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Entries now open for the Vitafoods Europe Startup Innovation Challenge 2024

Article-Entries now open for the Vitafoods Europe Startup Innovation Challenge 2024

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Are you an innovative startup in the nutraceutical space? Does your product, ingredient, service, technology, or digital solution have what it takes to disrupt the industry for the better? Then apply now for the Vitafoods Europe Startup Innovation Challenge. Entries are open until 1 March.

Held at Vitafoods Europe, which runs from 14 to 16 May 2024, the Vitafoods Europe Startup Innovation Challenge offers health, wellbeing, and nutraceutical startups the chance to win a host of high-value prizes as well as unparalleled exposure and networking opportunities with key industry stakeholders at Europe’s leading nutraceutical trade show.

All relevant startups that have been active for five years or less are welcome to apply to the Vitafoods Europe Startup Innovation Challenge, and entries are open until 1 March 2024. Judging will take place on 13 May, the day before the show opens. To apply for free, click here.

Startups can apply to one or more of the first three categories: 

1. Most Innovative Finished Nutraceutical Product 

This category covers finished nutraceutical products offering innovation in ingredient composition, consumer focus, or delivery format. 

2. Most Innovative Nutraceutical Ingredient 

This category covers innovative ingredients for nutraceuticals, supplements, or functional foods and beverages that can offer scientific substantiation of their efficacy. 

3. Most Innovative Service, Technology, or Digital Solution Supporting the Nutraceutical Industry 

This category covers innovations that support improvements in ingredients sourcing and production, food safety and quality, traceability, transparency, smart packaging, supply chain management, or digital solutions supporting the nutraceutical industry. 

Most Innovative Sustainable Solution – Jury’s choice award  

The jury will award this special prize to the startup with the most sustainable innovation. All startup finalists across all categories can be considered for this award, with the winners being decided by the expert jury. Startups cannot apply specifically for this award. The startup’s overall sustainability efforts will be considered. 

A host of high-value prizes

The winners can choose from a selection of high-value prizes offered by the organisers and expert jury, including a prominently placed, in-person booth at Vitafoods Europe 2025 in Barcelona; an exclusive digital marketing package to promote their presence across the Vitafoods Global and Food Ingredients Global networks; or a selection of mentorship opportunities and specialised support programmes offered by the panel of judges.

In addition, all finalists enjoy free access to promote their innovations at Vitafoods Europe 2024 in Geneva, Europe’s biggest gathering place for nutraceutical stakeholders, as well as free stage time to pitch their company to the attendees of Vitafoods Europe 2024.

Attending Vitafoods Europe gives startups the chance to meet other innovators, investors, industry leaders, and potential clients, and the opportunity to showcase their award-winning innovation to international media.

Martyna Halas, conference producer and lead programmer of the Startup Innovation Challenge, said it was a joy to learn about the ways startups were disrupting the industry.

“We are looking forward to this year’s applications,” she added. “Together with our expert panel, we will shortlist up to 20 companies who will pitch live in front of the jury on 13 May in Geneva. The finalists will also present their innovations on 14 May on stage at Vitafoods Europe, after which we’ll announce the lucky winners. Entries close on 1 March 2024, so don’t delay in sending us your application!”

Still not sure whether you should apply?

Testimonials from previous winners demonstrate the value that startups can reap from taking part in the Challenge – even if they don’t scoop up first prize.

Dr Sabina Bruehlmann, CEO of Nimble Science, which was selected as the most innovative nutraceutical ingredient in 2023, said: “Immediately following the pitch, we were able to engage in some interesting conversations, [and] after winning, we were able to walk the exhibition floor and engage in a broad range of meaningful conversations. To this day, we meet new customers and partners who mention that they first learned about us from the Challenge at Vitafoods.

“The Challenge provided benefits during the pitching selection process [through] the feedback from an esteemed and informed panel of judges, and the pitch on the floor was well attended and marketed. The team at Vitafoods does an exceptional job of supporting and promoting the participants both before and after the Challenge.”

To send in your application for free, click here.