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The Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge Rules and Regulations 2020



The Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge aims to reward innovative projects within the food and beverages industry, by offering them the opportunity to develop their activities through a specialized support program.

This contest is open to those startups with innovations targeting the F&B sector with a focus on food or beverage ingredients or additives that improve taste, texture, appearance and/or nutritional value, as well as those startups developing technologies and/or services that support F&B. 


The Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge is organized by Informa Markets, De Entrée 73, Alpha Toren, 1101 BH, Amsterdam (Organiser).


Any company or project leader involved in developing a new activity or innovative project within the F&B sector can take part in the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge (Candidate).


We consider as ‘new activity or innovative project’ the following:

- The startup should be no older than 5 years

- The startup must have a clear business plan and a developed concept at the very least; prototypes or final products are preferred

- The product or service needs to be truly novel


Participation is free.


To be considered as a ‘candidate’ to the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge, startups need to follow the rules and regulations of the contest according to the following steps:

Step 1: Online candidacy

Complete the online application form HERE.

The following needs to be submitted with your form: 

- A signed copy of this Rules and Regulations 2020 form

- A short description of the product or service is required that highlights the novelty element of this product or service (max. 300 words)

Recommended optional supporting evidence can include:

- Any technical and/ or sales documents that you have developed until your candidacy to the Startup Innovation Challenge such as commercial documentation, advertising, investor’s presentations

- Any similar document that could be helpful

Not all startups will be invited to pitch at the event, so make sure you include as much supporting information with your application as possible to help us with the selection process.

The deadline for registration for the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge 2020 to be held at Fi Europe 2020 (1-3 December 2020 in Frankfurt, Germany) is Friday, 18 September 2020.

Step 2: Validation of the candidacy

At this stage our team will contact you. You will be required to:

• Provide a Business Plan (BP). The BP has to provide your potential market figures, description of your competitors, as well as your financial plan. Should this information be confidential, a non-disclosure agreement can be signed with you beforehand.

• One-minute video. This pitch should provide a short description of your product or innovation which will be considered when selecting the shortlisted companies.

Each candidate is considered once the application form and Business Plan are received. Only the complete files will be considered.

If your project is not accepted, you will not take part in the contest. If your project is accepted, you become an official candidate to the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge 2020.

Any information you share with the jury must be true to the best of your knowledge.

Step 3: Jury

The jury is made up of a mix of the following food experts:

- R&D experts from research institutes

- F&B ingredients companies

- F&B manufacturers - Banks/ Venture Capitalists

- Startup Incubators/ supporters

If one of the jury members has themselves, or as a collaborator, entered as a candidate, they are no longer allowed to vote.

The discussions of the jury are secret and their decision is final.

The jury sets up a ranking of the candidates. The selection is based on:

- The information and supporting evidence shared during the application process

- A presentation given by the candidate to the jury, behind closed doors. The presentation must last no more than 15 minutes and will be followed by a question and answer session (10 minutes). This will take place on Monday 30 November 2020.

At the end of all the presentations, the jury will decide the winner(s).

- All shortlisted candidates will give a live pitch at Fi Europe 2020 in front of visitors and exhibitors of the show. This pitch should last no longer than 10 minutes. This will take place on Tuesday & Wednesday, 1 & 2 December 2020.

- The winners will be announced after the live pitches. They will receive their award at the Fi Europe Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, 2 December 2020.


A candidacy can only be cancelled by the Organisation Committee if the documents submitted by the candidate are proven to be knowingly false or if the candidate breaks any of the rules of the competition. In this case, the Organisation Committee is allowed to take back the already given award and to tell the media about the prize cancellation.

Once the candidacy is recorded, the candidate can only cancel his candidacy if its company goes bankrupt.


The candidates will be informed of their selection. The jury’s decision is final.

The shortlisted candidates commit themselves to present their project during a live pitch to the jury on 30 November in Frankfurt, Germany.

The shortlisted candidates and winners also commit to present their project during a live pitch (depending on their category) at Fi Europe 2020 in front of visitors and exhibitors of the show. This pitch should last no longer than 10 minutes. The Startup Innovation Challenge 2020 pitches will take place over two days on 1&2 December 2020.

The winners will receive their award on 2 December during the Fi Europe Awards Ceremony.


There will be 4 winners announced, one for each category. Startups can select multiple categories but will only compete in one category, which will be selected by the shortlisting jury.

1) Most Innovative Food or Beverage Ingredient. This category covers F&B ingredients or additives from an animal or plant source that improve sensory attributes such as taste, texture, smell, and/or appearance. E.g. flavours, flavour enhancers, colours, sweeteners, emulsifiers, stabilisers, (thickeners, binders, texturisers), acidulants, firming agents, anti-caking agents, leavening agents, humectants, dough strengtheners, fat substitutions, yeast nutrients, PH control agents, enzyme preparations, etc.

2) Most Innovative Alternative Food or Beverage Ingredient. This category specifically covers F&B ingredients or additives from a novel nonanimal/plant source. E.g. fungi, algae, insects, micro-organisms, lab grown/cell-cultured or another non-animal/plant food source.

3) Most Innovative Healthy Food or Beverage Ingredient. This category covers F&B ingredients or additives from an animal/plant/alternative source that contribute to digestive, cognitive, immune or physical health, with a focus on natural and/or sustainable processes. E.g. functional lipids, dietary fibre, probiotics, botanicals, flavonoids.

4) Most Innovative Process, Technology or Service Supporting F&B. This category covers innovations that improve food safety, efficacy, quality, traceability, transparency, ingredient sourcing, supply chain management, or upcycling.

All winners will receive one-to-one mentoring from one of the Advisory Board members of the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge. The winners can select which Advisory Board member is most relevant for their needs. 

In addition, each winner can select one of the other prizes on offer as listed on the Fi Europe Startup Innovation Challenge 2020 website.


Companies wishing to participate in the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge need to:

- Accept in full the terms and conditions laid down by these Rules and Regulations,

- Certify being in order with the tax laws, social and environmental law (intellectual property...). The company undertakes to provide, upon request, evidence of compliance with the regulations in force and marketing during the above period.

- If selected be present to support its candidacy during the jury pitches, live pitches and during the award ceremony.


The applicant certifies owning all the intellectual or industrial property rights (in particular concerning patents, trademarks, designs and copyright) attached to the projects presented and the achievements. They also state that the holder or holders(s) of rights agree with the participation to the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge and accept these regulations.

In any case, the organizers cannot be held responsible for disputes related to the protection of Intellectual Property. The candidate guarantees the organizers against any claims of the holder of intellectual property rights whatsoever through the signing of this form.


Each candidate has a right to access its information and is allowed to decline its handover.

The jury has professional confidentially regarding the information shared. By taking part in the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge, the companies and project leaders allow the Organisation Committee to use the photos, videos and any images of the presented products, the logo as well as all of the business information of the company, as well as the images taken during the award ceremony.

Information regarding the candidate’s ideas and business plan will only be available for viewing by the organiser and the jury. A non-disclosure form can be signed by these people if sensitive information is to be shared by the candidate.


The Organiser will have the final word regarding clarification related to any difficulties that may arise from the interpretation and / or application of this Regulation. 

The Organiser reserves the right to make changes to the rules and regulations, for any reason, even without notice. The Organiser of the Fi Global Startup Innovation Challenge also reserves the exclusive and unilateral right to terminate or modify the Contest, without notice.


Should a dispute concerning the validity, interpretation or implementation of the Rules and Regulation arise, the parties shall try to amicably sort out the dispute. If the parties do not reach an amicable settlement, the dispute shall be referred to the exclusive jurisdiction of the appropriate courts in the Netherlands for resolution.

Please download the full version of the 2020 Rules and Regulations before you submit your entry.