€5m COVID-19 support fund for food firms

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

EIT Food has invested €5.4m (£4.87m) in supporting startups during the coronavirus outbreak
EIT Food has invested €5.4m (£4.87m) in supporting startups during the coronavirus outbreak

Related tags: Finance

A new €5.4m (£4.87m) support fund to help food and drink startups navigate the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak has been announced by innovation and investment group EIT Food.

Thirteen agrifood firms from across Europe will receive investment from the COVID-19 Bridge Fund to help them adapt to the pandemic, research innovations to food systems and bridge the gap towards their next investment round.

The businesses were selected from a group of 74 companies across 19 countries covering a range of sectors. UK-based food labeling firm Mimica Touch was among the food firms to be selected in this funding round. As part of the investment, the startups are offered opportunities to work with potential partners.

Commenting on the investments, EIT Food chief executive Dr Any Zynga said: “Startups will play a critical role in the European post-COVID recovery effort, and could provide the solution to the future challenges we will face as a society.

‘Game-changing innovators’

“These new investments will be a vital lifeline to many game-changing innovators and reflects EIT Food’s ongoing commitment to delivering sustainable, healthy and trusted food systems. Today, more than ever, we are focused on supporting our greatest entrepreneurial minds to help them overcome the impact of the pandemic and embed resilience in the agrifood sector.”

The COVID-19 Bridge Fund is part of the European Institute for Innovation & Technology’s (EIT’s) Crisis Response Initiative and directly contributes to the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which totals €60M (£54.2m).

In July, EIT Food was awarded €6.17m in the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation in order to develop solutions specifically targeted towards the crisis. The total available amount awarded for both funding opportunities by EIT is €10.25 million.

Market uncertainty

Director of EIT Food Business Creation Benoit Buntinx added: “Startups have faced an increased level of uncertainty and market volatility during COVID-19 and our bridge funding will ensure that they can continue to thrive.

“At EIT Food, we believe that innovation holds the key to fixing our food system so that it is healthier and more sustainable for all. This fund will play an integral part in our efforts to build a high-impact entrepreneurial network that can support our recovery from this crisis."

Meanwhile, Welsh manufacturer Abergavenny Fine Foods has secured a seven-figure finance package from HSBC​UK to help extend its reach into vegan food, reach £40m in sales within three years and protect jobs.

Related topics: COVID-19, Operations

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