For the fourth year in a row, the Growth Train accelerator has attracted promising companies from both Denmark and overseas to the international Fast Track program, which kicked off Monday, the 26th of October. Seven weeks of workshops, sparring and networking awaits the companies that made it far in the process.
Innovative and sustainable companies with focus on food and agriculture. “This year we invited companies from 8 different countries to participate in ur Fast Track program,” according to Christiane Paaske-Sørensen, Head and Program Manager of Growth Train. “We chose them based on their current business models and results, as well as their potential for growth. Moreover, we looked at companies that had focus on sustainability in their processes, services and products.
A stepping stone for global growth
On of the participants, Michel Wettstein, CEO of Nature Foods from Latvia that produces plant-based, protein-rich drinks, has big expectations in these coming seven weeks.
“I wish to learn a lot about the natural ecosystems, the growers and farming side of the region. I wish for inspiring & fruitful discussions and problem solving sessions between all of the program participants. At the same time, I wish to bring my Startup to the next level and prepare it for the future and all the necessary next milestones it has to reach. I believe, including partners & stakeholders we actively can transform the food system together to a good, healthy, socially correct and sustainable future”, he shares.
Another participant is the Hungarian bio company, Agrova, which was established in 2003 and experienced success that they now want to take to other markets.
“By participating in the Fast Track program, Agrova hopes to gain expertise on how to become a successful company abroad, since they already have become a successful and acknowledged market leader in Hungary. Agrova is also being present in the neighboring markets and now aims to expand its business abroad. With the help of this program, besides getting better knowledge on Danish market, they wish to set up a profound and convincing business plan which enlightens both the ecological and the financial advantages of their products, thus spreading the soil friendly attitude in the agricultural sector,” according to Szilvia Palakovics, head of international relations at Agrova.
Around 100 companies applied to the program this year. Numbers have been higher in previous years but due to the limitation placed by COVID-19, Growth Train primarily focused on companies from Europe. “Earlier we had a high volume of applicants outside the EU, but we needed to narrow down our focus during the recruitment period so that there was a better chance for the companies to get into Denmark. All participants comply to the guidelines set forth by the Danish authorities regarding entry into the country, and they all must show proof of negative corona tests. “, Christiane Paaske-Sørensen emphasizes.
Synergies with local companies
“As with the recent cohorts, we aim to connect the participating companies with local companies to create synergies that benefit both. One of the core elements in the program is bringe new knowledge and inspiration to our local companies and the startup ecosystem,” says Christiane Paaske-Sørensen.
Then next seven weeks will bring professional sparring, lecturing and networking to participants who braved the elements to attend the program. On December 10th, the companies will pitch to a panel of investors, potential partners and clients as well as key stakeholders who will put a critical eye on their pitch.
A disruptive accelerator
“The past three years of running the program has been a steep learning curve for us. We have built up knowledge and insight into the challenges that face not only local food and agtech companies, but also those in other markets. With the sudden challenges that COVID-19 has brought us, we made a decision to take a more operational approach with out lectures, workshops and mentor sparring – everything is more cohesive than it has ever been.
But the end goal is still the same: to create robust, sustainable companies that have a lasting impact socially, financially and environmentally,” Christiane Paaske-Sørensen shares.
The Fast Track Cohort 2020:
AGROVA (Phylazonit™) – Hungary
GREENJOY STRAW – Vietnam
HERMES SMART CONTROL – Spain
HONEYFLOW – Nigeria/USA
KORA AGRILAB – Spain
NATURE FOODS – Latvia
ÖSELBIRCH – Estonia
SEATRIENTS – Sweden/The Caribbean
Read more about the companies here: growth-train.dk/fasttrack2020/