Up to €500,000 to support the most promising innovators: the Agrofood BIC accelerator issues its first call for ideas

Details and application process at www.agrofoodbic.it


5 August 2020 – Agrofood BIC S.r.l. (Business Innovation Center), an open multi-company innovation hub which has operated at national and international level since January 2019 to identify and take advantage of valuable business opportunities, promotes its first international Agrofood BIC Call  for Ideas (value: up to €500,000) to support 5 teams, spin-offs or start-ups in the nutrition and health and new sustainable packaging sectors.


The goal of the call is to transform the high innovative potential of youths, students and researchers who believe they have a winning idea into genuine ventures. Agrofood BIC S.r.l. will support youths and promising start-ups in turning their ideas into concrete business initiatives, helping them to deal with all organisational, operational and strategic difficulties; it will promote relationships between new businesses, the working world and investors, combining incubation/acceleration services with specific skills aimed at launching the business concept on the market; it will support the initial development of spin-offs and start-ups by providing them with pilot facilities, R&D support, business development services, marketing and accounting assistance, mentoring from professionals and consultants, access to networks in the business and credit world, as well as dedicated offices, shared spaces and IT equipment.


The call is focused on two areas and sectors:


  • Nutrition and Health to respond to the growing demand among consumers for nourishing and tasty food that fulfils specific health requirements, with special focus on organic and functional foods, also DNA-based, dietary supplements, nutraceuticals and alternatives to sugar.
  • Innovative Packaging Solutions, with a focus on smart packaging, which provide valuable information, guaranteeing better quality food with longer shelf lives, particularly on long journeys, and sustainable packaging solutions which take account of important parameters like recyclability, reuse and biodegradability.

Applications can be submitted via the online system at www.agrofoodbic.it. The closing date for submissions is 27 September 2020. 

An initial selection made by a committee consisting of all of the founding companies of Agrofood BIC (Granarolo, Camst, Conserve Italia, Eurovo, Ima, Gellify) will be followed by a direct examination of the project.

The list of selected projects which will be the subject of investments and business programmes will be published by December 2020.


“Despite this difficult period for the business world, we have decided to proceed with the Agrofood BIC Call for Ideas. In this way we aim to send out a strong message to young adults, underlining the importance we attach to promoting genuine progress founded on the values of cooperation, merit and sustainability, and also inspired by the recent European Green Deal”, commented Gianpiero Calzolari, Chairman of Agrofood Bic.


“Foodtech and Agtech are two fast-developing markets with the more traditional food value chains undergoing significant changes due to technology – changes that have also been accelerated by the impacts of COVID-19. The goals of the call reflect this state of flux, focusing on the key elements of the product and the consumer experience. Both digital technology directly and the start-up approach to innovation have shown that they can generate value very quickly with regard to these aspects, and even more so when implemented together with companies already present in the sector, like those represented by Agrofood BIC. We are looking forward to working with the Italian and international teams that submit their ideas and giving increasing impetus to these initiatives”, commented Michele Giordani, Managing Partner and founder of GELLIFY.


“Research into food and nutrition is fundamental to the development of Camst, a business active in all collective and commercial catering sectors. In order to meet the dietary needs of consumers with increasing accuracy, we believe it is essential to invest in innovation in this sector which is evolving very rapidly and, in our opinion, must find the right resources among Agrofood businesses and new growing companies with which to face the changes in the market”, commented Francesco Malaguti, Chairman of Camst.


“Conserve Italia has been investing in innovation along the agrifood supply chain for years in order to offer consumers increasingly wholesome and healthy products which are attentive to the new demands of the market. We are playing a frontline role in meeting this major challenge and are also committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products, beginning with the introduction of sustainable packaging. Ideas and contributions for development projects in this area can be very useful and we are confident of receiving many from the Agrofood BIC Call for Ideas”, explained Pier Paolo Rosetti, General Manager of the food consortium that owns the Valfrutta, Yoga, Cirio and Derby Blue brands.


“At Eurovo we firmly believe that innovation is the key factor in the development and competitiveness of the agrifood sector. Just as we believe that true innovation often stems from the creativity of talented youngsters. Investing in their futures and taking a punt on their talent is essential nowadays if we are to unearth the creative flair that the sector needs and, at the same time, offer young adults concrete professional opportunities. Eurovo boasts over 60 years of experience because in all these years it has never stopped looking forward, innovating in all areas, from the farm to the supply chain, from the creation of new products to the quality of our ingredients, also placing its trust in the enterprise and positivity of the new generations”, commented Siro Lionello, Chairman of the Eurovo Group.






Agrofood BIC S.r.l. is the result of a collaborative initiative between Granarolo S.p.A., Gellify S.r.l., Camst Soc. Coop. A r.l., Conserve Italia Soc. Coop. Agricola, Cuniola Società Agricola A r.l. and Eurovo S.r.l. The shared aim is to create a business accelerator for promising and innovative start-ups specialising in:

  • Healthy food and dietary requirements
  • Food traceability with a focus on food safety
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Food delivery (shelf life linked to the internationalisation of food products)
  • Precision agriculture

Agrofood BIC S.r.l. will support promising start-ups in the development of their business projects, combining acceleration services – helping to solve the organisational, operational and strategic difficulties often encountered by new businesses – with the specific skills and tools required to develop their business idea in the food market and overcome entry barriers. Agrofood BIC and its members will provide the start-ups with production sites, pilot systems and R&D support, as well as access to a network of contacts in the food sector that will help the entrepreneurs to significantly improve their chances of success.

Three parties will collaborate with the new Business Innovation Centre: the University of Bologna, Enea (the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and ASTER, the research and innovation company of the Emilia-Romagna Region.




The Granarolo Group, one of the leading operators in the Italian agrifood industry, is made up of two different yet synergetic companies: a cooperative of milk producers, Granlatte, which operates in the farming sector and collects raw materials, and a public limited company, Granarolo S.p.A., which transforms and markets the finished product and boasts 14 production sites in Italy, 2 in France, 3 in Brazil, 1 in New Zealand, 1 in the United Kingdom and 1 in Germany.

The Granarolo Group is therefore the largest Italian milk supply chain with the direct participation of producers associated in a cooperative. In fact, it comprises around 700 dairy farmers, a collection system with a 70-strong fleet that collects the raw material from the farms, and 740 distribution vehicles that transport 850,000 tonnes of milk per year and every day serve around 50,000 retailers where approximately 20 million Italian families buy Granarolo products.

The Group’s mission outside Italy is to export traditional Italian products, promoting dairy items.

The Group undergoes external audits by qualified international certification bodies guaranteed by the International Food Standards (IFS), the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the EU Organic Food Certification (CCPB). Since 2002 the production process has been certified according to the ISO 9001 quality management system standard.

On 31/12/2019 the Granarolo Group had over 2,700 employees. The Group is 77.48% owned by the Granlatte Consortium, 19.78% by Intesa Sanpaolo and the remaining 2.74% by Cooperlat.

In 2019 the Group generated turnover of over €1.3 billion.





GELLIFY is an innovation platform that connects high-tech B2B start-ups with traditional businesses in order to innovate their processes, products and business models.

Headquartered in Italy with offices in Spain and the United Arab Emirates, the company’s success is based on its unique model which instils companies with a blend of the most advanced B2B start-up technologies and the expertise of GELLIFY. Through its exclusive proprietary “GELLIFICAZIONE” growth programme, the platform accompanies start-ups in their development from an embryonic “gas” or “liquid” state through to a reliable and scalable “solid” state. This growth is financed through smart investments made by GELLIFY and its co-investors.

GELLIFY consists of 2 business units:

  • GELLIFY for Startups, aimed at consolidating start-ups that have already shown traction on the market; the “gellificazione” programme offers more complex services than the mentorship and basic business development programmes usually offered by incubators. The programme runs for 6-24 months and involves all aspects of the business.
  • GELLIFY for Companies, focused on open innovation services for SMEs and large corporations which wish to develop innovative new business paths. The division specialises in corporate venturing, strategies for innovation, the digitalisation of sales and marketing, industry 4.0 and digital operations, digitalisation and strengthening of the workforce.

GELLIFY’s partners for 2020: TT Tecnosistemi, a company focused on advanced IT solutions, and tax consultants Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati with partner Stefano Tronconi and Junior Partner Luca Neri.







Conserve Italia is a cooperative consortium with registered offices in San Lazzaro di Savena (BO). A leading Italian company in the food processing sector, it brings together 14,000 agricultural producers and processes over 600,000 tonnes of fruit, tomatoes and vegetables across 12 factories, with nine in Italy, two in France and one in Spain. The turnover of the Conserve Italia Group is approximately €900 million, 40% of which generated by exports. Conserve Italia employs over 3,000 permanent and seasonal workers in Italy, and markets under a number of well-established Italian brands including Cirio, Valfrutta, Yoga, Derby Blue and Jolly Colombani.




Camst, a cooperative established in Bologna in 1945, brings the quality of its food to schools, businesses, hospitals, trade fairs, shopping centres and cities in Italy and abroad (Spain, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland). The company unites traditional Italian cuisine with the innovation of a modern business as part of a constantly evolving approach, creating a business rooted in the past but with its sights set firmly on the future. In order to offers its clients a complete service, in 2017 the Camst Group expanded its services to include facility management. The Group has a total turnover of €785 million and over 16,000 employees (2019 financial statement data).





Cuniola Società Agricola A r.l., owned by the family of Alberto Vacchi, Chairman and CEO of IMA S.p.A., owns a 500-hectare farm in San Martino in the province of Ferrara.








The Eurovo Group is the European leader for the production and commercialisation of eggs and egg products. The company has been operating on the market for over sixty years and has been guided by the Lionello family since its foundation. Over time, the experience, passion and automation of processes has transformed this small company centred on manual egg-shelling into a leading entity in Europe with 10 million laying hens and 17 factories in Italy and abroad. The products of the Eurovo Group are the result of a complete and vertically integrated supply chain. The company manages all of its production phases internally, from the production of animal feed to shelling, pasteurisation and the packaging and distribution of the end products. The Group’s success derives from its constant focus on quality: its highly transparent production process, combined with the stringent controls carried out by qualified technicians, enables Eurovo to guarantee that its products meet the highest quality standards. The company produces and markets a wide range of products for the consumer and catering markets. Its brands include Naturelle, Nonna Anita, Maia, Eurovo Service, Novissime, EPS, Liot and White Force.










The University of Bologna has ancient origins: established in 1088, the institution was the first university in the western world. The university currently has 85,000 students and 219 degree courses, 70 of which are international, delivered across five campuses: Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini. It has 33 departments, 47 PhD courses, 59 specialist schools, 91 first and second level Masters’ courses and an average of 11,000 research products per year.  The University of Bologna is Italy’s leading higher education institution in terms of number of students involved in exchange programmes, both inbound and outbound.





ENEA is a public research institution whose mission is the study, innovation and transfer of advanced technologies and services to businesses, public authorities and citizens in the energy, environment and sustainable economic development sectors. It has over 2500 researchers, technology experts and admin staff at 13 research centres and large laboratories with test facilities and cutting-edge instruments for carrying out projects, studies, tests, evaluations, analyses and services. Its strengths include energy technologies, the sustainability of production and regional systems, and agroindustry. ENEA has developed a specific technology transfer project (www.kep.enea.it) to support businesses in product and process innovation for the competitiveness of the Italian economy, and is the National Agency for energy efficiency.






Art.er is the consortium company of the Emilia-Romagna region for innovation and the transfer of technologies to businesses, universities and the region.

It promotes business research as a principle driver of sustainable economic development in conjunction with growth and social welfare, collaborating with business associations to promote the development of strategies and actions combining research and business. An established innovation hub at national and international level, ARTER is working to transform Emilia-Romagna into a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable region.