Startup Innovation Prize

We’re looking for startups that can connect Horticulture & Health in the broadest sense of the word!



The Dutch horticultural sector is facing a number of challenges affecting its own future when it comes to innovation. However, innovation is also a crucial component for a healthy future, whether it is about healthier eating or a more health-conscious living environment. Both aspects lead to improved well-being and are essential for the future. For this reason, contributions in any form that boost health are at the heart of this edition of the Innovation Prize.

  • New horticultural products (plant species, varieties, cultivation methods, etc.) that add value in terms of health.
  • Approaches and technologies aimed at extracting the essence of "health" from plants, thereby fostering the concept of green pharma.
  • Solutions and concepts that activate people to eat more plant-based food.
  • Solutions and concepts that activate people to use plants more to make the living and working environment more liveable.
  • Innovations that create extra value and are linked to health and quality of life in the plant chain (bulbs, trees, flowers, plants, vegetables or fruit).
  • Greenery in the city and living room for oxygen and well-being.

To answer these challenges, it’s essential that the horticultural sector, as a supplier of the 'plant', starts forging partnerships with other sectors such as healthcare, food, landscape design, high-tech, etc. (cross-sectoral innovations).


The startups nominated by the jury for the Innovation Prize will be given an opportunity to participate in the World Startup training programme. They will be prepared for the pitch to the jury through four workshops. and will receive training in co-creation development in partnership with horticulture companies.

Strategic Partnerships 12 October 09:00 - 14:00 Online Mathijs Koper
Customer Journey and Customer Experience 19 October 09:00 - 14:00 Online Karolien van der Ouderaa
Pitch Creation 26 October 09:00 - 14:00 Online Frank Smallegange
Pitch Practice 2 November 09:00 - 14:00 Wageningen Frank Smallegange


The award ceremony will take place in Wageningen on 9 November during a special event.


The pitches will be given on the main stage on 9 November 2023 during the ImpactT&U 2023 Event in Wageningen.


An expert jury will evaluate the entries according to the following criteria:

  • The characteristics of the approach and solution aimed at a value chain that promote:
    • New horticultural products that lead to higher added value and/or improved health.
    • Innovation in the value chain; implement product innovation so that these products improve well-being and health.
    • Products that contribute to a more liveable society
    • Innovations that contribute to the grower's earning capacity.
  • Originality and innovative nature;
  • Potential economic and social impact (sustainability and circularity);
  • Scalability (of the technology/robustness);
  • Economic & technical feasibility;
  • Implementation (how far advanced is it);
  • Team (composition, quality of the presentation).

Entries will be judged in two rounds. Participants will be shortlisted after the first round, and will have a chance of winning the jury and audience prize.


The fifth edition of this award is the result of a collaboration with Wageningen UR.
The winning startup will receive (jury):

  • A knowledge voucher worth €25,000 to further develop the solution or concept, and/or solve bottlenecks together with Wageningen UR researchers
  • Tailor-made guidance from a T&U Innovation Broker (20 hours, worth €2,500)
  • StartLife is providing a wildcard for their acceleration programme for agrifood-tech startups
  • Media exposure via KAS Magazine worth €1,500.

In addition to the jury prize, a public prize for Startups (via online voting) will also be awarded:

  • Guidance by one of the Innovation brokers of Top Sector Horticulture & Starting Materials on presenting the idea to the business community and reinforcing network links (3 days, worth €5,000).
  • Participation in the HortiHeroes Startup Programme with access to networks, knowledge, exposure and facilities via HortiHeroes and World Horti Center;
  • Media exposure via KAS Magazine worth €1,500.

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