In 2019, the National Chamber of Agriculture launched the NAK TechLab agricultural startup incubation program. The initiative, in cooperation with the Design Terminal, offers promising agricultural technology developments to agricultural enterprises. The collaborations established during the NAK TechLab agricultural start-up program will lay the foundations for the emergence of new agricultural services that will facilitate the wider spread of digitization. With the help of large companies cooperating with them, agri-food start-ups have access to solutions that they would not be able to manage on their own, using their own resources. The incubation program will continue in September 2021 with the support of new agro-technology enterprises.
You can read more about the NAK TechLab program of the National Chamber of Agriculture at the https://www.naktechlab.hu/ link.
Within the framework of the Regions 4Food project, the South Transdanubia Regional Innovation Agency drew the similar conclusions regarding the technological incubation of agri-food companies.
In Hungary we meet start-up companies in more and more fields of science and specialization, and it is no different in agriculture and food industry either. Start-up competitions, start-up introductory programs, investor meetings, and pitch trainings are perhaps the most common activities in their case. The need to develop an innovative environment for start-ups as well as the proliferation of development policy measures can also be observed, both in general and within the agri-food industry. What is very rare and almost missing from the point of view of the genre is the “management” and facilitation of start-ups, from the first, initial steps until entering the market, not infrequently to reaching international markets. Although we can meet some acceleration programs in Hungary as well, the complex development of the start-up ecosystem will be a task for the coming years.
As part of the Regions 4Food project, we learned about two acceleration programs focusing on technology-based business development, the Andalucia Open Future and Minerva programs, in the Science and Technology Park of Cartuja, Spain. Both programs are based on the cooperation of the public and private sectors, involve a wide circle of actors in the cooperation, plan for a period of 8-12 months in the work with start-ups, provide continuous professional mentoring, follow the whole process from idea until the creation of product, and end with the search for investors. All of these elements already exist in Hungary, but their combined presence would provide a high level of capacity development for startups. What is unique and especially relevant for the segment affected by the project is the provision of an infrastructural background, as prototype testing in many cases is the biggest barrier to the creation of agri-food innovations.
The Regions 4Food project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.