General questions about the challenge

Project holders from all over the world can submit their projects as long as they meet the following conditions:

  • Have an entrepreneurial project or an innovative business model related to one of our privileged sectors (agriculture, food, biomass)
  • Present a business plan that can be evaluated by the jury
  • Present a materialized idea, or even a prototype or a «minimum viable product» (we do not finance projects that are still in the idea phase, nor pure scientific research)
  • Have a team, as well as the skills that best cover the main functions
  • Have an idea, a product or a concept with a strong market potential and possibly the ability to create jobs
  • You should be interested in developing business from Switzerland

Biomass may be defined as degradable plant or animal organic matter, which may also be derived from the by-products of food processing and agricultural activities. The circular bioeconomy and the valorization of biomass are particularly promising sectors for the canton of Fribourg - R & D skills exist, the raw material exists and the potential for collaboration and value creation is particularly strong.

Jury members will evaluate and select projects (for both programs) based on the criteria listed below.

  • Degree of Innovation & feasibility
  • Degree of sustainability
  • Market potential
  • Job creation potential
  • Team & skills

The "global" sustainability of the project will be an important factor for project selection; long-term sustainability of the project itself but also sustainability in the sense of "societal impact and the environment"

  • March 1 to May 31 (until midnight!) - Submitting the projects through the website
  • June 1 to June 15 - Pre-nominations by the project team (present for a first preselection, any request that is considered incomplete or off-topic is eliminated at this stage)
  • June 15 to July 15 - Nominations by jury members according to selection criteria
  • September 11th to 18th - Pitching sessions for the nominated projects (2 days are planned, the pitches will be done by Skype and will be held in a closed session)
  • September 11th to 18th - Selection of the winners (immediately after the pitches via Skype, the jury will decide on the winners of the two programs
  • November 7 - Awards ceremony and audience award
  • November 8 to November 16 - Discovery week for finalists of the "remote collaboration" program

We will gladly provide you with all the necessary information, but the steps needed will have to be done by yourself. We invite you to check the conditions of entry and stay in Switzerland according to your country of origin from the following link: : https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/fr/dfae/entree-sejour-suisse/dispositions-visas-formulaire-demande.html

You have the option to select one or more sectors in the application form.

Yes, but you need at least to demonstrate the relation with one of the 3 sectors; an innovative and promising project will grasp our attention! Simply choose the category that is closest to your project.

Yes of course, we are looking forward to discover promising projects from all over the world!

No, we do not take capital on selected projects. Our goal is to create economic value for the region through promising projects.

In general, innovation should create added value and respond to a market need in an original way. Innovation is not just about a product or a technology; for example, it can be a new process, a service, new markets or new business models and collaborations.

A cash prize of up to 30,000.-  CHF per project will be awarded exclusively to the "relocation program" winners.

All nominated projects for both programs will be invited to pitch by Skype for logistical reasons. Specific instructions will be forwarded to the nominees in due course.

We would like to select 10 projects for the «relocation program» and about 5 projects for the «remote collaboration» program.

Detailed documents will be given to the winners of the 2 programs, but in a general way;

  • The winners of both programs commit to communicate on social networks with the hashtag #AgriCoChallenge
  • The winners of the «relocation» program commit themselves to undertake their activities in whole or in part on the site for a period of 2 years.
  • The winners of the two programs agree to make available to the Agri & Co challenge any information deemed necessary for communication (videos if available, information on the company, photos etc.)
  • The winners of the two programs commit, as far as possible, to be physically present at the awards ceremony on November 7th in Fribourg
  • The winners of both programs commit to accept the general conditions and reciprocal commitment that will be part of a convention

No, only the winners of the relocation program will receive a cash prize provided they commit to starting their activities on the site. If a relocation is not envisaged or desired, it is possible to participate in the «Remote collaboration program», including for project holders located in Switzerland.

If you have a financial plan that's good, but we will also consider promising projects without a financial plan; we want to understand the economic impact of the project and its profitability in the long term; it's up to you to be convincing!

Yes, as long as you can demonstrate the economic potential and technical feasibility of your project. The project team must be capable to convincingly describe how the project will be carried by a spin-off and who will be the project leader. Agri & Co does not support basic research or applied research at a preliminary stage.

Yes, as long as you can demonstrate that you have the essential skills to develop your project and that you are ready to expand your team in due time. You need to be able to explain what skills you will need and at what stage. We will gladly help you find partners!

Yes of course, any entity in the growth phase (possibly in the process of being created) and having an innovative project in one of the 3 sectors may participate in the challenge.

Yes, any entity in the growth phase (possibly in the process of being created) and having an innovative project in one of the 3 sectors may participate in the challenge. It's up to you to convince us!

We accept applications in French, German and English. Pitching for nominated projects can also be done in any of these 3 languages.

To ensure optimal affinity, mentors will be contacted and selected once the profiles of the winners are known.

The Agri & Co challenge mentors will ideally have a strong affinity with successful project leaders. Companies or entrepreneurs established in the canton of Fribourg or elsewhere in Switzerland (including in particular the sponsors of the Agri & Co call for projects) or recognized academic partners in the agri-food sector at the Swiss level will be able to position themselves as mentors.

Laureates will also be required to share their mentoring needs to ensure compatibility with their future mentor.

The 4 main partners of the Agri & Co Challenge (Nestlé, Cremo, fenaco and Micarna) have the opportunity to engage in a prioritized and exclusive way as a "mentor" for selected projects with affinities towards their field of activity.

There are numerous partners of the Agri & Co challenge; if the project is promising or particularly interesting for one of the partners, opportunities may develop with one of them. Contacts can be made bilaterally once the process of the call for projects is completed.

Theoretically, yes, but the business plan should not be significantly shorter than the requested 15 pages or longer than 25 pages. Please remember that all-important information should be covered in the business plan but that the reader should not feel overwhelmed with information. Ask for feedback from a person not involved in your organization!

Questions about the "Relocation Program"

The Agri & Co challenge has been designed to develop long-term collaborations; we are therefore looking primarily for project leaders who want to commit for a minimum of 2 years or more.

Of course, we do not force anyone to stay more than 2 years; on the other hand, the conditions offered by the Canton of Fribourg and the « St-Aubin Innovation Space » are particularly attractive!

No, you will have to cover your living expenses yourself; on the other hand, an amount of 30 000.- CHF will be paid to you and can be used as you wish, in particular to lodge you.

A first installment of 10,000.- CHF will be paid after the Awards ceremony, a second tranche of 20,000.- CHF will be paid at the start of the company's activities on the « St-Aubin Innovation Space ».

Your physical presence is highly recommended! More than 500 people will participate in this evening including a majority of business leaders and decision makers and this is a unique opportunity to gain visibility! Agri & Co challenge is committed to pay the following fees:

  • If you are in Switzerland, we reimburse your travel expenses on invoice remittance, up to a maximum of 200 CHF per project. If you are from outside of Switzerland; we refund a single limit of 1000 CHF per project.

Questions about the "Remote Collaboration Program"

Yes, both programs are open to companies based either in Switzerland or internationally.

No, both programs are open to companies based either in Switzerland or internationally.

Many things! Please find the detailed information in the «Remote Collaboration» section of the website.

Up to a maximum of 3 people from the same team will be able to participate in the discovery week with all expenses paid.

No, but we are offering an all-expenses-paid discovery week that will be the first step in initiating long-term collaboration.

Your physical presence is highly recommended! More than 500 people will participate in this evening including a majority of business leaders and decision makers and this is a unique opportunity to gain visibility! Good news, as the all-expenses-paid discovery week will start the day after the awards ceremony, the travel expenses of the «Remote Collaboration Program» winners will be fully covered for your participation in the Awards Ceremony!

Yes, the winners of the «Remote collaboration Program» are responsible for reserving and buying their own ticket for the Awards ceremony and for the Discovery Week. You will then have to send us your invoices and your bank details so that we can proceed with the reimbursement process as soon as possible. Please note that we will refund only tickets to / from one of the 2 main airports in Switzerland; either Geneva Cointrin or Zürich Kloten. Detailed information regarding the procedure and conditions will be forwarded to the winners in due course.

No, the project team will take care of the hotel reservation for all the winners of the «Remote Collaboration Program» who will participate in the discovery week.

Yes, as long as the price of the ticket does not exceed the amount that would have been applicable to a stay not exceeding the duration of the discovery week.

Questions about the "St-Aubin Innovation Space"

When submitting your application, you will need to specify for what purpose and how many square meters of agricultural area you will need. We will strive to ensure that the requirements of the winners are respected.

When submitting your application, you will need to specify what your infrastructure needs are (including greenhouses) and how many square meters you will need. We will strive to ensure that the requirements of the winners are respected. An experimental greenhouse should be available at the «St-Aubin Innovation Space» for the start of the project as well as greenhouse spaces at one of our partner’s space.

Yes, if you are nominated for one of the 2 programs, you may send your request to the Economic Promotion of the Canton of Fribourg at the following address: (www.promfr.chpromfr@fr.ch)

Unfortunately no, but we can easily establish contact with one or more partners who could provide this opportunity.

Not yet, but you could execute your pilot tests at one of our academic or industrial partner’s place (who could possibly be your future mentor); they have a wide variety of pilot equipment in the agri-food sector.

Certainly! Please write to us at " info@agricochallenge.org" and we will do our best to answer your question quickly.

We continuously update the Q&A