Food System innovators – Come join the Germinator programme for coaching, networking and piloting!

Germinator’s sponsor-mentor companies in 2022-2023 include Raisio, Valio and Lantmännen.

We all need them. New solutions that make our ways of producing, distributing and consuming food more sustainable. That’s why Viikki Food Design Factory is calling all teams with potential food system transforming innovations to apply to the Germinator pre-incubator programme by the 31st of: Apply at this link.

The entry pitchings to the Germinator will take place in mid June and the programme starts in August.

Germinator provides the selected teams a rapid learning curve in how to develop a sustainability enhancing invention into a product or service to the agrifood sector. This happens through coaching and training by the VFDF’s coaches-in-residence Reetta Kivelä and Laura Forsman, networking with the sector professionals and investors, peer-2-peer sparring in the workshops, and testing and piloting in VFDF’s own facilities as well as in other relevant facilities and labs arranged for the teams via the programme.

This is the second time VFDF organizes the Germinator programme, which received a 4.4 out of 5 score from the teams in the first batch. The setup of the programme has been slightly developed, but the key aspects appreciated by the teams last time around are of course kept, including coaching form the hands-on food business professionals, connections to investors, potential customers and partners, and of course pitching experience on the Y Science stage at the official side event at Slush in November. Read more about the teams and their experiences in last season’s Germinator batch here (at the bottom of the page) and of each team separately here: Compact Growth, Mäsli, Natinrec, OleoFlow

As previously, one important value in the Germinator is provided by the programme’s sponsor-mentor companies, who operate as mentors for selected teams. The first sponsor-mentors announced for the Germinator programme 2022-2023 so far are Raisio, Valio and Lantmännen.

- We at Raisio – the home of Beanit / Härkis, Benecol & Elovena – are excited to continue as sponsor-mentors in Viikki Food Design Factory’s Germinator programmes for the second consecutive year. We want to build a more sustainable plant based food system. There is no better day for that than today so join the programs and let’s work on it together!, tells Heli Töykkälä, New Business Manager from Raisio.

- We joined as a sponsor-mentor to the Germinator and Pre-Germinator programs at Viikki Food Design Factory, as we see this as a unique opportunity in Finland to support the work of the university's research groups and students innovating new solutions. It is to the advantage of the whole industry if the results of research can be commercialized, and thus new innovations can be created. In addition, it is always inspiring to hear and learn from the scientist and know them better, says Harri Kallioinen, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, from Valio.

- Viikki Food Design Factory is a very exciting collaboration opportunity for Lantmännen in many ways! We believe that many of the future breakthrough innovations will take place in interaction between the different players in the food ecosystem. Therefore we want to foster connections between start-ups and our different functions, and to gain new insights, thinking and capabilities in the entire ecosystem. Viikki’s program provides just the perfect conditions for all of this - that’s why we join the program now for the second year!! Excited to see what this year’s program brings along!, says Nina Tuomikangas, Project Manager Innovation from Lantmännen Group R&D.

Other partners engaged in the programme are Nordic Food Tech VC, Paulig’s corporate VC PINC, Founder Institute’s Food Accelerator and University of Helsinki's Helseed investor team. Viikki Food Design Factory also collaborates with other startup actors in the Germinator programme, including the other Incubators at the Helsinki university, EIT Food Accelerator, Urban Tech Helsinki and ArcticStartup.