€1.2m EU investment fund seeks entrepreneurs hungry for agrifood innovation

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Are you an EU food innovator? Katana wants to hear from you... @iStock/Gajus
Are you an EU food innovator? Katana wants to hear from you... @iStock/Gajus

Related tags European union

Katana, a €1.2 million investment fund is calling for Europe’s brightest entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and win funding for agrifood innovation, from functional foods to tech solutions for sustainable sourcing.

Part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme which will release nearly €80 billion in funding for research and innovation in Europe over seven years, the Katana project will provide €2000 grants to 100 companies, and then a further €100,000 to the ten most successful of these.

It is looking for innovative ideas in three areas: Precision agriculture for sustainable farming; mobile services in accessing agrifood markets and functional foods for personalised nutrition. Proposals can address more than one of these areas simultaneously.

The closing date for entries is 28 February.

Prepare your video

In total, 100 video pitches will be selected for a €2000 travel grant, an online training programme and three-day face-to-face ‘bootcamp’ held in Germany, before


organisers whittle this down to 10 based on crowdfunding success.

The aim is for each firm to launch its product or service on the market by December 2018.

The eight-week online training will cover topics such as business model generation, agile development, customer needs and intellectual property rights. There will also be networking opportunities and assistance in setting up a crowdfunding campaign.

Katana gives some fictional examples of start-ups that would be eligible for funding, such as a Spanish seafood wholesaler and distributor that teams up with Slovenian app developers to develop a seafood traceability app providing information to consumers about the packaging, transportation and storage of the seafood using QR codes.

“The two companies use the mobile interface and the same-day delivery API […] to connect consumers with high quality fresh fish provided in the fish shop near them. Once they prepare the app prototype they start a crowdfunding campaign in Katana aiming at both fish shops and consumers, offering special prices to early adopters."

For the pitch preparation, however, the organisers stress that it is not necessary to have a finalised and concrete idea but should rather use the video opportunity to present their skills, competences, their understanding of the dynamics across the agrifood value chain and their vision of the sector. The call for specific ideas will take place between April and August this year.

Applicants must be from one of the 28 European Union member states, one of its overseas departments or from a Horizon 2020-associated country such as Ukraine, Tunisia or Iceland, and have an annual turnover €50 million or less. All applications must be made in English only with videos submitted via a YouTube link. 

Submit a video pitch here​.

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