HortiHeroes connects new technologies and business models of startups and scale-ups (from inside and outside the Food & Flower Industry) with established companies. This interaction gives both the startup community and the established (partner) companies access to knowledge, network, innovations and facilities.

Startups and scale-ups have an entry point or ‘soft landing’ towards potential customers, partners, industry experts, funding, (test) facilities while the established order is in direct contact with new technology, business models and talent.

We are committed to reducing barriers in order to make a large-scale impact together more quickly. HortiHeroes works together with various ecosystem partners, including the World Horti Center.

“The exposure we have had in our first years through HortiHeroes to validate and find the right entrances in the network is priceless. It helps us find potential (pilot) partners and customers. As we grow, together with World Horti Center, Topsector T&U and various trade fairs, it provides a nice platform towards an (inter)national network.” Bram Tijmons, co-founder Pats Drones

Criteria HortiHeroes Startup / Scale-up

  • Team: You are a complementary team (more than 1 person) who is fully committed to the project who are entrepreneurial and don’t take it as ‘a side, study project or department’).
  • Ambition: You have a shared ambition, vision and mentality to want to make a success of it and the network of HortiHeroes and World Horti Center will be of added value.
  • Dream: you contribute to the HortiHeroes dream; Zero Hunger in a liveable world.
  • Innovative Product: you develop a new distinctive value proposition for the Food & Flower industry with a clear market demand and thereby contribute to the existing ecosystem.
  • Business model: you have (international) growth potential with a scalable business model.
  • Phase: innovation from TRL 6 and company for up to 5 years. After 5 years, we are happy to look together at a different role in the ecosystem.

Apply for the start-up program here: 

What the HortiHeroes Start-up Program offers for start-ups:

  • Access to knowledge and network in the Food & Flower Industry through our innovation managers, intrapreneurs, (international) industry experts and knowledge institutions.
  • Peer network where we include you in our HortiHeroes Founder Slack group, invite you 1x per month to (net)work together in the World Horti Center.
  • Pitch & showcase opportunities at various national and international HortiHeroes (HeroFestival) and Partner events, but also visibility in trade magazines and online media and at the year-round trade fair at the World Horti Center.
  • (Test) Facilities in collaboration with partners such as the World Horti Center at custom startup rates.
  • Startup expertise including the organizational structure, finances and legal matters such as IP.
  • Stay tuned… As befits a startup, we will continue to develop our programs and we like to do that together with the market – so with you! So please share your needs around (co-)workplaces, funding, the upcoming startup toolbox and your international ambitions so we can grow together. ‘Alone we are smart, together we are heroic.’

By being an active part of the HortiHeroes community, you contribute to the growth of your idea, product or company. The first year is free of charge, but for some events and facilities a startup contribution is required. After an intake, you will be invited to pitch to the selection committee. After admission, we offer you various on- and offline exposure opportunities during the year.

Apply for the start-up program here: