In the next few years, innovative tech startups working to make our food chain more sustainable can request subordinated loans from StartLife. The loans will vary from €75,000 to €250,000. Financing is from a new fund, Startup Fund Gelderland (SFG).

Our current food supply is under pressure and traditional production systems have a very negative influence on the climate. The problem is an urgent one. By offering favorable, subordinated loans, StartLife enables young technology companies to realize innovative solutions for sustainable food production. For example, technologies that contribute to reducing greenhouse gases in agriculture, reducing waste in food chains and developing meat substitutes.

StartLife offers the risk-bearing loans in combination with professional coaching and supervision. Under the motto ‘stronger together’, startups will also have access to the knowledge and experience of prominent corporates and investors in the agriculture and food industry that are affiliated with StartLife. And of course, warm connections can be made to StartLife’s founding partner, Wageningen University & Research.

Startup Fund Gelderland

In addition to aligning with StartLife’s mission to make food systems more sustainable, companies must also have technology that is both protectable and scalable. In addition, the company must create a demonstrable economic or social impact in the province of Gelderland by being located here or carrying out part of its business activities here. This also explains why the fund is called ‘Startup Fund Gelderland’.

The fund has been set up made possible by the province of Gelderland and various supporting programs, including StartLife, and it is managed by the East Netherlands Development Agency (Oost NL). Loan applications from and the supervision of agrifood startups are handled by StartLife. Suradj Hiralal, project manager SFG at Oost NL, explains:

Our organizations have already had a successful collaboration in place for many years. StartLife has all of the knowledge and experience needed to support these startups. And by combining our (inter)national networks, we offer startups optimum support.”

From €6 million to €180 million

The loans are from a so-called ‘revolving fund’. Loans that are repaid become available again for new loans. With this system in place, StartLife expects to offer about €6 million in loans to agrifood startups in the next few years.

Jan Meiling, managing director of StartLife, pointed out that StartLife has already provided almost €8 million in loans from previous funds. And not without results.

“The startups that we support have created about 1,500 knowledge-intensive jobs and raised about 230 million in total funding. That’s a multiplier of nearly 30. And the counter is still ticking! If we project this into the future, this new fund is likely to result in an additional 180 million in economic activity in the coming years.”

Growth acceleration

Eligible startups can apply for the pre-seed loan throughout the year. Entrepreneurs who want to get the most out of StartLife’s support and its ecosystem can also register for the semi-annual acceleration program, StartLife Accelerate. The upcoming program will run from March through June. Registration is open until 1 February.