There is no news that technology is re-writing multiple economy verticals, disrupting traditional sectors and thus creating new business opportunities. It is the case of the agriculture sector whose scope is to become more productive and sustainable. The last couple of years witnessed the fast adoption of new tools like data analysis, farm management software, sensing & IoT which have been important drivers for growth and development, reflected by the important increase of investment in Agritech.
But along the way of creating and developing Agritech tools, many Startups are facing the universal hurdle of getting sufficient funding. Therefore the founding teams are considering multiple financing options like business angels, VCs, bank-loans etc.
Equity-free funding for Agritech Startups
The good news is that such an important sector is always a priority for the European Commission which has developed some Programmes to financially support the Agritech.
The 7th topic of the SME Instrument
One of those is the EU SME Instrument Programme which has a dedicated topic: Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for sustainable and competitive agriculture, forestry, agri-food and bio-based sectors. A Startup could apply for any of the two phases of the Programme depending on its development status and could get from €50k to €2,5M, equity-free and non-reimbursable money. The 2017 budget was increased with €5,68M to €32,19M. More information about the SME Instrument Phase I is available here.
EUREKA – Eurostars Programme
Another funding option is the Eurostars Programme which supports research-performing SMEs / Startups which develop innovative products, processes and services to gain competitive advantage. Eurostars does this by providing funding for transnational innovation projects, the products of which are then rapidly commercialised. It applies across all market fields, including agriculture, food and forestry. More details about this programme are available here.
Romanian Competitiveness Operational Programme
Together with the funding available at EU level, there are EU funding instruments available at national or regional levels. Such an example is the Romanian Competitiveness Operational Programme which financially supports the creation and development of new tech products or services. With an allotted budget of almost €62M, this call for proposals is open to Startups and SMEs acting within key-priority domains which overlap the Agritech too. A large variety of expenses is covered by the public funding such as personnel costs, equipment acquisition, IPR etc.
Interested in more information? Contact us and we will get back to you with the answers.