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Amorim Cork Ventures presents “Cork Challenge Barcelona”

Barcelona 13/7/2016

Amorim Cork Ventures is launching an international initiative, in partnership with Beta-i, presenting an acceleration program of global scope, to be based in Barcelona.

Like other similar initiatives in Portugal, this first international project, named ‘Cork Challenge Barcelona’, is built around an 8 week acceleration program. Applications will open in July 11th, and last until August 31st. The selection phase will then take place, until September 28th, with the 2 months acceleration stage taking place from October to December 2016.

According to Nuno Barroca, Vice-President of Corticeira Amorim, "this international expansion stage of Amorim Cork Ventures reflects the evolution and consolidation of the company, whose track record shows very positive indicators, like the more than 200 applications we received already". “We are an international company, so this development is fully antecipated, and perfectly in line with our business profile", Nuno adds.  

The ‘Cork Challenge Barcelona’ will select a maximum of 14 startups. The chosen teams will have 8 weeks of individual coaching and pitch practice sessions. They will also be exposed to numerous workshops & mentoring sessions, that are key to the development of the business model and product ‘market-fit’. The program also includes access to Amorim Cork Ventures consultants, that, together with the Beta-i network, means access to a platform of more than 200 mentoring and over 500 startups, as well as top events.

In line with the motto behind the creation of Amorim Cork Ventures - the first incubator and venture capital dedicated exclusively to the cork business - this is another important milestone for the long-term sustainability of the cork industry. By building bridges between the world of startups and the world leader in cork products, this project is a huge contributor to the economic success and innovation potential of the industry, going further than any program so far, and using recognized and tested processes and startup acceleration methodologies.

"The main criterion is the quality of the startups that will be under pressure to adapt to industry standards and requirements, while also pushing the structure of Amorim Cork Ventures and to respond in time, testing its responsiveness and flexibility", says Pedro Rocha Vieira, CEO and co-founder at Beta-i.

Objectives & impact

Amorim Cork Ventures was founded to foster the creation of new cork products and businesses, mainly oriented at external markets. Although recent, this incubator already supported around 20 projects (four of which resulted in startups), which are at different stages of development, and exploring different areas of activity.

Amorim Cork Ventures mission involves stimulating entrepreneurs to design products or innovative application ideas for cork and also includes support the existing small businesses, with new products and concepts in cork, that need a partner to gain size and access to foreign markets. Beta-i is one of the most active and prestigious accelerators in Europe and has in recent years been focusing on a logic that crosses startups and large companies.

Large companies, such as Corticeira Amorim, run already established and profitable businesses, with great market knowledge and using processes that are aimed at ensuring stability. In the other side, it’s common for a startup in early stage to have all sorts of doubts about even what the final product will be. That’s why this model is not easy to implement, since the startups goal is precisely to introduce innovative and disruptive approaches quickly, with few processes and control precisely the opposite of the aforementioned stability.

The added value of such programs lies precisely in the fact that real innovation happens in this common space, between successful companies and ambitious startups, but still lacking size and scale.