From fledgling startup to rising food star: EIT Food opens applications to connect intrepid entrepreneurs with finance, resources and support

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Program attendees will benefit from training, mentorship and access to the world’s largest food innovation community, as well as the exposure, resources and tools needed to grow. Pic: GettyImages/10'000 Hours
Program attendees will benefit from training, mentorship and access to the world’s largest food innovation community, as well as the exposure, resources and tools needed to grow. Pic: GettyImages/10'000 Hours

Related tags EIT Food Entrepreneurship mentorship agrifood personalised nutrition alternative proteins Food waste Innovation plant-based Technology

If you believe you have a groundbreaking answer that solves a global challenge – either as an established startup or at the start of your journey – EIT Food is inviting you to apply for one of its 2024 entrepreneurship programs.

Supporting the development of healthier, more sustainable and resilient European food systems, there are three programs to cater for all stages of business growth:

Launch: EIT Food Seedbed Incubator

For technology developers who want to understand their customers and validate whether there is the market need for their innovation before launching a commercial venture.

Accelerate: EIT Food Accelerator Network Program

For impactful agrifood startups looking for tech validation and commercial acceleration to drive the ultimate goal: a successful market adoption.

Scale: EIT Food RisingFoodStars

For impact-driven ventures on their journey to scaleup their commercial capabilities and grow exponentially. 

Each program is tailored to launch, accelerate and scale new food innovations and businesses that have a specific focus on (1) personalised nutrition; (2) alternative proteins; or (3) innovations tackling food waste.

Attendees will benefit from training, mentorship and access to the world’s largest food innovation community, as well as the exposure, resources and tools needed to grow. Startups that are successful in their application will also have the opportunity to apply for EIT Food’s Impact Fund and receive investments of up to €500k.

“New ideas, innovations and technologies are essential if we are to transform the food system into one that produces healthy and sustainable food for all,” said Benoit Buntinx, director of Business Creation, EIT Food, which is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union

“Our Entrepreneurship Programs empower and enable entrepreneurs to deliver agrifood solutions, connecting startups with finance, resources and support at the right time.”

Empowering entrepreneurs to play their part

Mentorship Getty
Pic: GettyImages/10'000 Hours

Since launching in 2017, the Entrepreneurship Programs have amplified the impact of over 500 startups, while 30 companies have received over €12m in direct investment from the Impact Fund – together attracting over €1.1bn of public and private investment to start the agrifoodtech revolution across Europe. In 2023, EIT Food received more than 1,000 applications from over 30 countries, whittling it down to support 123 startups.

EIT Food has a network of 200+ leading corporate partners, research institutes, decision makers, innovation hubs, experts, mentors and investors, which provide the right connections, resources and tools needed to support startups, so they can play their part in transforming our food systems.

One such startup is Bosque Foods, which has been through all three programs (Seedbed Incubator in 2021, EIT Food Accelerator Network a year later and currently a RisingFoodStar member) to ramp up its mission to address climate change through the lens of food.

The Berlin company is pioneering the biomass fermentation arena and creating next-gen whole-muscle meat and fish alternatives.

“With the support of the programs, we were able to expand our business creating the next generation of meat alternatives from Mycelium, accelerating the world’s transition to environmentally sustainable, equitable and animal-free protein,” said Bosque founder and CEO Isabella Iglesias-Muachio.

Act fast

laptop with EIT Food deadline BrianAJackson
Pic: GettyImages/BrianAJackson

Only startups from around the EU and its associated countries are eligible to apply for EIT Foods’ Entrepreneurship Programs.

Deadline is 19 February 2024. All applications will be evaluated and the selected participants  announced in stages, with the first announcements in April.

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