GreenTech Amsterdam will take place on 13, 14 and 15 June. Just like every year, the GreenTech Innovation & Concept Awards will be presented to the most promising products and concepts in the international greenhouse horticulture. Together with the new jury chairman Jolanda Heistek, we are looking ahead to the competition and asked the winners of 2022 what it brought them.
During GreenTech Amsterdam 2023, two innovation prizes will be awarded to GreenTech exhibitors. The Innovation Award will go to the most unique, high-tech, and advanced technological innovation. The Concept Award is for an innovation which is not on the market yet but has the most potential to have a successful market introduction within two years.
This will be done this year with a new jury chairman, Jolanda Heistek. As an independent innovation broker, Heistek has worked in the background on innovations within the sector in recent years, and now as director of the triple helix collaborative network Greenport West-Holland, she can be an impartial chairman. “I was surprised but also excited when I was approached for this position. In recent years I have seen and experienced how GreenTech is able to bring parties together and put innovations in the spotlight in the interests of the horticultural sector. I look forward to contributing to this.”
According to Heistek, it is very important that horticulture continues to innovate. “It makes the sector able to become even more sustainable in the coming years. Only by innovating, we can achieve an even higher quality and higher production by using fewer resources. Technological innovations in the field of digitization, automation and robotization can give a huge boost to this. At the same time, by innovating we can also make the industry more interesting and attractive for people to work in. By creating new functions, offering different types of work, and making horticulture even more high-tech, we can attract people from other sectors.”
Heistek is positive about the level of innovation in horticulture. “But we can go one step further if we bring in even more knowledge and technology from other industries and use it to our advantage. That is precisely why it is good to bring different people and worlds together. We tend to always keep looking into our scene, but then your knowledge world will remain small. By increasing our visibility and being open to developments outside horticulture on an international scale, we can take huge steps in the coming years. I, therefore, hope that we will see innovations in this year’s competition that can provide a breakthrough and that really make a difference. Products and concepts that have real potential and that can continue to grow, partly due to the attention of the GreenTech Innovation & Concept Awards. I am confident that there will be great entries again this year, because our sector will always continue to develop.”
Put in the spotlight
In 2022, the GreenTech Innovation Award went to Biobest for Micromus-System, a brown lacewing that fights aphids. “We participated because we want to put our innovations in the spotlight and show that Biobest is an innovative company,” says Ines De Craecker, Product Manager at Biobest. “As a company, we continuously strive for improvement. We think along with our customers and have the ideology to bring innovations to the market that can help growers to solve the challenges and problems they face.”
According to De Craecker, GreenTech Amsterdam is an event where all the major players in the sector are present. “An ideal stage to show what we as a company are doing.” Last year, Biobest participated in the Innovation Award with Micromus-System and in the Concept Award with Trap-Eye. “With Micromus-System we won the GreenTech Innovation Award. Winning such an award has proven to be an underrated marketing tool. We also noticed that the success of Micromus-System has skyrocketed after winning the award. But it also had a positive effect internally. All of our colleagues work extremely hard on new products. From R&D to the packaging team, everyone is involved. Winning the award is therefore above all an appreciation for their efforts. And it motivates all departments of Biobest even more, to keep working on sustainable crop protection solutions. We are therefore very satisfied with our participation.”
Biobest also participated in the Concept Awards with Trap-Eye. Coming in second place, it attracted a lot of visitors to the stand and the product received a lot of attention, says Sam Gui, Market Development Manager High Tech IPM at Biobest. “While Biobest is most known for its beneficial insects and bumblebees we are recently also focusing on high-tech solutions. This is partly thanks to the GreenTech Innovation & Concept Awards.”
The Concept Award did go to the German company Organifarms in 2022. “We participated in the GreenTech Innovation Awards to give our new product BERRY the chance to show its innovative approach to a wide audience and to let experts approve that we have the potential to take the horticulture industry to a new level”, says co-founder Mario Schäfer. BERRY is a harvesting robot for strawberries. Previous to the GreenTech Innovation Awards Organifarms also participated and won in the ‘Innovationspreis Moderne Landwirtschaft’ in Germany. “The value of such competitions is mainly exposure of innovative ideas to a wide and well-targeted audience, as well as external validation of the innovative character of young companies and products. We see GreenTech Amsterdam as one of the most important trade shows in our sector, as pretty much all relevant companies are present. Winning such a well-known award in between well-established and innovative companies meant a lot to us.”
And Organifarms was able to benefit highly from winning the award, says Schäfer. “A lot of potential clients visited our booth following the public awareness, which helped a lot. Even now, people recognize our company because of the GreenTech Innovation Awards.” Schäfer would therefore not hesitate to participate again in the future. For other companies who consider participating in the innovation contest. “Make sure to be clear about the value proposition for your customers and the innovative character of your product and the approach you take during the development, especially during the pitch in front of the jury.”