Author: Daniela Zimmermann
KATANA SUPPORTS SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES IN AGRIBUSINESS
Attention entrepreneurs and start-ups! The KATANA project offers great opportunities for innovative businesses in the agrifood value chain to receive financial support and free business training. The first call for applications will run from December 2016 until February 2017.
The latest developments in the technology landscape and consumer perceptions have changed the way of doing business in the agrifood market. A growing awareness of nutrition and health issues, an increasing demand for sustainability and the breakthroughs of ecommerce and mobile marketing leads to more interaction between market players, alternative cooperation models and new challenges. Responding to such rapidly changing market dynamics is challenging, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Following on from other EU funded projects such as TRADEIT, TRAFOON and FRACTALS, KATANA aims to support the European agrifood sector to meet and overcome these challenges. KATANA will bring together farmers, food producers, technologists and financiers to drive innovation. KATANA runs a competition to identify and support the most motivated entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into new products or services.
Who can apply?
You can apply as an individual person, as a start-up or as an SME in the European Union or in H2020 associated countries. All KATANA communication will be in English. A fully elaborated business plan is not needed at the point of application. Those with ideas, concepts or prototypes are encouraged to apply. Even if you have no concrete idea yet for a new product or service, that is no problem. KATANA can help you to realise your vision and to bring your innovation to market.
How to apply?
A two-minute pitch video is all that it takes to apply for KATANA. In this short presentation, participants shall share their competencies, their background, current activities and, most importantly, their vision for the sector. The video will only be visible to other participants. Each participant will then be asked to quickly evaluate some fellow competitors. Based on the resulting ranking, the community itself selects its 100 most promising members who will then receive coaching, training and financial support.
A two-minute pitch video is all that it takes to apply for KATANA!
Proceed to the Top 10
In the first round, 100 winners will be selected to progress. However, if you are not selected, all is not lost. The winners have to build teams with potential partners, coming from different countries and/or belonging to different stages of the value/supply chain. Therefore, everyone is welcome to attend the matchmaking events to build teams. Each team with at least one of the 100 winners of the first stage can apply for the final project stage by entering the crowdfunding platform.
This checklist completed, the teams will be asked to launch a crowdfunding campaign. This time, they present their product or service to early adopters via a crowdfunding platform. Early adopters are people who start using a product or technology as soon as it becomes available. Again, the selection process is simple: The better a team promotes its solution and the more money it collects from fellow supporters, the better the chance of reaching the Top 10.
If you make it to the top 10, you will receive 100,000 Euros funding and lots of additional support. These so-called consortia then work in collaboration with the KATANA partners on a concrete product or service.
Breaking it down to one short video and one crowdfunding campaign, KATANA’s application processes are comprehensive, transparent and easily accomplished. Potential benefits include substantial financial means, innovative tools, strategic partners or even successful spin-offs becoming the cash cows of tomorrow. Enthusiastic? Visit the website for more information or stay tuned via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter @H2020_KATANA. You can also get in touch directly via the form below.
KATANA – an EU funded initiative
KATANA stands for: Cutting edge technology in agribusiness.
For whom: SMEs and single entrepreneurs from the agrifood value chain (farmers, food producers, retailers, nutritionists etc.), ICT and internet based SMEs, SMEs active in emerging industries (e.g. eco sustainability, mobile markets, and functional foods).
Objective: KATANA aims to support the use of advanced technologies within the agrifood sector and to boost the development of innovative products and services in the field.
Reason: In order to cope with a growing awareness for nutrition and health issues, an increasing demand for sustainability in supply chains and the breakthrough of ecommerce and mobile marketing in relation to agrifood products, the way of doing business in the sector is currently being transformed.
How: KATANA addresses the traditional agrifood value chain in order to strengthen cooperation and support the smallest market players in accessing knowledge, technology, capital and markets. A customized set of financial and support services will be provided to selected participants who also get the chance to participate various matchmaking events, an investor forum as well as e-pitches in front of market players, investors and business angels.
Areas of interest: eco sustainability, mobile markets for agriculture, functional food, supply chains in agribusiness.
When: From July 2016 to December 2018.
Funded by: European Commission, Horizon 2020 Programme.
Partners: Fourteen (14) partners across Europe and H2020 associated countries, thereof seven regional clusters to facilitate cross-border matchmaking: Denmark, Germany (2), Greece (4), Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Serbia (3) and the United Kingdom.
Coordination: Alexandra Rudl, Head of Innovation Programmes, bwcon GmbH (Germany).
Participating in KATANA comes with multiple benefits such as access to a broad range of events and tools that will support the selected entrepreneurs on their journey from a first idea to market-ready products or services.
Participants will receive substantial funding to pursue their visions. While the best 100 single participants will be granted two thousand Euros each, the best 10 teams receive another 100,000 Euros when entering the final project stage.
Matchmaking events connect food producers, techies, nutritionists and agrifood experts from different regions towards stimulating border-crossing exchange of ideas
Free online webinars provide helpful insights on topics such as Internet of Things, Intellectual Property Rights, Marketing, Prototyping and Customer Development
Weekly Online courses teach you how to successfully implement feedback processes and to design products and services targeted to your customers’ needs
Professional coaches provide tips and tricks in terms of business and financial planning, investor relations and export promotion
E-Pitches & Investment Forums prepare you for negotiations with potential backers and serve as initial contact points with external stakeholders and financiers.
Three online platforms
KATANA delivers three online platforms providing ready-to-use toolboxes for the development of products and services. Apart from an online Marketplace for Precision Agriculture Services and a Platform for Mobile Services in the agrifood market, the so-called FunFood Toolbox will offer valuable data for the design of functional foods. This toolbox will contain information on bioactive compounds and their resources (plants, algae, etc.), promising novel processes, for different food categories and consumer groups (such as pregnant women or athletes) etc.
Also information will be given on leading companies and research groups, EU food legislation, and recipes for the design of functional food products, such as probiotic yoghurts, bread with extra portions of omega-3 fatty acids and iodine or so-called “brain foods”.
An organic beekeeper from Serbia, who recently received an international food award for the premium quality of his forest honey, made contact with a small company from Germany producing organic snacks of high nutritional value. Together, they are planning to design snack products based on honey, pollen and royal jelly for particular market segments, such as athletes, senior citizens, pregnant women and those with obesity problems. Towards this goal, the collaboration was expanded to include a nutritional scientist from Poland and mobile app development company from Netherlands.
Using the FunFood Toolbox they co-created an offer which both a product and a service. Customers register through the mobile app and enter their profile in terms of weight, height, particular nutritional needs and taste preferences. Based on the profiles and the nutrient requirements, the organic snacks company uses the KATANA FunFood toolbox through an open API to develop personalized recipes and orders the products from the beekeeper.
That is how the KATANA idea of community works!