Launched on 5 March 2020 in Lausanne (Switzerland), Star’Terre aims to promote collaboration between the agricultural sector, public organizations, private structures (agricultural, food, entrepreneurial) and the ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. The platform supported by the agricultural services of the cantons of Vaud, Geneva, Fribourg and Valais, provides support to innovative projects.

As an inter-cantonal agri-inno-food platform, Star’Terre aims to bring the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors closer together, a need, clearly identified by the project team: “For 3 years, we carried out an intercantonal pilot project with the support of State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the agricultural services of 3 cantons (Vaud, Fribourg, Geneva) and AGRIDEA. It confirmed that there are few links between the agricultural and entrepreneurial ecosystems in terms of cooperation and specific support for innovative project initiators, although the Lake Geneva region has a strong potential for local consumption patterns: rich agricultural and agri-food resources, a strong entrepreneurial, research and innovation ecosystem as well as a growing hype for local consumption and know-how. Another major asset in this area is a real political will to support and promote local products. »

Star’Terre complements existing agricultural and food ecosystems, creates a link between the different sectors, and supports and accompanies the actors of the food ecosystem in the Lake Geneva region in their willingness to share, innovate and better develop agricultural and food production and know-how. Star’Terre is a strong network of 200 actors with specific skills. Its support desk at the interface of agriculture and entrepreneurship provides information and tools, challenges and answers the questions related to agriculture, food, local consumption or other related issues and refers to other relevant support organizations. Any entrepreneur, farmer or startup can apply online to benefit from the services provided by the support desk.

Coaching and accompanying selected projects is core to Star’Terres’ missions. Project owners can thus benefit from specific support with multidisciplinary experts during a period of approximately 2 years, as well as gaining visibility and networking through specific events and via its website. To benefit from support, innovative initiatives & startups can become member or apply to a yearly launched project call.

Among the accompanied projects, Star’Terre supports or has supported high-potential projects in their respective fields, such as

TAOU: a community platform that facilitates the purchase of local products and favorites, while bringing value to farmers, who are highly motivated to participate in this platform.

Founder of Taou © Journal de Morges

Photo: Founder of Taou © Journal de Morges

DICIFOOD, a business combining agricultural know-how and a market approach. DICIFOOD produces and commercializes 100% local products, namely products that had almost disappeared in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, with total traceability in order to strengthen the links between producers and consumers.

Photo: DICIFOODs’ local products range, © DICIFOOD

It is important to stress, that the platform does not want to add a layer to the existing ecosystem of support for entrepreneurship and innovation, but to fill a gap. It complements existing support organizations and accompanies thus projects that are more ‘early stage’ in order to prepare them to move on to other organizations providing support in specific fields.

In addition to regular communication through its website and social networks, Star’Terre organizes events on topical issues to address & challenge current trends and concerns, and to favor exchange and collaboration among the various actors of its network.