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Online Agrifood STARTUP Pitch Battle for the participants in Empowering Women in Agrifood - EWA Bulgaria 2021


On  04th November,  RAPIV organised STARTUP Pitch Battle - competition for the startups, participating in Programme Empowering Women in Agrifood - EWA Bulgaria 2021, which gave opportunity to some of the most talented women-entrepreneurs in agrifood to present their business projects and to receive financial support for the development of their ideas.
 
The 10 women entrepreneurs, participating in the contest, have gone through a tailored training and mentoring programme, aimed at the realisation of their business ideas: pilot project  for Soil farm,  online platform for connecting farmers with consumers, growing almonds, production and packaging of cold pressed seed-oils, healthy blackcurrent products, using authentic recepies,  factory for production of honey, training center for shared urban composting, new organic product "sunny pate", production of bio-dried tomatoes, family farm "Sunny Garden".
 
Each of the 10  participants had   5 minutes to convince  the jury and the audience of special guests, investors and media in the potential of her business venture and another 5 minutes to answer all questions.
 
Business projects were evaluated by criteria like innovativeness, potential for market realisation, skills and experience of the entrepreneur, social, econoic and environmental impact. 
 
The culmination of the event was the official ceremony for announcing the results by the jury and the award ceremony. 
 
First place and the 10 000 euro prize was awarded to  Ilona Angelova and her project  for Farm for soil – Terralife. Second place and the 5000 Euro prize went to Neda Kirilova with her project  Lichen Fermer (lichenfermer.bg) -  online platform with the aim to connect the consumers with farmers and agricutural producers.
The special prize of RAPIV went to Valeri Konicheva, who ranked third with her idea for factory for processing of honey and starting own brand - Geo’s Honey. 
 
During the jury meeting, an Information event was held for introducing EWA Bulgaria 2021 Programme of  EIT Food and other initiatives for support of women entrepreneurs and startups in agrifood, implemented by  EIT Hub Bulgaria,  Bulgarian Entrepreneurship Centre, Women Entrepreneurship Centre  (WOMEN IN BUSINESS project). District Information Point Varna and the Institute for Agrostrategies and Innovations  presented EU funding opportunities, suitable for implementation of projects of women entrepreneurs in agrifood sector.  

   

Here is what each of the participants shared during their presentation:
 
1. Ana Racheva, Family farm „Sunny Garden“:  
The COVID pandemic turned us from successful retailers in potentially unemployed. This is how I came up with the idea for family farm “Sunny garden” for environmentally friendly production of seedlings and vegetables through the application of biological plant protection products. Our customers are already more than 200 households. 

2. Valeri Konicheva, Geo’s Honey: 
I achieved the following success during my participation in the program: I participated in practical on-site training in a honey factory at the invitation of my mentor Todorka Dimitrova.
I got familiar with the production processes in the factory, presented by the chief technologist and the requirements for packaging the finished products. I exchanged experience with beekeepers from 5 countries.
An article was published in agri.bg with nearly 7,000 readings, thanks to another participant in the program.
Thanks also to RAPIV for the trainings, which helped me a lot! 

3. Eli Manolova: 
My idea is to produce organic dried tomatoes. The innovative element is the recipe itself as well as the way my product is promoted. I will promote that the tomatoes are organically produced and that they are produced in Bulgaria, which guarantees the unique taste. 
 
4. Lyuba Nikolova: Viki trade 2008  Ltd
I chose the production and trade of cold pressed oils because the production is waste-free and the products are broad-spectrum.
To increase the added value of our products, we decided to create a food supplement.
We researched the market, we also researched the distribution chains and we decided to create a food supplement that would help the immune system and the respiratory tract.
 
5. Ilona Angelova: project Farm for soil, start-up Terra life
Our mission is to restore soils and strengthen their sustainable management. The EWA program has given us an incredible impetus for development.
Since entering the program, we have taken our first external funding, and we are also in talks with Sofia Municipality to conduct experiments on the territory of their biowaste treatment plant. During the program, we also changed the original business model, as we saw, thanks to our mentor Maria, that our added value is the technology, not the production itself.
We plan to find a partner for the purely production process and this will help achieve our mission on a larger scale to restore the soil.

6. Madlen Zasheva  -  Training and consultancy centre for soils “PochvoTvorilnitsa”
Our idea is to create an Advisory and Information Center for soils and compost with our own compost gardens for demonstration and our own laboratory.
In the course of the EWA program, we developed wooden and ceramic composters with local manufacturers to replace plastic composting buckets.
We also organise trainings for community composting.
We have a Facebook group with over 2,000 members, and since the beginning of the EWA program, our followers have increased by 200-300 people.
With the support of the program, we are also preparing the publication of a children's colouring book "The worm book", which we plan to publish before International Soil Day.
 
7. Mila Mincheva – ETNO, “sunny pate”
As agricultural producers, we are faced with the purchase of our agricultural products below its cost.
The solution is a 'level to table' approach, creating a value-added product, closing the production cycle, and shortening the supply chain to the end customer.
So, with the help of my mentor Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gergana Slavova, I decided to create a completely new product "sunny pate" - sunny because the main raw material used is peeled sunflower seeds own production.              
 
8. Neda Kirilova –  online platform Lichen fermer 
The production of small and medium farms is not visible to potential consumers.
We found the solution in creating a platform for a sustainable relationship between consumers and producers of farm food, preceding the actual market.
During the EWA program, we focused on building a brand. We built our communication channels and created our media lichenfermer.bg
Under the EWA program, we apply for funding for market penetration and development.
We plan to create free brands and marketing campaigns for 8 farmers, turn them into loyal customers and build a portfolio for our business.

9. Silviya Ivanova –  Darovete na Balkana 
This year, thanks to my participation in the EWA Bulgaria 2021 program, I gained knowledge and skills that helped me a lot.
We have expanded the range of blackcurrant products suitable for people with health problems.
Thanks to my participation in the project and the acquired knowledge and guidelines, we have a Facebook page "Darovete na Balkana", which enjoys great interest.
My collaboration with the other participants in the program is also very useful - Madlen and I exchanged experiences on the technology of composting blackcurrant leaves.
Thanks to the article that another participant in the program - Neda Kirilova wrote, my products are very popular.
 
10. Silviya Kostadinova – Bademite Ltd
The EWA program helped me a lot with marketing and presentation. What we had no experience in was how to sell.
The most valuable thing I learned from the program is how to present myself and how to make our product popular - by creating an online store, by creating a Facebook page, website and first steps in sales.
With the help of my mentor, we protected the intellectual property of our logo, which also contains our message of healthy food and healthy living.
 
All pitches of the participants in the Agrifood Startup Pitch Battle  can be watched in our YouTube channel: 
 
https://youtu.be/V8tZncjw_4E 

 





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