It has been almost a year since Foodvalley NL announced a partnership with ScaleUp Accelerator program to start using the facilities of the World Food Center. The program of Foodvalley Accelerator focuses specifically on scale-ups in the agri-food sector. Dutch companies with a scalable product or service and a turnover of at least 100,000 euros.
The first participants started in April and the first results can now be shared. Marian Peters, CEO of New Generation Nutrition (NGN) followed the Foodvalley Accelerator program this year to steer the rapid growth of its company in the right direction. "Participation forces you to make clear choices."
Knowledge about insects
NGN, based in Den Bosch, develops new applications with insects and at the same time focuses on knowledge development. "We want to build an insect chain and accelerate developments in this sector," says Peters, who founded the company in 2012 together with her then business partner Marleen Vrij. & #8220; We have a coordinating role in the sector. "
In just seven years, NGN has grown from a two-person to a company with fourteen employees, various products and projects in Europe and Africa. In order to continue to steer this rapid growth in the right direction, Peters decided to participate in April this year Foodvalley Accelerator.
"This setup forces you to think about who you are and what you stand for," says the CEO, who is now halfway through the program. “You will be put into a thinking process for a longer period of time that you will never let go. That way you make well-considered, clear choices. "
Peters is also enthusiastic about the applicability of the tools she is offered during the program. “For example, we have adopted the one-to-one approach to daily team sessions. Our employees now know better what is expected of them and are encouraged to think along with each other ”, she illustrates. "I also learned how, together with our employees, we can examine our business processes."
Roger van Hoesel, director of Foodvalley NL, fully admits that he himself still uses it regularly; the positioning of the Netherlands as the world's second largest exporter of agrifood products. “It sounds good and is always a nice entry to an international audience. But unfortunately it doesn't mean that much. It says nothing about the quality. If we really want to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world, we have to focus on our capacity for innovation. Being the second largest is not interesting. That is because it often concerns bulk products, or products that are first imported in part and then exported again. To maintain that leading position, you would have to export more and more, something that is hardly possible for our country, where production is already very intensive. ”
“Where there is room for growth is in the field of innovations and the export thereof. That is something that we at Foodvalley NL are very committed to. "
Foodvalley is the primary knowledge-intensive agri-food ecosystem in the Netherlands. Foodvalley NL is the organization that builds consortia to jointly realize innovative solutions. Solutions that come about thanks to intensive cooperation between companies, knowledge institutions, education and governments.
"That innovative power is also recognized by other countries, but that can be even better," Van Hoesel continues. “This is not just about Wageningen University & Research (WUR). The knowledge and expertise that is there is highly appreciated worldwide, but that we have much more to offer around it sometimes gets snowed under. "
“If foreign visitors come to the Netherlands then you would like to offer them a consistent story, now it is true that they get a WUR story at WUR, and other stories from Unilever and FrieslandCampina. We at Foodvalley NL are trying to build a bridge. Combining forces and ensuring a clear story that does not have a specific company color. And that seems to be catching on, witness the growing numbers of visitors we receive and international visits we make. ”
“From an international perspective, Foodvalley is actually synonymous with the Netherlands. For foreigners, the Netherlands is often already a very small and compact area. We therefore do not limit ourselves to collaborations and innovations in the Foodvalley region, something that is sometimes thought of. It is of course true that the Foodvalley region has an unrivaled concentration of agri-food companies, and of course the WUR in Wageningen. So an important part of our initiatives and promotion of innovation take place in this region. "
"We look forward to the World Food Center Experience"
“The arrival of the World Food Center Experience is something we look forward to. Precisely to tell the broad and not business-dependent story, it is great to have a neutral place in a knowledge-intensive environment where you can easily receive people, quickly and properly give a picture of our innovative power without having it directly linked to companies or institutions. is. That way we can optimally fulfill our bridging function and our networking function. "
AgriFood 2030 Foodvalley NL has been the recognized point of contact for fifteen years now when it comes to accelerating (product) innovations, developing agri-food solutions and promoting the Dutch agri-food sector. “That is why we have also been asked to help fill in the AgriFood 2030 program. AgriFood 2030 is a joint initiative of FrieslandCampina, Municipality of Ede, Municipality of Wageningen, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature & Food Quality, Foodvalley Region, Top Sector Agri & Food, Unilever, Wageningen University & Research and the province of Gelderland. "
The AgriFood 2030 program aims to maintain and further strengthen the strong position of this region, as the global Agri & Food center for knowledge and innovation. To achieve this goal, a long-term, integrated development and financing program is being developed, in which Foodvalley NL plays a central coordinating role.
“In 2030, Foodvalley must be the global knowledge and innovation heart of healthy, safe and sustainably produced food. Foodvalley is already a global hub for knowledge and innovation in food and agriculture, including in the field of sustainability and climate change. Knowledge and innovation, the power of Foodvalley, will become the key to success in food and agriculture in the coming decades. Within 10 years we want to triple the number of R&D companies in the region. "
By focusing on Foodvalley as a global hub for knowledge and innovation, Gelderland is strengthening the business climate in the region, making the region more attractive for organizations and talent. The government, companies, knowledge institutions, municipalities and the province of Gelderland are working together to make Foodvalley a success.
“We already have a lively ecosystem in the region with many active and involved parties. But if we want to achieve the set goals on new themes, improved collaboration is needed. Otherwise we miss a great opportunity as a region and as the Netherlands. That means that we have to work together in a different way within the ecosystem. More focus, more mutual coordination. Clearer message, therefore, and focus. "
In anticipation of the regional deal that the government is going to conclude with various regions in the Netherlands, a delegation from the Lower House visited the FoodValley. The working visit started at a poultry farm in Ede. Here the unique collaboration in the FoodValley was highlighted from the Poultry Expertise Center. In addition, innovations in the agricultural sector were discussed.
The second stop of the visit was Gelderse Vallei Hospital. An agricultural transition also involves a transition from the food system (with an eye to food consumption) and the central role of the consumer in this. Alliance Food in Health Care explained the local prevention agreement and the importance of tailor-made food in health care in order to speed up the recovery with the right nutrients tailored to each person.
The afternoon was concluded at the World Food Center, which discussed how the WFC Experience can contribute to the transition to healthier and more sustainable consumption. The WUR, Aeres VMBO / MBO and LTO also joined this conversation.
On the photo fltr: Jelle Maas (WUR), Sebastiaan Berendse (WUR), Hans Maljaars (SGP), Fije Visscher (LTO), Leon Meijer (Ede), Carla Dik Faber (Christen Unie), William Moorlag (PvdA), Mark Dees (Aeres) and Tim van den Brink, (Gelderland).
During the conference “Ondernemen mee in de Regio Deal Foodvalley” about 200 entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions and governments discussed the plans, opportunities and possibilities of the Regio Deal Foodvalley. A bustling afternoon with many good ideas. Naturally, the presentation of the World Food Center also received a lot of interest.
The Regio Deal leads to a sustainable network of concrete, scalable projects in the Foodvalley region that deliver tangible results within three years. Entrepreneurs in the region, knowledge institutions and government play an important role in this: as a location for testing grounds, as a source of knowledge, as access to networks and as the inventor of innovative technologies.
On April 18, they met to meet each other, share knowledge and see how they can strengthen these plans together. These plans will be further coordinated with the government in the coming months. You will hear more soon!