The European Institute of Innovation & Technology, known as EIT Food, has launched the COVID-19 Bridge Fund to help small businesses continue innovation activities and bridge the gap to securing follow-on funding.
Businesses operating in the agrifood sector can apply for between €200,000 and €500,000 of funding towards projects covered by EIT Food’s key focus areas (see box below).
Commenting on the launch of the Bridge Fund, EIT Food director of business creation Benoit Buntix said: “We're delighted to launch the COVID-19 Bridge Fund to support a select number of ventures during these difficult times.
“At EIT Food, we believe that innovation is key to ensuring enough healthy and sustainable food for all, and this just a small part of our efforts to build a vibrant and high-impact entrepreneurial ecosystem that is fit for the future.”
The launch of the Bridge Fund coincided with another programme from EIT food, the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation Projects. This scheme was designed to fast-track products or service solutions that would have a significant and immediate impact to the challenges brought about by the novel coronavirus on the agrifood sector.
Dr Andy Zynga, chief executive of EIT Food, added: “The COVID-19 crisis motivates many organisations to step up and lead by example, and the launch of both of these funding opportunities demonstrates our commitment to extending help over and above our ongoing and dedicated support of the European Food System.
Adapt and prosper
“The investment that we are making available right now will help those high potential start-ups to adapt and prosper in the post-COVID world and boost the creation and implementation of much-needed innovation to help the agrifood sector respond to the crisis.”
EIT Food has already pioneered a number of initiatives across Europe to support food businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, including the Robin Food soup brand that used surplus vegetables from farmers in Belgium and an initiative to provide healthy lunchboxes to children in Spain.
Food and drink start-ups hoping to benefit from EIT Food’s Bridge Fund and Rapid Response Call for Innovation projects can find more details and how to apply through the organisation’s website.
Meanwhile, Food and drink businesses with £50k–£10m in unpaid invoices could soon benefit from a new £1bn funding scheme from finance provider Azzurro Associates.
ey focuses – COVID-19 Bridge Fund
- Alternative proteins
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Targeted Nutrition
- Sustainable aquaculture
- Digital transformation of traceability
- Circular food systems