EWA (Empowering Women in Agrifood) programme, implemented for the first time in Estonia, is coming to an end. The programme organized by EIT Food and implemented in Estonia by Tartu Biotechnology Park, gives 10 female entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their business ideas further with the guidance of a professional mentors, take part in workshops and other events related to the programme within six months.
On October 28th, the Masterclass event of the EWA programme took place in Tartu. The event hosted the 10 mentees participating in the EWA programme, as well as several mentors and the external experts.
The aim of the event was to focus on the development of specific skills, like investor readiness, business models and pitching. The first part of the event was dedicated to inspiring the mentees to pursue their business ideas further and on this purpose, an inspirational speaker Triin Kask was invited to share her experience as an entrepreneur and a successful investor. Being an amazing speaker, she shared her personal story as an entrepreneur who has launched several successful startups. It was a very honest insight into both the failures and the joys that have come along with the founding and management of these startups. Triin is also one of the founders of the Estonian Founders Society and a current board member. Based on her experience she spoke about many challenges related to starting with a company such as how to come up with the right business model, how to build a team of super-talents, how to raise money, how to combine hard work with fun, how to find the focus and stick to it, how to conquer fear. As a CEO, she built Nevercode, a cloud-based continuous integration and delivery platform. Now her team is building something completely new – a personal algorithm concept that takes into account users’ preferences that lets them control their information feed.
The following three hours were dedicated to a workshop that was held by Kalev Kaarna, investor in Superangel VC fund and startup coach, on the topic of investor readiness and business models. His aim was to make the participants think about the foundations of success, in terms of how big should be a turnover of your startup in order to be considered successful or how many happy customers you should have to define yourself as a successful entrepreneur. The journey of entrepreneurship has many difficulties that cannot always be foreseen. It is good to start right now, before the difficulties arrive. An indication of a successful startup is the ability to take time off for a couple of months as the CEO, otherwise you have simply created a job for yourself that requires constant presence. In order to build a successful company, it is crucial to know your market and the competitors, and just keep in mind that sometimes a super good idea has a completely different output, and on the other hand, every idea can lead to new, unimaginable areas.
During the last part of the day, all mentees presented their business ideas during a 5-minute pitch. They received feedback from the pitching coach, Vaido Mikheim and the mentors participating at the event. After that, a pitching training followed in the course of which the mentees received specific instructions on how to build up a good pitch and present convincingly their business idea. Based on his long experience at StartupEstonia, Vaido has evaluated numerous pitches and he shared the way potential investors are thinking while evaluating pitches. The first 20 seconds of the pitch are crucial from the point of the investors – you either attract attention or not. It is also important to create a roadmap of what has been already done and what are the main milestones ahead while preparing a good pitch, because entrepreneurship does not start with the establishment of a company. As a final thought, Vaido suggested adding a call to action in the pitch that the audience could take to make an immediate improvement.
In cooperation with their personal mentors, the mentees will be working now on finalizing their pitches for the Pitching event, which will take place on November 18th, at VSPA Conference Centre in Tartu. The event is open to the public and will include the representatives of investors and public sector, entrepreneurs and all others interested in innovative solutions in the agrifood sector.
The European final event of the EWA programme “Women in Agrifood Summit” will take place on December 1st, in Vilnius. The event will be open for a big audience and online participation will be possible. More information about the programme and registration is available on the website: https://womeninagrifoodsummit2023.eu/
About EIT Food
EIT Food is the world’s largest and most dynamic food innovation community. We accelerate innovation to build a future-fit food system that produces healthy and sustainable food for all.
Supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, we invest in projects, organisations and individuals that share our goals and vision for a healthy and sustainable food system. We unlock innovation potential in businesses and universities and create and scale agrifood startups to bring new technologies and products to market. We equip entrepreneurs and professionals with the skills needed to transform the food system and put consumers at the heart of our work, helping build trust by reconnecting them to the origins of their food.
We are one of nine innovation communities established by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.