Press release Top Sector T&U Innovation Prize 2022

Press release Top Sector T&U Innovation Prize 2022

Participate in the Top Sector T&U Innovation Prize and be eligible to win a €25,000 research budget and bring your innovation to the attention of the Food & Flower industry

Zoetermeer – Are you an innovative start-up or scale-up? A future maker who can contribute to the sustainability of the horticulture chain through a promising innovation? If this sounds like you, you are an ideal candidate for the 2022 Topsector T&U Innovation Prize! The 4th edition focuses on optimising the value chain: from new horticultural products that lead to higher added value and short chain concepts to closing the chain by extracting valuable reusable materials from residual flows. Registration closes on Sunday 1 May 2022.

Dutch horticulture is facing a number of challenges for the future in the area of horticultural innovation. It can, however,  be said with certainty that this applies equally to all aspects of the value chain.

The Top Sector for Horticulture & Starting Materials (Topsector T&U) invites start-ups and scale-ups that are working on a product and/or service that contributes to optimising the value chain to enter the competition. The objectives of these products and/or services include reducing costs in the chain by cutting back on the use of essential raw materials such as water and energy, closing the chain by extracting valuable materials from residual flows, or reducing food waste through the optimal preservation of quality in the value chain.

Key technologies such ICT, artificial intelligence and robotisation play an important role in each of these topics. These technologies help the horticultural industry, now and in the future, to achieve new progress on multiple fronts: in relation to science, society and the economy.

Breakthrough innovations that are of interest to the horticultural industry can also be contributed by candidates from other sectors, such as high-tech, water, agri-food, logistics, energy, retail, chemicals and the creative industry. Top Sector T&U therefore emphatically invites start-ups and scale-ups that develop a product or service with a team that is ‘cross-over’ at heart (i.e. that involves diverse disciplines, people and backgrounds, who have been working together on a solution from the very beginning) to enter the competition. The Innovation Prize is intended for start-ups and scale-ups that integrate innovative technologies into a product or service, while simultaneously contributing to the optimisation of the value chain.

The winning team will receive a voucher worth €25,000 for the further development of its solution or concept and/or the resolution of bottlenecks in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research. In addition, the winner will receive personalised guidance from a T&U innovation broker (20 hours, worth €2,500). StartLife will provide the winning team with a wildcard for its acceleration programme for agri-food technology start-ups.

Aside from the Jury Prize, an Audience Prize will also be awarded. This  consists of €1,500 plus participation in the HortiHeroes Start-up Programme, which provides access to the network, knowledge and facilities of HortiHeroes and Wold Horti Center, and will result in additional exposure. Both winners will receive media exposure worth €1,500 via KAS Magazine.

Coaching & training
Ten participants will be eligible to win a market readiness training course from World Startup, in which they will be working on their business model, strategy, marketing & sales and will, of course, obtain guidance in preparing their pitch to the jury. In addition, entrants will have the opportunity to receive project support from students through Wageningen University & Research’s Academic Consultancy Training programme.

The registration deadline is Sunday 1 May 2022 at 5 pm via the registration form on An expert jury of entrepreneurs and researchers will assess the entries and select ten finalists, who will be invited to pitch their idea before the jury.

Awards ceremony on 23 June
The presentation of the Innovation Prize will take place during the HeroFestival, to be held at the H20 Esports Campus in Purmerend on Monday 23 June. The ten nominees will pitch their innovation here before a jury of experts. During the festival, the finalists will be actively linked to entrepreneurs and innovation managers from established companies in the Food & Flower industry to collaborate on making an accelerated impact in the chain.

About IMPACT2025
Top Sector for Horticulture & Starting Materials (Topsector T&U) organises a series of activities as part of the IMPACT 2025 programme to collect ideas and get new organisations involved in translating both new and established research into concrete applications for practical use. Previous winners of the Topsector T&U Innovation Prize are: InsectSense (2021), Sigrow (2020) and Pats Drones (2019).

More information
You will find more information about the Top Sector T&U Innovation Prize on Information can also be obtained from Michiel Roelse, Operations Director of TKI T&U. He can be contacted at or on +31 6 51407623.

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