Innovative ideas for nutrition and agricultural production in an exciting live – pitching, business practices and discussions about the role of technology in meeting nutritional challenges, composed the event of the final of the “Trophy Challenge”, on Thursday, July 11 at the Benaki Museum.

The Competition included a total of more than 60 representatives of universities and educational institutions, as well as business people, professionals and investors who participated in the evaluation committees. A total of 50 groups submitted proposals. 40 of them made it to the semifinals and received guidance for the further development of their business plan from mentors from Greece, Turkey and the USA. Ten of them made it to the finalists and competed in front of the jury for cash and non-cash prizes.

Two of the most important Greek representatives of entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector in Greece spoke at the event. Mr. Alexandros Kouris, Owner and Founder of the award-winning microbrewery NISOS addressed the young entrepreneurs and spoke about the perception of success as a path to self-realization and the importance of the “identification” of the Entrepreneur with the Activity, to the point where the Activity becomes part of his existence and is exercised with passion. Mr. Sotiris Bandas, CEO of CENTAUR Analytics, referred to the contribution of technology to the rescue of agricultural products and described how the company’s platform saves production in warehouses by releasing part of the value of agricultural goods, which is valued internationally in about 1 dollars per year.

The 5 winners won additional special privileges and direct participation in the finals of the global competition of food nutrition and technology Future Agro Challenge, which took place in September 2019.

In addition, the first winners of each category won a 5-day study visit to Rutgers University in the USA, and benefited from a one-year personalized business development program in collaboration with Endeavor Greece. All 40 teams that participated in the semifinals of the competition won tickets to attend the Global Agripreneurship Summit in Thessaloniki.

Ms. Efi Lazaridou, Managing Director of the “Generation Ag Greece” program, spoke about the “Trophy Challenge” competition, in consolidating a new culture based on collaboration and synergies. Thus, the Competition, although organized for the first time, managed to unite many important players in the ecosystem. The goal of all of us is to support in practice and in the long run those start-ups that show a vision, commitment, and culture of cooperation. The amazing dynamics of the finalists signal a future with optimism. The 4 winning teams proved that they have all the backgrounds to succeed and to use technology to meet the modern challenges facing the agri-food sector. “We will be on the side of the winners for a long time with substantial support actions.”

Ms. Eva Polyzogopoulou, Deputy General Program Director of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation stated: “The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (ISN) supports youth entrepreneurship through various donations to non-profit organizations. Our main goal is to create the conditions that will ensure young people the opportunity to put their ideas into practice. The dynamics that the agri-food sector in Greece has repeatedly shown, in combination with the development of technology, reveal the unlimited prospects of the industry and were the foundations on which the founding donation of ISN was based for the creation of the program “Generation Ag Greece”. In this context, this competition comes at the right time in order to give the stage to young people to contribute in turn to finding solutions, creating new jobs and, potentially, the modernization of the agri-food sector in the country. ».

Ms. Eleni Vrettou, Senior General Manager of Piraeus Bank and a member of the jury in the Foodtech category, stressed that: industry through the development of strong value chains, the reduction of production costs and the environmental footprint, the achievement of economies of scale, the utilization of best techniques, and the connection of production with the final consumer. Innovation plays an essential role as it can bridge short-term challenges and long-term goals in the agri-food sector. The “Trophy Challenge” is fully compatible with the vision and goals of Piraeus Bank”.

Mr. Michalis Stagos, co-founder of Industry Disruptors Game Changers (ID-GC), said: “Today is an important moment for agri-food in Greece, because innovative ideas and talented groups emerge, developing solutions for the future of this sector in our country. Industry Disruptors Game Changers will be next to innovative startups, which apply technologies that accelerate the transition to the era of industry 4.0 and the new value chains that the 4th industrial revolution creates in agricultural production and food.

12GODS participated in the bootcamp and advanced to the semifinals.