Turn your innovation into an investment-ready, market validated-business

Do you have a commercial innovation that could help revolutionise our global food system?

You could be eligible to apply for the

Seedbed Incubator

The Seedbed Incubator is a six month programme that aims to transform science and technology based innovations into market-validated businesses

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Receive equity-free grant funding and life time access to our network to facilitate market testing with target stakeholders

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Establish if there’s a solid market need for your innovation and what its commercial potential might be

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Discover new opportunities to pivot your business or build collaborations within our active startup community

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Successful Seedbed Alumni have life-time access to our network and EIT Food’s follow-on funding schemes

Applications open in January 2023

We host expert panels, networking and matchmaking events throughout the year so join our community to stay informed of all our activities

Establish Proof of Market

Determine the best strategy for your technology and its IP positioning

Business Validation

Develop market testing strategies to validate your key business assumptions

Equity-Free Funding

Test and learn from 100+ potential partners, customers and end-users across Europe

One-to-One Support

Thrive with support from our world class trainers, coaches and agrifood experts

Business Profiling

Build an ecosystem of valuable industry partners, investors, and media contacts

Powerful Connections

Receive exclusive invitations to agrifood industry networking & matchmaking events

Why the EIT Food Seedbed Incubator is so essential to developing a start-up

Identify new market sectors

“We identified new market sectors for our products and the speed networking with partners was really valuable e.g. The input on the readiness of manufacturers to change their labelling was very helpful”

Seedbed Participant, 2021

Stay ahead in food tech

“We received great insights from all of the teams, mentors, experts, and partners on the various technologies and projects that are making real inroads into sustainability efforts worldwide”

EIT Food Community member

The best place to network

“The best benefit of the programme was the networking! (and in other support programmes) It’s truly wonderful to meet other excited and visionary entrepreneurs”

EIT FAN Participant, 2021

Pivot, pivot and pivot!

“I liked the 1 on 1 coaching and the questions our coach asked. Through this, we dealt with critical issues and learned a lot. We questioned all of the assumptions we had, to rethink our story from different viewpoints. Overall, It really helped us to put things into perspective – I would recommend this programme a lot!”

Seedbed Participant, 2021

The power of market validation

“This programme is a fundamental cornerstone for anyone attempting to build a sustainable business – We found ways to potentially apply our product offering to other stakeholders in the supply chain and Seedbed’s excellent market validation process ensured our startup developed into an attractive proposition for future investments”

Seedbed Participant, 2021

Customer discovery is key

“Having 100+ conversations to test our innovation was truly beneficial. It helped us recognise our assumptions and we identified clients and partners we hadn’t thought of before. A key take-away was learning to include potential partners such as distributors & suppliers in our business modelling”

Seedbed Participant, 2021


What is the Seedbed Incubator eligibility criteria?

Your business innovation must be underpinned by a science or technology with a prototype or lab proof of concept established. It must also fall under one of EIT Food’s key focus areas

You can apply for the Seedbed Incubator as a project team or as a registered company. A project team must consist of at least two individuals with complementary skills and experiences, and at least one member must be a citizen or resident of an EU member state, or Horizon Europe associated countries (NB This includes the UK!). If you are a solo researcher or an academic currently without any team members, you must still have support from at least one member of your Technology Transfer Office for the duration of the programme (and include these details in your application). If you are applying as a registered company, your company must be established in an EU member state, or Horizon Europe associated countries (NB This includes the UK!).

Switzerland and UK-based companies ARE eligible to apply. However, eligibility to receive funding will be determined based on Switzerland’s and UK’s eligibility status for EU funding at that time 

What is the programme timeline?

Programme applications are open from the beginning of January to the end of February each year, and all applications are evaluated from March-May. Up to 60 teams considered to have the highest commercial potential are then shortlisted to attend pre-training sessions and an intense 4-day Bootcamp in May. At the end of this Bootcamp, all the teams involved pitch their business innovation to our panel of experts, who select the final 40 to join the new cohort in June. Our regional hubs run the programme from June to December and all selected, participating teams are required to attend regular training sessions during its course.

Do I have to be located in the same country as one of the Seedbed Incubator hubs?

No you don’t! The Seedbed Incubator operates in locations that account for five different hub regions across Europe, and the programme modules are delivered in a hybrid format. In most cases, teams are assigned to the hub that’s nearest to them for the convenience of networking. However in certain cases teams can also choose the most appropriate hub for them in terms of their specialism, and we review this on an individual case.

What is the time commitment for startups taking part in this programme?

All selected, participating teams are required to commit at least 10 hours a week during the course of the programme. To take advantage of all what Seedbed has to offer, and to minimise travel (due to Covid-19 restrictions), our hubs facilitate the programme mostly online. We expect at least one team member to remain active, and to be engaged with the programme during its full course, from when it starts in June, until the final presentations take place in November.

How are applications assessed?

Applications are assessed based on the understanding of the food system problem, its commercial solution, and your company’s fit with our ecosystem. Equally important is the potential impact of the innovation, its technology readiness, the business model, its USP, and the dynamics of the founding team.

Please refer to our programme Terms & Conditions for more detailed information.  

Who are the evaluators?

All judging panels consist of experienced entrepreneurs and experts from the agriculture and food industries.

Are there any areas within agrifood that you are specifically interested in?

No, any company that is creating an impact at any point along the food supply chain is invited to apply to this programme. Does your business innovation help to make our global food system more sustainable, healthy, and trusted? Then we want to hear from you!

How much funding does the Seedbed Incubator offer?

The Seedbed Incubator offers funding of up to €6,000, along with the opportunity to access follow-on EIT Food funding and support through EIT Food’s Impact Fund. More information on this fund can be found here

What makes Seedbed unique compared to other incubator programmes?

Seedbed provides direct access to experts who fundamentally understand the commercial potential of science and technology in the agrifood sector. You will be joining Europe’s largest agrifood startup community to receive continuous support from other like-minded entrepreneurs, with endless opportunities to share knowledge and work closely with our world leading industry partners.

How do you support Seedbed Incubator Alumni?

At the end of the programme, each cohort team is automatically enrolled as Seedbed Alumni and then invited to pursue opportunities for follow-on funding to support their commercial roadmap. This may include spinning out, starting up a new company, or establishing further technology feasibility tests with suitable identified partners. There is also the possibility to progress to the EIT Food Accelerator Network, which connects impactful agrifood startups with industry-leading corporate and research partners, to pilot their technology and drive the ultimate goal of every business: successful market adoption.

For more detailed information about the Seedbed Incubator, please refer to the programme Terms and Conditions

The programme is delivered by world-class EIT Food partner organisations, operating from different regions across Europe.

To learn more about the Seedbed Incubator, please contact one of our hubs:


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