The final of the agri-food innovation competition “Trophy Challenge” took place on Thursday, July 9, in which a total of 73 teams submitted their business proposals. At the online event, the winners of each of the three categories of the competition were announced, who then presented their ideas and business proposals live.

The main speaker of the event was Dr. Vassilis Nikolopoulos, head of Applied Research, Development and Innovation in the Energy sector of MYTILINEOS (Protergia) and founder of the first Greek deep tech startup Intelen, in the field of Energy and Energy Informatics.

Mr. Nikolopoulos, speaking to the participants, gave answers about everything that composes the future of start-up entrepreneurship, at a time when everything is changing at a rapid pace and presented how we can turn an idea that solves a problem or a research result into a business. An important factor in the initial stages, as he stressed, is “the initial capital, the creation of value for an innovation, the soft skills of the team as well as the ability to solve problems and rapid development, since in the initial phase there are continuous problems and difficulties that require solution and adjustment. “Finally, collaborations with major corporate players also play an important role, even in the early stages, which can speed up market transition processes.”

The winning teams won cash prizes totaling 22,000 euros as well as the opportunity to participate directly in the final of the world Future Agro Challenge. The winners will also pay a study visit to Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, participate in acceleration programs, access Vodafone’s 5G network and receive support for commercial implementation of the idea, copyright and accounting.

The presenter of the event was the journalist Nikos Filippidis.

Welcoming the guests, Efi Lazaridou, CEO of the program “Generation Ag Greece” stressed: “Our priority is to contribute to the support of youth entrepreneurship and the consolidation of a culture of innovation in the agri-food sector. The special conditions created by the pandemic and the challenges that arose in the field of agri-food, not only did not stop us but on the contrary, gave us more impetus to support through the Trophy Challenge, in practice and in the long run those start-ups that their ideas will bring innovative and sustainable solutions to the industry “.

Eva Polyzogopoulou, Deputy General Program Director of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation said: “It is said that every crisis creates new opportunities, as long as one is willing to cooperate, to test, to be tested and to fail in order to succeed. The young people, and not only the winners, who participate in the Trophy Challenge show in practice that they have a surplus of attitude, remain in our country, even in the most ominous conditions and insist through their ideas and daily effort to develop the agri-food sector and make our world a little better. For all of us at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, each of these young people is an incentive to continue to design and support programs such as Generation Ag Greece and initiatives such as the Trophy Challenge.

Michalis Stagos, co-founder of Industry Disruptors Game Changers, said: “Eating habits around the world are affected by new economic, social, environmental and health data. The agri-food sector, which “extends from the field to the fork”, is being transformed to meet emerging consumer needs as well as the global demands of sustainable development and sound resource management. The Trophy Challenge highlights, for another year, teams and companies that, with the vehicle of innovation and technology, take advantage of the opportunities of transformation and expand the value chain of agri-food “.

The “Trophy Challenge” competition is implemented by the “Generation Ag Greece” program, under the auspices of Rutgers University, in collaboration with the Agricultural University of Athens and the American School of Agriculture and with the support of Industry Disruptors Game Changers (ID -GC).

12GODS participated for the 2nd consecutive year until the final round.