Start-ups in agriculture/food come fourth in terms of population in the National Register – Elevate Greece and the goal of the Ministry of Development and Investment is, more effectively, link the agricultural economy and production with research and entrepreneurship, combined with use of new innovative technologies.
A targeted network of support policies for start-up agri-food companies is already being studied, outside urban centers, through Elevate Greece and regional planning, while as Deputy Minister of Development and Investment Christos Dimas underlines in his statements to AMNA state news agency, there are many examples of Greek and large-scale agreements with international companies. “Our goal is to create a better environment so that more innovative ideas can evolve into sustainable businesses.”
According to the data, 39 start-up agri-food companies have been included in the register, with more than 227 employees, the total funding they have received from investment funds exceeds 15.45 million euros and the dominant technology they choose is the Internet of Things.
“The primary sector in Greece has all the conditions to become one of the key drivers of economic growth,” said Dimas, adding: in the coming decades and in order not to be overtaken by developments we will have to invest in the field of research and innovation “.
The “profile” of the companies that have joined the Elevate Greece platform, shows that the business model chosen by the companies dealing with agro-technology, is B2B at a rate of over 49%, while on the contrary the B2G model chooses 6 % of businesses. Meanwhile B2C is chosen by 21% of companies and B2B2C by 23%.
The predominant source of financing for companies are Equity (self-financing) with the next option being grants, while lending is the last option.
The most common revenue model is service subscriptions along with charges per product sale and regarding the penetration of new technologies in the field of agri-food, the main technologies used by companies are the Internet of Things (Internet of Things), modern software, such as and large-scale data analysis. They are followed by robotics, cloud computing, drones, financial technologies, imaging, networks, etc.
On the occasion of the presentation of data, the Undersecretary noted: “The most effective connection of scientific research and specialized knowledge with agricultural production and the primary sector is a very large wager but also a challenge that will not only have an economic impact, but also a social and environmental footprint “.
Cooperation of Elevate Greece with the regions
From the mapping of the ecosystem of start-ups, as stated by the Deputy Minister, an important element that emerges from the mapping of the ecosystem is the need to strengthen the businesses operating in the region.
Specifically, Mr. Dimas noted: “The distribution of 47% of start-ups in the agri-food sector in the Attica region is an element that concerns us, as the development of the Greek economy is not an issue that concerns only urban centers, but the whole of Greece. A targeted policy grid is already being studied, through the cooperation of Elevate Greece with the regions in order to strengthen the start-ups, which are located outside the urban centers and are employed in the primary sector “.
In addition, as Mr. Dimas underscored, the General Secretariat for Research and Innovation is planning for the new NSRF important actions aimed at development in specific thematic areas. The agri-food sector remains one of the main pillars of the Smart Specialization Strategy (RIS3) and the new NSRF 2021-2027 with the aim of connecting the primary sector more effectively with research and innovation.
More effective connection of agricultural economy with research and use of new innovative technologies
On the occasion of the data on the participation of agri-food in the platform of Elevate Greece, and the question of APE-MPE if Greece can innovate by utilizing new technology and research in agricultural production or just continue the traditional business in the field of agriculture, the Deputy Minister stated:
“Undoubtedly, our country has fertile land, rich sunshine, ideal climatic conditions with rare flora and fauna, in order to develop its agricultural economy and production. What has not been done to date, however, to the extent that we can, is to link agricultural agriculture and production more effectively with research and entrepreneurship, combined with the use of new innovative technologies. The goal is to upgrade the quality of products, increase agricultural income and of course increase the GDP of the primary sector.
Greece has the privilege of having exceptional research and business talent which we must equip with the right tools in order to make the domestic innovation ecosystem more internationally competitive. There are many examples of Greek start-ups that achieve great investment results and large-scale agreements with international companies. Our goal is to create a better environment for more innovative ideas to evolve into sustainable businesses.
The most effective connection of scientific research and specialized knowledge with agricultural production and the primary sector is a very large wager, but also a challenge that will not only have an economic impact, but also a social and environmental footprint. It is a fact that some of our competitors in the agri-food sector, such as Israel, the Netherlands and other EU countries, achieve multiple acreage yields through the use of innovation and new technologies in some product varieties. If we want to be internationally competitive, we must make the best use of the potential of our specialized human resources and the tools that now exist in research, technology and the innovation ecosystem.
We design the tools so that we can achieve an integrated approach to the management of agricultural activity, which utilizing new technologies and scientific-research knowledge, aims to improve productive results and causes multiple benefits to the agricultural crop, but also to the environment. The development of this project can make the Greek primary sector one of the protagonists in the European market and beyond “.
Collaboration of start-ups and research ecosystem
The invitation of the NSRF “Research-Create-Innovate” in which 216 projects are implemented, has the largest participation of projects in the implementation (~ 21%) of total expenditure, public and private, 127.9 million euros. Of these, agri-food concerns the following:
– 7 Cooperative Innovation Formations (Innovation Clusters) in the field of agri-food have been approved for implementation
– 2 Competitiveness Centers in the field of agri-food have been approved. The Skills Centers, having the necessary infrastructure and know-how, have as their main purpose the support of innovation in key sectors of the Greek economy, through the provision of specialized / innovative services / products and the transfer of technology to companies, especially in small and medium enterprises.
“There is a brilliant field of cooperation of start-ups with the Research Ecosystem of the country (Agricultural Universities, ELGO Dimitra, departments of Polytechnic Schools, etc.)” as the Deputy Minister stated.
Elevate Greece: 523 startups with over 4,800 employees
Finally, Mr. Dimas noted that, until recently, the Greek state did not have a clear definition of which companies are considered as start-ups, nor was there an evaluation and monitoring mechanism. “This gap was filled by the establishment of the National Register of Start-ups Elevate Greece. In the one year since its creation and operation, 523 start-ups have been registered, which employ more than 4,800 employees. In other words, for the first time in Greece we have a clear and mapped picture of the innovation ecosystem at the level of start-ups and thus the State has the ability to design policies tailored to the needs of the ecosystem “.
He added: “The state has in its hands an essential tool through which it provides specialized incentives to start-ups. More specifically, tax deductions have been legislated for angel investors, a favorable institutional framework for stock options, their free promotion on the Elevate Greece platform and at the TIF, and even NSRF actions to enhance their liquidity (“Support Start-up of the National Register “Elevate Greece” for the treatment of the pandemic Covid-19 “). At the same time, through Elevate Greece there is access to a wide network of official supporters from banks and multinational companies that provide cash prizes, specialized banking products, access to global innovation networks, free cloud services as well as mentoring and much more.”