Editor’s Note: This post has been created in collaboration with EIT Food. If you’re also interested in partnering with us, just reach out.
The entrepreneurial journey is not easy and there are many twists and turns to endure. A successful startup needs to cover many bases – from a competent team and a unique value proposition, to targeting a specific market need and raising that all-important funding.
EIT Food (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) offers comprehensive support for agrifood innovators and startups at different stages of development. This includes training, mentoring, expert advice, pilot tests, financial support and a broad network of more than 100 agrifood industry leaders.
One of EIT Food’s programmes is Test Farms, offering support for entrepreneurs with a sustainable solution in agriculture. The aim of Test Farms is to match startups that are looking to test and validate their innovative agricultural products or services with farmers who are eager to learn about the latest in agritech innovations.
Simply put, you get the chance to test if your tech works well in real conditions while at the same time giving farmers the chance to take advantage of modern agritech solutions, solving their real-life problems.
What will you gain by testing your product with EIT Food?
- Validate functionality & need for your agricultural product or service while working with experts, agronomists and professional farmers. You will gain the opportunity to do pilot tests on suitable types of land, crops or animals in a realistic setting in Spain, Italy or Poland between July 2022 and July 2023;
- Increase the visibility of your solution by organising a demo day with the support of EIT Food. EIT Food will showcase your solution across its extensive network of partners such as John Deere, Südzucker, Siemens, DIL, Pepsico, 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, research institutes as well as startups, who provide the agrifood industry with modern, eco-efficient technologies.
During the testing phase, startups from Eastern and Southern European countries can apply for an EIT Food grant of € 3,000 to cover travel and testing needs.
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, Test Farms is the programme for you!
It’s already the 4th edition of Test Farms. This year EIT Food is looking for startups across Europe. Companies from Eastern and Southern Europe can apply free of charge. Entrepreneurs from other European countries can also benefit from the match-making with farmers and expert support provided by EIT Food. The cost of these services is € 2,500.
The application process is simple – all you have to do is answer a few questions about your solution and testing need on the f6s platform before the 29th of April (click here to apply). 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 2022 and last through July 2023.
Test Farms Alumni
Over the last 3 years, approximately 35 solutions have been validated and promoted thanks to Test Farms. Startups from previous editions:
- Ullmanna – The Weeding Organic Robot Machine (W.O.R.M.) was invented by a team from the Czech Republic. Thanks to AI it can detect weeds from root crops. This solution lowers the need for pesticides and reduces labour costs. It was tested in Poland with the Polish Association of Beetroot Producers. Further cooperation with EIT Food helped Ullmanna to acquire its first clients and get additional funding.
- Bisari AgroInnovation – This is a Spanish team on a mission to help bees. Bisari proposes an electrostatic technology that enables assisted pollination of vulnerable crops. This results in a higher fruit count and thus higher yields for the farmer. Tested with almond growers in Spain.
- Terrabio – This team from Poland invented a mobile genetic analyser that can identify up to 16 pathogens in any environmental sample, e.g. soil, water, plants. This ensures the safety and traceability of produce and reduces pesticide use. Tested with Bulgarian wheat farmers.
- Ficosterra is a Spanish startup that transforms seaweed into fertilizers and biostimulants that improve soil microbiology and promote plant development without polluting the environment. Thanks to taking part in the Test Farms they have been able to increase sales and their sources of funding.
EIT Food is the world’s largest and most dynamic food innovation community, accelerating innovation to build a future-fit food system that produces healthy and sustainable food for all.EIT Food, a body of the EU, was set up in 2008 to unlock innovation potential in businesses and universities and create and scale agrifood startups to bring new technologies and products to market.