Italy’s Agri Food-tech sector gets a boost with the launch of the Verona Agri Food Innovation Hub
The Hub will integrate the activity of FoodSeed, the accelerator Foodtech programme of CDP Venture Capital Sgr’s national network, recently launched in partnership with Eatable Adventures.
“Stimulate a culture of innovation in the agri-food sector and establish a strong, sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem” is the purpose of the Verona Agrifood Innovation Hub, whose memorandum of understanding was presented and signed on Saturday, March 18th at Veronafiere Congress Centre. This groundbreaking initiative is poised to become the strategic hub for the development of agrifood in Italy, serving as a critical meeting point for entrepreneurs, experts, and researchers to exchange ideas and collaborate on the latest advances in the industry.
At the heart of the Verona Agrifood Innovation Hub is a commitment to promote and disseminate knowledge of the most advanced solutions in the agri-food sector. With a focus on creating strategic connections between all industry players, the Hub is dedicated to relaunching sustainable growth in the sector while upholding ethical principles and enhancing the excellence of the Italian supply chain. This is essential in light of the unprecedented challenges posed by the current international context and the climate crisis.
“Today’s achievement represents a significant milestone for the Verona ecosystem, the development of venture capital, and for its role as an enabler in the technological innovation of production chains,” commented Economy and Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti in the message sent to the event – “Start-ups are key drivers for transformation and modernization processes within mature economies like Italy’s”.
The initiative is supported by a broad partnership of public and private players – Fondazione Cariverona, UniCredit, the Municipality of Verona, Veronafiere, Confindustria Verona, the University of Verona, Cattolica Assicurazioni and Eatable Adventures (which will operationally manage the structure) – and strategically complements the activities of FoodSeed, the start-up accelerator of the National Accelerators Network CDP Venture Capital Sgr financed with over 15 million euros, promoting the growth of young companies specializing in high-potential markets.
The Verona Agrifood Innovation Hub aims to foster entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector, creating high-quality employment opportunities and driving sustainable, long-term growth. The development catalyzed by this new structure is expected to have positive effects on the entire system, both locally and nationally, and will contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the Italian industry.
According to Minister Giorgetti, “the strength of the agro-food sector is a source of pride, but it is important to always look for ways to take a step forward, and this is where the propulsive effect of new companies and innovations can add value: Verona, one of the leading industrial areas in Europe, can serve as a model to be emulated, thanks to an ecosystem that is poised to embrace the opportunities that are being built”.
To achieve its objectives, the Verona Agrifood Innovation Hub will pursue four lines of action. Firstly, it will establish an ecosystem that brings together and collaborates with enterprises, SMEs, research centers, universities, and citizens with shared food-related interests. Secondly, it will publish periodic reports containing relevant information on the agrifood market to stimulate the emergence of new startups and encourage technology adoption. Thirdly, networking events and collaborative activities involving all stakeholders will be organized to find original solutions to major challenges facing the sector. Lastly, educational projects will be launched to foster tech entrepreneurship, especially among the younger generation. The hub will offer a wide range of activities, all of which will be accessible to startups free of charge.
The latest figures confirm that Italy is poised to take the lead in technological innovation in the agri-food sector, not just locally but also globally. According to the Smart AgriFood Observatory, the Crop 4.0 market was worth approximately EUR 2.1 billion in 2022, representing a remarkable growth of 31% over the previous year. Investments that aim to accelerate the technological transition are also substantial: according to the Venture Capital Monitor of the Liuc Business School, deals closed by venture capital funds in the in agrifoodtech approached 270 million euros over the two-year period of 2020-2021, while last year, the sector ranked among the top in terms of the amount of resources invested.