The partners of the European Food-scalEUp project analyse their agri‑food digital acceleration ecosystems

In the context of the development of European innovation ecosystems, the Food-scalEUp project aims at fostering collaboration of structures that boost digital agri-food acceleration programmes and services at regional level. Food-scalEUp, funded by Horizon Europe, thus encourages policy dialogues, mutual learning exercises and explores business opportunities for the development of innovative start-ups and SMEs.

In this sense, the 10 partner organisations (clusters, accelerators, technopoles) of the project have conducted a cross analysis of their agri-food digital acceleration ecosystems. This collaborative work has enabled a European landscape of agri-food and digital acceleration to be drawn up through a directory of key players and a portfolio of available programmes.

Identification of actors and acceleration programmes

This work is a preliminary step to the construction of the Food-scalEUp agri-food acceleration network, consisting of a mapping of the elements of start-up acceleration. This mapping is designed to obtain a directory of actors and acceleration programmes available at regional and European level.

In total, the Food-scalEUp partners have mapped at different levels of involvement (roles in acceleration, types of structure, vertical/horizontal approach...) about 700 actors within the following regions:

  • Közép-Dunántúl (Hungary)
  • Galicia & Navarra (Spain)
  • Normandie, Pays de la Loire, Bretagne, PACA & Auvergne Rhône-Alpes (France)
  • Ostwestfalen-Lippe & North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany)
  • Gelderland & Noord-Brabant (The Netherlands)

This directory is intended to become a tool available on the Food-scalEUp website and to open up to other acceleration and innovation ecosystems.

Identifying the needs of agri-food innovation companies

In a similar way, we conducted a survey of about 70 European start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs from which we determined a series of improvement points and recommendations.

All profiles consulted had benefited from acceleration services in the last three years and were start-ups, scale-ups or innovative SMEs focused on agri-food and digital solutions. Based on the findings of the consulted end-users of acceleration services, a set of six areas for improvement was identified.

In addition, from a “business needs” perspective, it was found that the main suggestions for improvement relate to building valuable partnerships and building tailor-made support. In addition, many programmes are aimed at start-ups, which may require an increase in the provision of acceleration services at later stages of maturity.

In this way, the characterisation of the ecosystems of the Food-scalEUp partnership makes it possible to highlight topics of common interest that will support actions and opportunities for knowledge exchange and networking between key actors at the European acceleration scale.

European directory of key players and a portfolio of programmes soon available on the project website.