Study tour in the Netherlands: international markets and best practices

Posted on December 20, 2018

Validated business concepts of Batch 2 who are promoted to the second phase of the Agrytech Accelerator, run through a four-month acceleration period which includes workshops, clinics, talks, mentorship, up to US$16,000 in cash, and exercises that focus on product development and business development. By the end of this stage, validated business concepts transform into MVPs, go to market, and collect consumer feedback and data.

Acceleration and best practices

During this acceleration phase, Agrytech partner StartLife; a Dutch organization whose aim is to support agri-food entrepreneurs, coordinated a study tour for nine Agrytech startups between the 12th and the 16th of November. The purpose of the trip was to improve the startups’ chances of success based on the importance of exposing entrepreneurs to international markets and best practices efficiently.

The teams, including Agronline, BeSalim, Cubex, DigiMart, Foodcheck, IoTree, Quadra, RiginO, and Turista Kit met with different experts depending on their needs coupled with an intensive workshop schedule at Wageningen University.

Workshops & Activities

The workshops started with the teams joining other local startups in a half-day workshop by Jan Paul Grolle and tackled partnership design.

Maxim Amosov delivered a workshop for the teams introducing the concept of Systems Thinking. Part of the workshop, entrepreneurs worked on developing Lebanon’s agri-food Value Chain. They identified the value exchange between one another for potential business collaborations that leverage each participants’ knowledge, skills, network to create an internal system of innovation between startups. They also redeveloped the Business Model Canvas to include the Value Chain and the Value Model.

Selected participants met with Start Hub’s mentors while other participants engaged with EU entrepreneurs hosted and based in Start Hub; StartLife’s incubator. In the evening, the Start Hub organized a drinks night. During the event, the participants engaged with Start Life’s startups, mentors, experts from Wageningen University, and Start Life corporate partners.

Rachel Dibbets; a BDO representative, delivered a session on “Doing Business in & with Europe” to the participants. The workshop provided the participants with an overview of the taxes, fees, and other prerequisites to set up and operate in the Netherlands. The session also included details on corporate income taxes, VAT and the taxation system in the EU.

Marloes Groenewegen; a StartLife corporate engagement representative, introduced StartLife’s corporate partners to the participants. Q point delivered the final session for the day discussing certification, quality management systems, and EU legislation.

On their final day, startups practiced their pitching and received feedback from a panel including:

  • Jan Meiling – Managing Director of Start Life
  • Roger Van Hoesel – Managing Director of Food Valley
  • Rasit Gorgulu – CFO and Partner of Blue Ocean XLerator

Study Tour Experience

“Going on this study tour to Wageningen with Agrytech was a great experience,” explains Brian Baboch, co-founder of Food Check, “We learned a lot; we engaged with different people, mentors, experts and young entrepreneurs like us who are building their startups. Talking to each one of them gave us much knowledge. We had the opportunity to learn about corporate engagement and how to enter the European market. Overall it was a great experience that helped a lot by giving us the opportunity to connect with these people.”

In his turn, Tarek Itani, co-founder of Turista Kit confirmed: “The Agrytech study tour in Wageningen allowed us to have this European experience that we never had with Turista Kit. Positive and constructive feedback from experts and trainers gave us more motivation to finalize our MVP and move forward with our endeavor.”

On his experience, Kevin Boutros, co-founder of Quadra said: “Thinking outside the box to me means stepping outside our usual workplace and discover what others have to say and show. The Wageningen visit brought new light to the project and validation of our current methods through site visits and expert meetings.”

The third phase

The teams are preparing for the final jury session in December that will determine whether they move to the third and final stage of the program: a six-month incubation period where they will receive up to US$22,000 in matching capital to improve their startup’s traction, grow the startup’s reach, and help them secure capital.

The tour was sponsored by Sanad, Berytech and Kingdom of the Netherlands.