The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched the EBRD AgVenture competition, welcoming submissions from all of the economies where the EBRD invests, in an effort to support innovative early-stage agribusiness ventures.
EBRD AgVenture aims to tackle the major problems that food systems are facing, such as food security, climate change, inclusion of target groups and small businesses in global value chains.
Food security is the most pressing challenge faced globally, with the world’s population expected to grow from about 7 billion in 2012 to 9.6 billion in 2050. In addition, climate change is negatively impacting all activities across the food chain, with rising temperatures, for example, continuing to increase water stress in agricultural areas.
The EBRD wants to address some of these issues by furthering the development of innovative products, services and technologies, and make food production more sustainable, efficient and inclusive.
Winning start-ups will benefit from tailored advisory support worth up to €80,000 via the EBRD’s Star Venture programme and a €10,000 grant for additional services, networking and visibility opportunities at international forums.
The EBRD’s existing and potential clients will also be encouraged to take a more active role in the start-up sector by backing advanced technologies or by providing financing, such as corporate venture capital.
The competition was launched during an online event to connect investors with prospective participants, where the speakers shared what they look for in food and ag-tech start-ups. The event was attended by the CEO of the Fresh Start foodtech incubator, Noga Sela-Shalev, and the panellists included: Jan Kobler, Managing Partner at South Central Ventures; Robin Saluoks, CEO of eAgronom; and Micol Chiesa Churchill, Partner and Head of Climate Science at Planet Fund.
The winning start-ups will be announced at the end of April.
Since 1991 the EBRD has invested over €180 billion in more than 6,500 projects across three continents to foster the transition towards open market-oriented economies and to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative.
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