Driving Mediterranean AgriFood Innovation: DEEP Ecosystems’ and Johan Jörgensen’s Success Story

Driving Mediterranean AgriFood Innovation: DEEP Ecosystems’ and Johan Jörgensen’s Success Story

Matera, Italy

In 2022, the city of Stockholm embarked on an ambitious endeavour to position itself as a centre for impact innovation in Europe. For this purpose, the city of Stockholm commissioned DEEP Ecosystems to join the initiative. Collaborating closely with Jenny Berthling and the team from Invest Stockholm, the objective was to devise a strategy to shift the city’s predominantly fintech-focused startup landscape towards a more impact-oriented direction.

Niklas Adalberth, the founder of Klarna, a prominent payments startup in Stockholm, initiated the Norrsken Foundation, aiming to drive global impact innovation. Following its establishment, the foundation’s activities gained traction in Stockholm, bolstering the city’s growing impact ecosystem.

Driving Change Through Collaboration

At the core of the new strategy was community and stakeholder engagement. During the collaboration between DEEP and the City of Stockholm, as well as the leading impact actors including Coompanion, Impact Hub, Norrsken and others, the new slogan “Home for Impact” was developed, which is now prominently featured in Stockholm’s publications. However, the ultimate objective went beyond branding; DEEP Ecosystems together with the partners aimed to give Stockholm’s impact initiatives more depth through concrete projects, involved stakeholders, and collaborative growth efforts. This is why we brought together the international impact innovation ecosystem with local stakeholders during Stockholm’s Impact Week in 2022. During this event, DEEP Ecosystems orchestrated a gathering of international and local players in the impact innovation realm. 

Johan Jörgensen: A Local Catalyst

One of DEEP’s main local collaborators in this venture was Johan Jörgensen, the founder of Sweden Food Tech, actively involved in constructing a green transition-focused food tech community in Stockholm. He played a crucial role as a key partner, participating in numerous workshops on food tech and the impact ecosystem. Together, we explored various potential ideas to drive innovation in this sector.

"Working together, with best-in-class methods, literally can move mountains. Eventually, all transformation is about people and that means that we need to make sure that we get the right people around the table, unite around the key questions and identify how to move the metrics. Then we can go out and change the world. It is a great pleasure to work with the outstanding people at DEEP, in trying to bring what we can to the magic place of the South of Italy." – Johan Jörgensen

We matched this process with a parallel initiative taking place in our Global Accelerator, where TechBBQ from Denmark aimed to reach their events to Italy. They had already organised a successful event in Milan as a satellite, run by Nicklas Pavoncelli, with DEEP’s assistance. Furthermore, we facilitated the connection with our partner EY in Italy, which oversees startups in various cities, including Matera.

Seeding Innovation in Matera

In Matera, there’s already a strong focus on agri-food. The ideas and collaborations developed together with Johan Jörgensen, TechBBQ, and EY Italy. As a result of these efforts, a joint application was submitted with additional partners from Cte Matera and Rootcamp from Germany for an EU grant, securing 1 million Euro for the SMAFINE project.

Smarterra is all about improving today's food system for health and sustainability.

This funding will be utilised to establish the “Smarterra” ecosystem hub in Matera, Southern Italy. The goal is to cultivate a conducive environment for innovation, drawing from the experiences of the Nordic countries, Sweden and Denmark, particularly in food production. By leveraging this expertise, we aim to catalyse significant advancements in the relatively underdeveloped food industry in Italy and empower startups to revolutionize food production in the region.

Through collaboration and global networking, DEEP Ecosystems and its partners have laid the groundwork for substantial change in Europe’s impact innovation landscape with the transformative potential of community-driven innovation.