European consortium EIT Food is looking for 60 groundbreaking startups in the agri-food sector in Europe to help them grow and give them an international boost. The EIT Food Accelerator Network (FAN) programme has launched its third edition with the aim of giving fledgling companies the opportunity to stand out in the European market.
Registration is now open and aimed at food and agri-food companies that have a large impact. 60 companies will be selected among all the applicants (last year there was a total of 321) and will go to one of six hubs located in different countries. Bilbao will be one of these hubs.
This city has been chosen for the second year running because of its highly technological and industrial character, as well as its international links. The business accelerator is situated in the headquarters of EIT Food for Southern Europe, in the Bizkaia Science and Technology Park. Ten companies took part last year and they were able to work alongside first-rate experts for a few months, who enabled them to gain the skills they needed to grow in the market.
Bilbao will be the only Spanish city hosting this startup accelerator, and will be working together with another five European cities: Munich (Germany), Haifa (Israel), Lausanne (Switzerland), Cambridge (UK), and a new city this year, Helsinki (Finland).
The programme lasts four months, starting in July this year, and new companies will benefit from a plan guided by international experts. They will become part of an exclusive network together with established companies that are leaders in the food sector. This network includes access to an important agri-food client base that will give them the chance to quickly introduce their innovations into the market.
The programme’s plan has been designed by agri-food experts to ensure that these new companies are able to launch viable projects in the market. EIT Food is different from other accelerators because it does not ask for shares in participating companies. What’s more, when the programme has finished, three of the 60 companies will be awarded direct funding of up to €100,000 each.
EIT FAN is looking for new companies throughout the entire food value chain that offer solutions to current problems in the agri-food sector: from smart agriculture to consumption and health, from sustainable packaging solutions to innovations that tackle food waste, increasing food safety or helping to create a more efficient distribution system for the food industry.
The application period for programme opened on 15 January and the deadline is 10 March. Applications must be made through the its website.
The EIT FAN Bilbao programme has the following partners: Azti, University of Turin (UNITO), Danone, PeakBridge and Neiker, with the collaboration of the Basque Government. In addition, EIT Food will soon be launching the Seedbed programme, aimed at newer ideas or companies, to give them the chance to become viable and innovative businesses within the agri-food sector.