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1. Introduction

The European project F2F (Farm to Fork) Health Matters is an internationalisation accelerator for innovative agri-food SMEs, driven by an alliance of five European clusters: Wagralim (Belgium), Clusaga (Spain), BioEconomy Cluster (Slovakia), InovCluster (Portugal) and Valorial (France).

It is funded by the European Program for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) within the framework of the European Strategic Cluster Partnerships - Going International (ESCP-4i).

The objective of F2F Health Matters is to promote the development of collaborative internationalisation services with a clear geographic focus to offer practical support for a group of SMEs from participating regions specialized in the healthy food, bio-based techno-functional ingredients and solutions and sustainable bio-solutions to develop an international roadmap.

2. Internationalisation supports for SMEs

During the lifetime of the F2F Health Matters project, 3 types of support were foreseen. Nowadays, only ONE ‘Commercial lead support’ is available for Wagralim’s ecosystem

The ‘Commercial lead support’ consists of the financing of personalised consultancy services of commercial prospection in Japan, Canada or Emirats. The project partners have negotiated preferential rates with external service providers for a service pack adapted to the SME and the chosen target country. The list of external service providers is available on Section Network of this website (See section 3. Consultants).

3. Application and selection process

Eligibility Criteria and Verification

SMEs, members of Wagralim [BE], or in a process of becoming members and that are interested in strengthening their international capacity in Japan, Canada or Emirats and their products is linked to:

  • Innovative & Sustainable Healthy Food
  • Bio-based Techno-functional Ingredients & Solutions and
  • Bio-solutions – to become more global across overseas markets of connected food, the market of functional food and healthy ingredient, the market of processed food products.

Before entering to evaluate the quality and relevance of the applicant SMEs an eleigibility check will be conducted to verify compliance with the following cumulative criteria:

  • The application is submitted via the online form available at the F2F Health Matters website
  • The application is submitted within the established deadline. The form will be activated at 10 A.M. the day of call opening and deactivated at 5 P.M. the day the call closes
  • All mandatory fields in the application form are complete
  • The application is submitted in English
  • The applicant is a SME. The applicant has SME status according to the definition of the European Union
  • The SME is committed to internationalisation.

Applicant SMEs may be asked to provide documentation and/or clarifications to correctly assess the criteria listed above. Three working days will be given to SMEs to comply with the request; should they fail to provide it they will be excluded and will not continue to the evaluation process. All applicants will be notified about the eligibility verification. Eligible applicants will be notified they have been shortlisted and will proceed to the evaluation step.

Assessment of SMEs Export Readiness

The export readiness of shortlisted applicants will be assessed using the F2F Health Matters SME Export Readiness Assessment Tool, that can be found on the left of this section (Get Involved).

Selection of SMEs

The selection of Champion SMEs for Commercial Lead Support is based on several criteria:

1. The applicant complies the Eligibility criteria and Verification check listed above, such as:

  • The applicant’s profile should fit into the three target groups: 1) bio-solutions 2) bio-based techno-functional ingredients & solutions 3) healthy food products
  • Being or becoming Member of one partner Wagralim
  • Being an SME according to the EU definition

Please refer to the above ‘Eligibility Criteria and Verification’ section for more information.

2. Evaluation (see table below)

  • Being assessed by the F2F Health matters team through an online meeting. The threshold is 16 points with a maximum of 55 points. (See the ‘SME Export Readiness Assessment’ form on the left of the webpage)
  • The eligible SME profile is interesting for the target market. The F2F Health Matters Team consults the external expert who will give their remark
  • The selection of Commercial Lead Support beneficiary is based on the total score of the applicant
  • The eligible SME for travel aid profile should fit into a critical mass of eligible applicants. (In order to facilitate the organisation of B&Bs, having several similar profiles is important)

Ranking per Cluster:

  Export readiness Assessment Value     External Expert Value (Consultant)     Cluster Expertise   Total
  Score Weight (55%)   Score Weight (35%)   Score Weight (10%) 100%
Not ready 0-15 Discarded Non-interest 0 Discarded SME has debts 0 Discarded Discarded
Yes, but with some weakness 16 – 31   Common product/service 1   Has potential 5    
Yes, good enough 31 – 55   Interesting product/service 2   High potential 10    

Criteria in the bold line in the table are eliminatory criterion. Meaning with one non-satisfied indicator, the SME will be discarded automatically.

During the application phase, SMEs have to give their preference on the two types of Financial Aids: Travel Aid and Commercial Leads Support. The team will try to answer their request. However, in case of a conflict, the Cluster will find a consensus with the selected SMEs. If no agreement can be found, the Cluster can decide to not continue the project with the SME. If 2 companies have identical score and similar product, first come first served.

3. The availability of the remaining budget.

The table below shows the available budget for UAE in the case of each partner: Clusaga (ES), Bioeconomy Cluster (SK), InovCluster (PT), Wagralim (BE), and Valorial (FR)

  Wagralim Valorial Clusaga Bioeconomy Cluster InovCluster
Travel Aids None None None None None
Commercial Leads Support 1 * 3000€ None None None None
4. Calls

Three open calls were launched since 2021. Ongoing call: Commercial lead support for Japan, Canada or Emirats, only available for Wagralim’s ecosystem. For application, please find the link on the left of this page.

Opening date: 23 January 2024. Call deadline: 22 March 2024, 17:00.

5. Training sessions

*Not applicable for the call for proposals.