Bioeconomy: Terra Next, the Italian accelerator of the CDP National Network, opens its third call for start-ups


Young companies with innovative solutions in the fields of Integrated Nutraceutics, Circular & Bio-Materials and Regenerative Agriculture can apply until March 8, 2024.

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The third call for start-ups of Terra Next, the acceleration programme for innovative companies and SMEs operating in the bioeconomy sector, is officially open. Terra Next is part of the CDP Venture Capital National Accelerators Network, which operates throughout Italy with the aim of supporting the growth of start-ups specialising in the markets with the greatest potential, and sees the participation of Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center as co-deviser and promoter, as well as the support of Cariplo Factory, which operationally manages the programme.

The accelerator, designed on a three-year time horizon, received 263 Italian and international applications in the first two editions and selected, to date, 15 start-ups, in which it has already invested a total of €1.5 million through acceleration tickets.

The new call for innovative companies operating in the fields of Integrated Nutraceutics, Circular & Bio-Materials and Regenerative Agriculture opened on January 16th, 2024. Interested companies have until March 8th to apply on the accelerator's website: www.terranextaccelerator.com.

A maximum of 10 start-ups will be selected by the Terra Next evaluation committee (composed of promoters, advisory board and corporate partners), will benefit from an initial total investment of €750.000 and will participate in a 3-month course based in Naples, Italy, at the San Giovanni a Teduccio Campus of the "Federico II" University, during which they will have the opportunity to grow through mentorship, training, networking, and face-to-face sessions dedicated to the consolidation of the value proposition and business model, technical validation and prototyping of solutions, go-to-market support, and fundraising.

The accelerator, which benefits from the patronage of the Ministry for the Environment and Energy Security and was also launched with the support of the Fondazione con il Sud, involves the corporate partners Pastificio Garofalo (core partner), Getra Group, Nestlé Group and Novamont, which provide their contribution in terms of know-how, assets and network for the development of the start-ups, and the companies Aristea, Nolanplastica, Selepack and Tecno, members of Terra Next. The programme also includes the involvement of scientific partners, such as the "Federico II" University of Naples, the Campania Digital Innovation Hub, the Italian Circular Bioeconomy Cluster SPRING, the deep tech innovation centre Materias, and the study centre S.R.M. - Studi e Ricerche per il Mezzogiorno.

Thanks to the collaboration with these partners and the possibility of making contact with additional investors, the selected start-ups will be able to create synergies with industrial players in the bio-economy sector and with venture capital funds interested in entering their capital. Last year, for example, the Terra Next start-ups had the opportunity to participate in BIAT, the Innovation and High Technology Exchange, organised precisely on the San Giovanni a Teduccio campus, in the days following Demo Day.

Many of the start-ups that participated in the programme have already proven their worth in the market, attracting further investment. Such as, for example, Relicta - an innovative start-up that has developed a water-soluble, biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging made from processing waste from the fishing industry, which closed a €500,000 investment round by Scientifica Venture Capital, Terra Next and Vertis SGR, through the Venture 3 Technology Transfer fund. Or ExoLab Italia - a company that has developed a system to use plant nanovesicles from organic fruit and medicinal plants for food supplementation, cosmetics and drug-delivery, which has seen a co-investment by Terra Next and Scientifica Venture Capital, a fund that invests in start-ups exclusively with a scientific theme, for a total of €300,000.

By virtue of the activities carried out over the past two years, Terra Next is among the organisations selected by the Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival to organise a satellite event of the initiative, scheduled to take place in Brussels on March 11-17th, 2024. The Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival, promoted by the European Commission, in collaboration with the Bioeconomy Youth Ambassadors, aims to involve young people as "engines of change" in order to gather new perspectives to address the multiple European challenges in the bioeconomy.