Sign In

Are you a food innovator in disguise? Unleash your potential in the Food Accelerator Network Helsinki pitching competition!

31.10.2019 0:00 - 31.10.2019 0:00 Otaniemi, Espoo

Do you have a solution to make the future of food more sustainable? This is an open call for food innovations. The best of the bunch get a chance to turn their ideas into reality with the help of international food innovation professionals.

The global population is growing at an accelerating pace, which means that more and more people need to be fed. At the same time, as we witness challenges presented by climate change, it has become clear that food production and management cannot happen at the expense of our environment. There’s an urgent need for sustainable solutions for the future of food.

That’s why VTT, the University of Helsinki, and Valio have joined forces with the European Institute of Innovation & Technology Food Acceleration Network (EIT FAN). Together they invite Finnish startups, researchers, and students to solve food related challenges in the Food Accelerator Network Helsinki pitching competition.

The winner(s) of the competition will have access to an accelerator bootcamp organised by EIT, where their food innovation is coached to reach its full potential with the help of international experts. The application period began on May 5th and ends on October 10th.

Three challenges: milk, packaging and bread waste

The applicants can choose from three challenges presented by Finnish companies:

Challenge 1 by Valio: How to reduce the carbon footprint of milk? Read more
Challenge 2 by Metsä Board: How to enable product visibility in food packaging in an ecological yet attractive way? Read more
Challenge 3 by Fazer: How to prevent and reduce bread waste in Fazer Bakeries and Fazer in-store bakeries? Read more

You can present a solution to any of the challenges as a whole, or to just one part of them.

The competition culminates in a pitching competition on October 31st, where up to 15 finalists will present their solutions. The winner(s) of the competition will be chosen by a jury that includes representatives from the EIT and the partnering companies and investors.

Why should I apply?

By applying you get the chance to make an impact on the real problems that actual companies struggle with – and influence the future of food. The winner(s) of the pitching competition will get to participate in the EIT accelerator bootcamp, where their innovation is coached to reach its full potential. In the best case, your ideas turn into reality and generate financial revenue in the future.

In the case of one of the partnering companies, Valio, Metsä Board or Fazer, becoming interested in your competition proposal, they might get in touch with you during the competition. Your proposal is your property, and it is up to you to decide what you want to do with it. You can keep working on the proposal by yourself or with your team, sell it, or discuss with the companies to find a way to take it forward together.

Who can apply?

If you have an idea of how to solve one of the partnering companies’ challenges – or a part of one – you can apply. The participants can be anything from the proprietors of an amazing idea and startups to researchers and students. You can apply alone or with a team.

How to apply?

Send your proposal by October 10th 2019 by email to Mirva Lampinen, VTT’s co-creation manager of the food ecosystem:

The format of the proposals is free, but the length should not exceed two A4 sheets or ten slides.

Important dates

The application period for the Food Accelerator Network Helsinki pitching competition started in May and ends on October 10th. In August VTT and the University of Helsinki will tour Finnish universities to promote the competition to researchers.

The finalists of the competition are selected by October 18th, and the pitching competition final takes place on October 31st in VTT’s facilities in Otaniemi, Espoo.

The winner(s) will have direct access to the EIT FAN Programme accelerator bootcamp, which is otherwise only available for participants of the Europe-wide EIT FAN Programme.

If you are interested in applying to the EIT FAN Programme, follow the programme’s website to stay updated about the exact date of the start of the application period.

The EIT Food Accelerator Network

The Food Accelerator Network Helsinki is a new part of the Europe-wide EIT Food Accelerator Network, which is an accelerator programme for high impact agrifood startups looking to maximise their success. The programme is delivered during a four month period in five locations around Europe: Bilbao, Münich, Lausanne, Haifa and Cambridge.

During the programme the participating startups will have access to tools, connections, mentors, and expertise to help them succeed. At the end of the accelerator, the three best startups from all locations will be awarded attractive financial prizes.

The application period to the programme opens in January 2020. The winner(s) of the the Food Accelerator Network Helsinki pitching competition will receive a place in the bootcamp that prepares the participants for applying to the FAN programme. The bootcamp takes place in the beginning of the accelerator programme in spring/summer 2020.

Read more about the EIT Food Accelerator Network
Get to know the finalists from 2018


If you have any questions regarding the competition, you can reach out to Mirva Lampinen by email at