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Meet the winners of EIT Food RIS Innovation Prizes 2020

Meet the winners of EIT Food RIS Innovation Prizes 2020

EIT Food presents three start-ups who won in the Grand Final of the RIS Innovation Prizes 2020 competition.

RIS Innovation Prizes is one of the largest start-up competitions in the agri-food vertical in Southern and Eastern Europe. The competition is designed for entrepreneurs and early stage agri-food start-ups who can help transform our food system, making it healthier, more sustainable, and more trusted.

On November 10, the Innovation Prizes competition concluded with the Grand Final in which 17 finalists competed for the prizes of  EUR 10 000, EUR 15 000, and EUR 25 000.

The Final was judged by a panel comprised of top agri-food experts and investors: Thomas van den Boezem, Business Creation and Investment Manager at EIT Food, George Coelho, Partner and co-founder at Astanor Ventures, Marcin Czarnecki, FMCG Food industry expert, and Michela Petronio, Vice President at Blu1877.

The jury had an extremely difficult task of choosing three winners among 17 excellent finalists. Here are three innovative companies who, in the jury's opinion, develop the most promising and impactful solutions for the food system:

First prize – EUR 25 000: SoluBlue, Turkey

SoluBlue is an innovative food packaging material that extends shelf life and is also fully biodegradable. Additionally, in SoluBlue packaging, food does not rot but gradually dries over months, providing a second life for fresh food in cooking, or as animal feed. The packaging is also home compostable, biodegrading as quickly as the food it contains.

SoluBlue’s next step is to conduct market tests with food producers and retailers on extending shelf life and compostable aspects of their solution.

Second prize – EUR 15 000: Microbe +, Poland

Microbe Plus company developed a bioproduct that protects plants from pathogens and at the same time stimulates its growth. It is an activator for plants. The multi-strain combination of beneficial microbes significantly improves plant health. Microbe Plus offers tailor-made biological solutions designed to minimise losses in key crops caused by the presence of pathogens and maximise farms profitability. Thanks to their eco-friendly bioproduct, farmers can decrease the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers.

Microbe Plus goal is to offer farmers safe, environmentally friendly, and affordable bioproducts for plant protection. Thanks to that farmers can provide safe and nutritious high-quality food to consumers. For the next season Microbe Plus is planning field experiments on major crops in order to optimise their bioproduct.

Third prize – EUR 10 000: Thermosolar Hive, Czech Republic

Thermosolar Hive is a unique beehive and therapy device utilising sunshine to solve the biggest honeybee problem. Beekeepers can stop using chemical treatment and produce honey without residues. Moreover, the hive supports the colony, colonies become stronger and this significantly increase honey production.

What is next for Thermosolar Hive? They will build a beekeeper community around them and their ideas, digitalise their technology to provide more efficient beekeeping, increase their marketing activity, and expand to selected EU markets.

Competition background

In 2020, the RIS Innovation Prizes competition started with 17 country finals that took place in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey. Counries that are part of the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS).

In each final, up to up to 8 innovative agri-food companies competed for three jury prizes of EUR 5 000, EUR 3 000, and EUR 1 000 and for the audience prize of EUR 2 000.

The first prize winners from all 17 countries also won a ticket to the Grand Final and got a chance to receive top-class training and coaching prior to the last stage of the competition.

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