Good Food for Cities

Generation Food: helping young Belgian entrepreneurs solve food-related problems

March 14, 2023

Young Belgian entrepreneurs in Leuven connect through Generation Food and join its training programme to develop their own ideas or experiment with food for the future. With a focus on sustainability and nutrition, entrepreneurs are stimulated to innovate and increase their chances of success.

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City of Leuven, Flemish region

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Activating new entrepreneurs and increasing their chances of succes by focussing on sustainability and nutrition with a budget of €70.000,00.

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Generation Food stems from Leuven's local food strategy and implements one of the 7 strategic objectives: stimulating innovation for sustainable agriculture and nutrition. With bottom-up (social) innovative projects we want to make the food system in and around Leuven more sustainable and fairer. The role of a new (young) generation of starting entrepreneurs will be crucial.

Generation Food aims for three SDG's: SDG 8: decent work and economic growth, SDG 11: sustainable cities and SDG 12: responsible production and consumption


We offer a training programme consisting of hackathons, a master class and a test lab for starting entrepreneurs who are looking for inspiration, who want to develop their own ideas or who want to experiment with food for the future.

A trajectory through 3 events

Potential entrepreneurs go through different stages, from generating new fresh ideas to testing innovative concepts in practice. In addition, we also organise three forums in parallel, aimed at the wider public and strengthening the entrepreneurs. During these forums, the public interacts with entrepreneurs about sustainable innovation and new business models.

  1. Hackathon: During a two-day event the participants will work on concrete food challenges and innovative solutions. At the end of the hackathon they pitch these ideas to a jury.
  2. Masterclass: The selected ideas will be further developed. Together with experts, these future entrepreneurs will be helped with their sustainable business plan.
  3. Testlab: hands on. Entrepreneurs carry out a beta test of their concept, product or service. Pop-up, showcase, try-out,...

Promising initiatives can then be transferred to other existing incubators, pitch contests, business coaches, etc. The next steps are usually the search for start-up capital, legal support, coaching... There are many organizations with good services for this, Generation Food connects and refers to them. We also remain a point of contact after the Generation Food projects.

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Our ambition

Generation Food is a test in Leuven that we - when validated - want to roll out in other cities within our Food Smart Cities network. The need for people to innovate and do business is a global challenge, and the role they play in producing and providing sustainable, fair and healthy food for all can not be underestimated.

Rikolto is fulfilling this strategic objective by setting up a food and agriculture pre-incubator in Leuven, called Generation Food. Different organisations have joined the collaboration: The Province of Flemish Brabant, Boerenbond (the Flemish farmers union), PROEF, the City of Leuven, University Leuven, EIT Food, KBC, UCLL and Rikolto. Together we try to look at today's challenges from a holistic perspective.

Visit the Generation Food website

Generation Food around the world

Generation Food is part of Rikolto's international Food Smart Cities programme. In different cities around the world, including Burkina Faso, Arusha, Leuven and Quito, Rikolto supports municipalities in formulating food policies and putting them in practice. In co-creation with universities, businesses, local food production/distribution initiatives, municipalities and farmer cooperatives, we develop business models (from farm to fork) that make the transition to sustainable cities possible. Through Generation Food, Rikolto advocates for the active participation of young people in shaping the future food system.

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Who do we work with?

Province of Flemish Brabant
KU Leuven
EIT Food
City of Leuven


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