Startup Innovation Challenge: apply now!

Now accepting submissions for the startup competition at Hi Europe & Ni 2018

As part of Hi Europe & Ni 2018, trade show organiser UBM will showcase some of the most promising startups involved in the F&B industry.

Applications for the Startup Innovation Challenge are now being accepted and the most promising concepts will be presented live to a professional audience on the first day of the event. The three winners will receive extensive coaching from recognised industry experts.

Startups often exemplify creative pioneers and outstanding innovations, but young companies sometimes lack the budget and support to make an impact on the market.

This is why UBM launched the Startup Innovation Challenge in 2016. It gives founders or small new enterprises the opportunity to reach a broad specialist audience and receive valuable advice. The nominees will present their idea or innovation to a jury of experts on 26 November and at Hi Europe & Ni’s Industry Insights Theatre in Frankfurt.

With more than 10,000 visitors and more than 500 exhibitors, the show is the central trade event for healthy functional ingredients for the food and beverage industry.

All shortlisted startups will have access to a Startup Lounge, situated in the heart of the exhibition, for the duration of Hi Europe & Ni 2018. This provides a perfect opportunity to meet, network and demonstrate their products to this highly relevant and influential group.

Interested startups must enter one of the following categories before Friday 21 September:

  • Most Innovative Healthy Food or Beverage Ingredient
  • Most Innovative Plant-Based Finished Product
  • Most Innovative Technology or Service Supporting F&B.

The three winners will get individual advice from one of the jury members. In addition, the successful nominees can choose from various special prizes — from a fully equipped stand at Hi Europe 2018 or Fi Europe 2019 to a marketing campaign within the Ingredients Network or access to the "Conciergerie" innovation platform from Presans to intensive consultation at Wageningen University & Research.

Feedback from proven experts

The jury comprises industry experts, investors and company representatives from well-known corporations in the health ingredients industry.

Jury member Thomas van den Boezem is Programme Manager at StartLife, an incubator founded by Wageningen University & Research that specialises in coaching startups in the food industry. He says: "Novel food ingredients that make an environmental and health impact are a major focus for us."

"Wageningen University & Research performs extensive research on this topic; and, as a result, we see more and more startup activity in this space. But, we recognise that other ecosystems in the world often have creative new solutions that we’ve never seen before, so for us this challenge is a great way to stay engaged."

Sandra Einerhand from Einerhand Science & Innovation, who helped to implement the first Challenge in 2016 and has been a jury panel member from the beginning, adds: “The world is in transition: the climate is changing, the population is growing and there is an increased risk of diet-related diseases."

"So, we have to do something about the way we produce and consume food. One source of innovation is start-up companies and the Challenge is a great way to support them. Receiving valuable feedback about their business model and product, and with valuable prizes on offer, they can both create awareness and use this opportunity to meet or identify potential investors or venture funds.”

To apply, companies should be younger than 5 years old and have a solid business plan. The submission must focus on an exceptional new product or service that promotes health and, ideally, already exists as a prototype or service model.

Companies