The entrepreneurial journey is not easy. One needs to achieve many milestones: from a competent team, and unique value proposition, to targeting a specific market need and raising funding that is crucial for all of the above.
EIT Food (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) offers comprehensive support for agrifood innovators and startups at different stages of development including series of training, mentoring, expert advice, pilot tests, financial support and a broad network of more than 100 agrifood industry leaders.
One of the EIT programmes that offers support for entrepreneurs with a sustainable solution in agriculture is Test Farms. The aim of the programme is to match startups that are looking to validate their innovative agricultural products or services with farmers who are willing to test those solutions in their fields.
It’s simple – you get the chance to check if your technology works well in realistic conditions and solves farmers problems, and your farm partners can take advantage of the modern agritech you’ve created.
What will you gain by testing your product with EIT Food?
By joining the Test Farms programme you will:
- Validate functionality & need for your agricultural product or service while working with experienced, professional farmers. You will gain the opportunity to do pilot tests on suitable types of land, crop or animal in a realistic setting in Eastern and Southern Europe between July 2021 and July 2022;
- Increase the visibility of your solution by organising a Demo Day with the support of EIT Food. The EIT team will make sure to promote your showcase across EIT Food’s partners such as John Deere, Siemens, DIL, Pepsico, Nestle, Grupo AN and many others so you can present your innovative solution to your potential customers;
- Become a part of the huge EIT Food network of agricultural companies, researchers and research institutes as well as startups, who provide the food industry with the modern, eco-efficient technologies and solutions
During the testing phase, startups coming from Eastern and Southern European countries will have a chance to be supported with a special EIT Food grant of €3K for travel and testing needs (check if you are eligible in Terms and Conditions).
Test Farms programme – who can join?
EIT Food is looking for incorporated startups with agricultural solution prototypes that can make farmers’ everyday work easier, faster and more sustainable. If you can offer them technology to help them tackle their most urgent challenges and increase efficiency, you should certainly apply for Test Farms!
The application process is simple – all you have to do is answer few questions about your solution and testing need on the f6s platform till 30th of April (click here to apply). The EIT Food team will invite pre-selected startups to join match-making events, meet farmers and team up for the pilot projects which will start in July 2021 and last till July 2022.
Last year’s cohort of startups participating in Test Farms include:
- Ullmanna – The Weeding Organic Robot Machine (W.O.R.M.) invented by a team from Czech Republic. Thanks to AI its features are capable of recognizing weeds from root crops. This solution lowers the need to use pesticides and reduces the cost of labour. It was tested in Poland with Polish Association of Beetroot Producers.
- Bisari AgroInnovation – This is a Spanish team on a mission to help bees. Bisari proposes an electrostatic technology which enables assisted pollination of susceptible crops. This results in a higher fruit set rate and thus higher yields for the farmer. Tested with almond growers in Spain.
- Terrabio – This team from Poland invented a mobile genetic analyser which can identify up to 16 pathogens in any environmental sample, e.g. soil, water, plants. This ensures safety and traceability of produce and reduces pesticide use. Tested with Bulgarian wheat farmers.
About EIT Food
EIT Food is the largest European initiative in the field of food innovation, aiming to build a sustainable agri-food sector responding to the challenges of the future. EIT Food pursues this goal by, among other things, supporting innovative entrepreneurs and startups by offering training, mentoring, expert advice, testing solutions with sector leaders or financial support allowing for business development and entry into new markets.
The initiative is built as a consortium of key business players, start-ups, research centres and universities from across Europe. It is one of eight Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an independent EU body created in 2008 to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe.