EIT Food launches funding for agri-food start-ups

29 May 2020

EIT food

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food has launched two funding opportunities to support the European agri-food sector through the COVID-19 crisis.

One call will support start-ups and scale-ups with high-impact and growth potential that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and the other will help accelerate impactful projects that address business and consumer needs throughout food systems in Europe.

Europe’s food system has come under unprecedented pressure during the COVID-19 that requires an urgent and coordinated response. Supply chains have been disrupted, agri-food businesses large and small are struggling financially, and consumers have had to radically adapt the way that they source their daily foods.

As part of the EIT’s Crisis Response Initiative, this activity directly contributes to the European Union’s response to the crisis.

As one of Europe’s leading food innovation initiatives, EIT Food stresses that it is committed to supporting the agri-food sector in this time of need. The COVID-19 Bridge Fund will help ventures adapt to the crisis, to continue critical innovation activities, and to bridge the gap to securing follow-on funding.

It is a funding mechanism that will provide timely financial support of between €200,000 (US$216,223) and €500,000 (US$540,590) to a select number of agri and food ventures addressing one of EIT Food’s key focus areas. Additionally, the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects is designed to fast-track product or service solutions that have a significant and immediate impact on the challenges brought about by COVID-19 on the agri-food sector.

“Innovation is key to ensuring enough healthy and sustainable food for all, and this just a small part of our efforts to build a vibrant and high-impact entrepreneurial ecosystem that is fit for the future,” says Benoit Buntinx, Director of EIT Food Business Creation.

“The COVID-19 crisis motivates many organizations to step up and lead by example, and the launch of both of these funding opportunities demonstrates our commitment to extending help over and above our ongoing and dedicated support of the European Food System. The investment that we are making right now will help those high potential start-ups to adapt and prosper in the post-COVID world and boost the creation and implementation of much-needed innovation to help the agri-food sector respond to the crisis,” adds Dr. Andy Zynga, CEO of EIT Food.

The funding announcement comes on top of already launched initiatives from across the whole EIT Food partner community to support the European food system through the challenges brought about by COVID-19. This has included the launch of a new Robin Food soup brand in Belgium with EIT Food partners that is using fresh surplus vegetables from farmers and aims to distribute 20,000 liters to vulnerable families through food banks and social grocers.

In Spain, EIT Food has announced the Los Salvacomidas (The Food Savers) initiative to provide over 60,000 healthy lunchboxes to children in need affected by COVID-19. EIT Food is also helping to improve the knowledge of the public by launching a free online course that is exploring how agri-food supply chains are coping during the pandemic.

Published by foodingredientsfirst.com on May 15, 2020
Image by Shutterstock


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