winners say about their participation to the programme:

“The programme taught me how to be resilient. I learned to take valuable feedback and put it into action. The Mobility Grant, which allowed me fieldwork with the farmers, has been most beneficial.” (Luis Alejandro)

Our idea has matured a lot. We joined the programme on idea stage and now we have advanced so much. The feedback we got through mentoring and one-to-one meetings with the experts – we couldn´t have it anywhere else. Our win today would not be possible without our mentors’ contribution, who connected us to various programs and contacts in the industry.” (Sophie & Marcela)

I learned so much in such a short time. I come from a marginal area, where there’s not many startups or innovation happening. To join the GFVP, receiving so much value from the programme, and forming new connections, has been such a massive win!” (Michael)

The EIT Food Labelled GFVP is a special education offering for highly qualified Doctoral Students from across Europe, thirsty to move the needle in transforming the food system.

The GFVP equips talented PhD students with tools needed to turn their research into viable business in the Food & AgTech sector. The programme offers a 6-Month tailored Curriculum that includes training Bootcamps, Mentoring offered by top-experts from EIT Food partners, Corporate Site Visits, Networking Events and Pitch Competitions, with the aim to provide participants with essential business creation skills and knowledge. There are two calls for applications per year, GFVP Stage I (Idea development) and Stage II (Pre-Incubation).

The GFVP is run by EIT Food, 10 university partners and one technology institute. Since its launch in 2018, the programme has supported 111 PhD students spanning over 23 European countries, 43 nationalities and 61 academic institutes. Furthermore, in only three years, the GFVP has proudly supported 57 female participants (F:M 50%), which demonstrates strong interest in entrepreneurship by women leaders who wish to drive the positive change within the food sector.

Up until now, the programme has organised training bootcamps in following key entrepreneurship ecosystems: Munich (Germany), Lausanne (Switzerland), Madrid (Spain), Haifa (Israel), Silicon Valley & Davis (CA, USA) and two Final Pitch Competitions in Paris and Lisbon. In addition, 11 prizes have been awarded to most promising startup ideas across the agrifood value chain.

Please visit the EIT FOOD GVFP website to learn more about the programme: https://www.eitfood.eu/projects/global-food-venture-programme-2020

Read the whole article here.

This EIT Food activity has received funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, under Horizon2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation