ScaleNL Connect: Chicago 2023


Who is this program for?

The ScaleNL Connect: Chicago 2023 program is for tech startups incorporated in the Netherlands. Your startup must be working on sustainable agri-food solutions, have proven traction according to the program requirements (see below), and plan to do business in the US.

This can include activity in:

  • New food innovations and ingredient suppliers
  • Food & beverage manufacturing and processing
  • Packaging materials manufacturers & suppliers
  • Food waste solutions
  • Agri-food supply chain solutions
  • Sustainability and ClimateTech in Agriculture
  • Health & Nutrition 
  • Food safety
  • Consumer insights and education in agri-food
  • Food tech
  • Equipment manufacturers / suppliers
  • Have an interest in creating lead generations to the US.

How many companies are selected in the program? 

A maximum of 10 companies will be selected for this program. 

What are the costs each company will incur by joining the program?

Startups are responsible for the costs of their own flights to Chicago and local accommodation. Through our global ScaleNL partnership with citizenM, we have arranged a discounted rate for accommodation. You will also need a small budget for local transportation and meals when not organized by the program. 

The program itself: sessions, networking events, matchmaking sessions, etc. will be covered by the Dutch government.

Who participates in the program?

The main participant in the program should be a founder of the startup. We ask this founder to be committed, responsive and present. They will attend the sessions, travel to Chicago for the last week of the program, and be the main point of contact for the program team.

What is the selection process?

We will select a maximum of 10 Dutch startups based on the predefined criteria and motivation. Thus, the application form is the strongest touchpoint and impression for your startup to be selected in this program. 

Selection Timeline (preliminary)

> April 17 Applications open 

> May 10: Early applications selection closing. We’ll be making a first selection of teams. (Headstart for startups to plan trip)


> June 5: Selected teams announced

> June 29: 1st Preparation Session (in person, in The Netherlands)

> July 6: 2nd Preparation Session (online)

> July 13: 3rd Preparation Session (online)

> July 16 – 21: Trip to Chicago (full-time availability)

*Dates subject to slight changes due to external circumstances; the final details of the program will be announced to the selected teams.

What can I expect from this program? 

As one of the ten companies participating in the program, our goal is to get you ready to do business in the U.S. from day one. We have the network, resources and time to focus on each company’s unique needs.

Our program is built around matchmaking sessions for your startups, networking events in Chicago, and training sessions with seasoned U.S. market experts. The highlight of the program is the US Business trip to Chicago to participate in one of the largest food tech trade shows – IFT First

You will participate in: 

  • 3 weeks of intensive focus on the US market 
  • Virtual and face-to-face sessions in the Netherlands
  • One week business trip to Chicago 
  • Personalized matchmaking meeting during the IFT First trade show
  • Introduction to the local ecosystem through curated networking events
  • Company visits

Selection Criteria

Your application to participate in the ScaleNL Connect: Chicago 2023 program will be reviewed based on the following criteria. 

  1. Industry vertical in the agri-food industry
  • Food industry innovations (new ingredients, food quality, food waste, etc.) 
  • Agricultural innovations in the food supply chain (regenerative agriculture, etc.)
  • Efficiency in the food supply chain
  1. Interest in creating lead generations to the US (that is either demonstrated through market research or market demand).
  2. Company specs
  • Innovative solution with a competitive advantage, also in the US market. 
  • Market interest from the US or strategic focus on US market
  • EUR 500k Funding raised


  • EUR 500k committed / signed revenue 


  • Paid Pilot


  • Signed commercial partnership
Apply now