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Chicago Agrifood Scaleup Program 2024

Chicago Agrifood Scaleup Program: a gateway to the U.S. AgriFood ecosystem

The Chicago Agrifood Scaleup Program is for Dutch agrifood scaleups seeking to explore and enter the U.S. market. This innovative program spans several preparation sessions in the Netherlands followed by a focused one-week event in Chicago in the summer of 2024, providing participants with comprehensive exposure to the U.S. agrifood ecosystem.

The pre-program phase of the Chicago Agrifood Scaleup initiative has kicked off on 6 June 2024 with promising Dutch scaleups that stand out for their disruptive technologies and visionary leadership. With the primary goal of validating their U.S. market fit and preparing to conduct business in the U.S., these scaleups embody the forefront of the Dutch advanced agri-food sector. Notably, four of these cutting-edge companies come from the Zuid-Holland region.

Our cohort for this year includes:

Cano-ela – Removing refined ingredients from the food supply chain through the innovative processing of oil-rich seeds.
Dutch Lion (Zuid-Holland based) – Improving greenhouse economics with vertical crop-to-operator automation.
GreenAnt (Zuid-Holland based) – Leveraging satellite data to make climate resilience accessible and profitable—for farmers, companies, and the public.
Pacha de Cacao – Creating innovative food, beverage, and ingredient products from the cacao fruit waste stream.
RED Horticulture (Zuid-Holland based) – AI-powered light solutions for greenhouse crop production.
Skytree – Pioneering climate tech for carbon utilization and removal.
Source.ag – Accelerating access to fresh fruit and vegetables by empowering the world’s growers with AI.
Spatialise – Enabling the regeneration of soils through geospatial intelligence.

Program highlights and sessions:

  • Kick-off in The Hague

Date: Thursday, June 6th
The first session was held in The Hague, focusing on cohort introductions, program details, goal setting and pitch training by experts, culminating in a networking event with previous program alumni.

  • Fundraising in the US

Date: Thursday, June 13th (Online)
Experts from both the Netherlands and Chicago discuss funding landscapes and priorities, highlighting the differences and opportunities in the U.S. agrifood sector.

  • About GRAS Regulations

Date: Monday, June 17th (Online)
An optional deep dive into U.S. food safety regulations, essential for any food-related business aiming to operate within the U.S. market.

  • Meet Chicago & the Midwest

Date: Thursday, June 20th (Online)
Explore the Midwest’s agrifood landscape through interactions with key organizations and industry leaders.

  • Set-up & Sales Tax with TABS

Date: Tuesday, June 25th (Online)
Covers essential operational details for companies expanding to the U.S., including sales tax obligations and company setup.

  • Legal & IP

Date: Thursday, June 27th (Online)
Expert guidance on navigating the U.S. legal system, focusing on intellectual property and other legal considerations for European businesses entering the U.S.

  • The Journey of a Dutch Scaleup in the US

Date: Wednesday, July 3rd (Online)
Participants hear firsthand accounts from scaleups about their experiences and challenges in growing their businesses in the U.S.

  • From the 14th until 19th of July: a one week immersive program in Chicago, including a visit to the IFT Annual Meeting and Expo or Cultivate in Ohio!

Why Chicago

Chicago stands as the pivotal hub of America’s food value chain, enriched by an extensive array of food, beverage and agricultural enterprises. These companies thrive on the region’s robust infrastructure for transportation, distribution, and logistics, ensuring swift market access. The city not only boasts a rich talent pool and a broad network of corporate partners but also fosters an accessible and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Home to over 70 incubators and accelerators, 24 corporate innovation centers, and more than 60 venture capital firms, Chicago is a powerhouse for innovation. Major industry players like Mondelez, McDonald’s, Kraft Heinz, ADM, Conagra, Kellanova, and MillerCoors are headquartered here, alongside significant operations from Mars, PepsiCo, and Beam Suntory. The agricultural sector is well represented by companies like Syngenta, Gotham Greens, and MightyVine, making Chicago an ideal base for agrifood scaleups looking to expand.

Your launchpad into the U.S. market

The Chicago Agrifoom Scaleup Program is more than just a bridge to new markets: it’s your front row ticket to the big league of the U.S. agrifood scene. Packed with insider know-how and direct links to industry heavyweights, this program is the ultimate boost for Dutch innovators ready to shake up the food world. Follow us along on this dynamic journey where opportunities are ripe and the potential for impact is huge!

Tiffany Meijer

Tiffany Meijer

Projectmanager Internationalisering