Fi Europe Startup Innovation Challenge 2023 open for applications

Published: 2-Aug-2023

Taking place at the Innovation Hub during Fi Europe, it provides a unique platform for young companies to gain exposure to a global audience,

 Entries are now live for the 2023 Fi Europe Startup Innovation Challenge, giving innovators a rare opportunity to take their concepts to the next level. Now in its eighth edition, the awards programme champions innovation in food and beverage ingredients and technology.

Taking place at the Innovation Hub during Fi Europe, it provides a unique platform for young companies to gain exposure to a global audience, attract investment and showcase their products and ideas to influential industry players. 

Startups that are less than five years old are invited to submit entries for one or more of the following categories: 

  • Most Innovative Food & Beverage Ingredient 
  • Most Innovative Plant-Based or Alternative Ingredient 
  • Most Innovative Processing Technology or Technology Platform ∙ Most Innovative Service or AI Solution Supporting the F&B Industry 

As it has become requisite for any new venture or ingredient to demonstrate inherently strong sustainability credentials, there will also be a Jury’s Choice award for the Most Innovative Sustainable Solution. Companies cannot apply directly for this category – the winner will be chosen from the finalists across all categories by the expert judging panel.  

As well as benefitting from the kudos and publicity that goes hand in hand with clinching a prestigious Startup Innovation Challenge accolade, category winners can choose from a selection of high value business support packages as prizes. These include a free stand at a future Fi Europe, a comprehensive digital marketing package delivered in conjunction with Ingredients Network and mentoring services from investors and incubators. 

But in these awards, winning isn’t everything. Simply by entering, applicants benefit from the experience of pitching their business case on paper to the Fi Europe Startup Innovation Challenge jury board. 

All shortlisted startups are then invited to introduce their innovations to an expert judging panel for 2023 made up of industry luminaries such as Michael Dovbish (executive director, Nutrition Capital Network), Kevin Camphuis (co-founder, ShakeUpFactory) and Giulia Crastolla (investor relations manager, StartLife). 

Shortlisted companies also have the opportunity to present their solutions on stage to a global audience via the Innovation Hub on 28 November at Fi Global’s flagship European show. Given that Fi Europe attracts over 25,000 attendees from all over the world, this represents a highly efficient route to reaching a vast yet targeted cross-section of the food and beverage industry population. 

In addition, organiser Informa has created an onsite Startup Lounge for exclusive use by shortlisted entrants. This gives startups access to a private space on the show floor to hold meetings with potential partners, customers and investors.  

Yannick Verry, Brand Manager, Food ingredients Europe and Americas, said: “Fi Europe is all about promoting, sharing and celebrating ingredient innovation. Every breakthrough ingredient or disruptive technology starts as an idea and we are proud of our role in helping to nurture and bring on startups. With the Startup Innovation Challenge, we have created a programme that rewards entrepreneurial spirit and helps young businesses to make the connections they need to scale up and grow - essentially it provides a springboard into a vast sea of opportunity.” 

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