Sustainability key to Kickstart programme

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Food waste and sustainability were central themes at the Food & Retail Tech segment of this year's Kickstart innovation programme

Kickstart, one of Europe’s leading innovation platforms, which aims to “bridge the gap between startups, corporates, cities, foundations and universities to accelerate deep tech innovation”, has revealed that food waste and sustainability feature significantly in this year’s Innovation programme.

Each year, Kickstart brings approximately 100 entrepreneurs to Switzerland to collaborate with key players for proofs of concepts, pilot projects and other innovation partnerships. The programme is free of charge for selected growth ventures and it provides “exceptional access to the executives and decision-makers of Kickstart’s partners”, says the organiser.

Kickstart is a spin-off of Impact Hub Zürich and was initiated in 2015 by digitalswitzerland. It started as a startup accelerator for early-stage startups and has recently developed into a B2B program fostering innovation through collaboration between later-stage startups and established corporations and organisations.

Food & RetailTech

The 2020 programme, bringing together big corporates and innovative scale-ups “to develop proofs of concepts that enable new ways of doing business”, will see collaborations take place across six key verticals: Food & RetailTech , Smart City & Technology, Circular Economy, EdTech & New Work, FinTech & InsurTech and HealthTech.

Highlights include:

  • 48 partnerships and Proofs of Concepts have been announced, developed together over the last ten weeks in spite of the challenging environment
  • The programme provides an unusual snapshot of how companies are thinking about the future in the midst of COVID 19
  • UK start-up Greendeck has developed a Proof of Concept with Coop, one of Switzerland’s largest retailers to help it improve its pricing and promotions
  • Food sustainability and waste reduction were the focus for five of the partnerships announced:
    • The City of Zurich and Prognolite consider to collaborate in a joint PoC to reduce food waste at the City Hospital Triemli (location Triemli)
    • Coop and Boost Biomes, alongside Knup, are working on a research project to test how long Boost’s biofungicide product can extend the shelf-life of strawberries
    • Vyv and Migros-Industry are evaluating the efficacy of antimicrobial lighting on food production premises
    • Migros-Industry, the farmer’s organisation IP Suisse and Boost Biomes are testing a new and innovative biological active ingredient – as a replacement for chemical-synthetic fungicides – in potato
    • In the scope of a pilot project, Coop and Prognolite intend to join forces to reduce food waste and optimise staff planning in the Coop restaurants.

“This year many companies were challenged to change their operating processes and digitalise applications in a very short time. The partnerships established this year indicate that transforming processes early on using digital and other innovative solutions is a competitive advantage. For this purpose, large companies are increasingly interested in collaborating with high-growth start-ups,” explains Katka Letzing, co-founder and CEO of Kickstart Innovation.

Further details:

For more information, or to speak to Kickstart, please visit