It has been a year of great stress for start-ups and agri-food systems in Central and Eastern Europe.
The war in Ukraine has destabilized one of the world’s most important grain supplies and left a legacy of market instability.add to this The recipe for the recent wave of massive migration in the spring, an inflationary environment for agricultural inputs, a difficult financing market and an overall recession is complete.
Still, Central and Eastern European agrifood start-ups continue to develop and innovate, ignoring the potential.
As Sebastian Barcelac, From the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its part dedicated to accelerating innovation in the agri-food sector, EIT food (supported by the EIT, an agency of the European Union) said: We had an amazing team not only participating in already well-known programs (such as Test Farms), but also applying to newly introduced programs (such as Sales Booster). ”
“ regenerative agriculture revolution Programs continue to attract players from soil management technologies to carbon market incentives,” he adds.
Startup environments are inherently flexible. The best companies are able to turn quickly in distressed markets and crisis situations.
for example. The region’s manufacturing footprint is subject to a reduction in capital spending, but still sees ongoing investments, such as those in soluble fiber and vegetable protein.
This will strengthen the resilience of the entire supply chain in the region and reinforce the positive trend of the agtech startup cohort continuing to enter the game.
Ilia Iordanov, co-founder of Bulgaria-based ONDO Smart Farming Solutions, said: “This presents immense opportunities for agritech startups in the region, especially when it comes to making agribusinesses more sustainable and competitive given the various clean food regulations that have recently been launched. .”
He says the support of programs like EIT Food Sales Booster is essential for agritech start-ups like ONDO, whose concepts and business models need to be validated on an international scale.
ONDO offers next-generation precision agriculture automation systems that have become market leaders in Bulgaria’s agricultural automation market in just three years.One factor is ONDO’s subscription-based business model. This allows farmers to automate their farms with minimal upfront investment.
The company already has its first international distribution partner.
“Thanks to participating in the Sales Booster program, we validated our internationalization strategy and established relationships with more potential distributors and agtech start-ups. It will be a solid foundation for our efforts.” Iordanov. “We are already seeing good results from our participation in the program and hope that other agritech start-ups, if given, will benefit from the help of EIT food program experts and their active support. , encourages us to seize the opportunity to accelerate our international expansion.”
“Trendically, of all the startup profiles innovating in the agfood sector, those most often attracted to our program deal with precision agriculture, targeted nutrition and supply chain intelligence. It is a company that is in business,” adds Balcerak. “Its distribution is a good bridge to develop market-driven incentives that work across the chain. increase.”