Nina Meijers of Rabobank’s FoodBytes! and Claire Schlemme of Renewal Mill are joining us to talk about building 21st century food businesses. We’re talking to Nina and Claire side by side to understand how FoodBytes supports innovation and the opportunity for entrepreneurs. It’s a conversation on the diversity of ideas, technology, and products that characterize future food enterprises, the collaborations that enable innovation, and how the Covid crisis is accelerating the pace of change.
As one of the largest banks in the world and a global leader in food and agriculture lending, Rabobank has a clear interest in ensuring we get out ahead of global food security challenges. FoodBytes! is Rabobank’s innovation arm, bringing together startups, large companies and investors through Pitch, a startup discovery platform, and Pilot, a corporate innovation program. Renewal Mill, a FoodBytes alum, captures and upcycles the large volumes of food production by products into pantry staples and value-added foods. Renewal Mill is our case study to learn how the journeys of FoodBytes! alumni weave together through peer collaborations, and opportunities to pilot projects with large industry players.
Our conversation explores how both of these organizations are taking on the Covid crisis full throttle, and what they are learning in the process. Their number one takeaway: Covid has exposed the pre-existing fissures in our food system. The need to address food accessibility, shorten supply chains, and decrease food loss is visible to all, providing a mandate to build a better system. We’re talking about adapting sales channels and strategies, fundraising, and fresh insights on the factors prompting consumers to try new products. And explore how FoodBytes! is plunging boldly into taking their Pitch program virtual, redesigning to engage a global audience and create substantive connection.
For those of you itching to take action, FoodBytes! Pitch is accepting applications through August 10. We’re talking about the opportunities for entrepreneurs--with Claire’s advice on how to navigate the process-- the ways investors and major companies can engage, and the kinds of future food businesses to expect coming out of this forum.
** This article has been sourced from the FS6 community for the purpose of educating readers on the topic of food system change. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Food System 6.
FS6 is a nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to support impact-driven entrepreneurs as they transform how we grow, produce, and distribute food. The organization runs a comprehensive accelerator program that mentors entrepreneurs by coaching them through a wide range of business and organizational needs. FS6 also works to educate stakeholders on the unique capital needs as it relates to redefining the food system.