The parent company of the self-service wholesaler Makro, the German Metro Group, is entering into a collaboration with StartLife, the Wageningen organization for startups in the food and agriculture sector. The deal makes it easier for starter entrepreneurs to test their products in Makro stores.
‘The deal with StartLife means that for the next three years Metro will be at the cutting edge when it comes to innovation in the food sector,’ says StartLife director Jan Meiling. According to Meiling, large companies want to innovate faster and smarter because they fear competition from newcomers such as Hello Fresh. ‘They deliver straight to the consumer and skip the whole retail chain. That concept has woken up companies like Metro.’
Metro will pay StartLife an annual partnership fee. It is not a fortune, says Meiling. ‘The amount is less than 100,000 euros. It is a symbolic sum to show that we both intend to take our collaboration seriously.’ The collaboration will provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs, says Meiling. ‘If a startup wants to test a new product, that will soon be possible in special places in Dutch Makros. And if a products turns out to be a success, this collaboration can also lead to it getting onto the shelves of the Makro stores more quickly.’
The agreement with the Metro Group is the third partnership StartLife has entered into. The Rabobank and BDO accountants have already signed on the dotted line. A fourth deal is in the making too, says Meiling. ‘That is a large international company which will be moving to the campus. No, I’m not going to name names.’