ScaleNL Connect Chicago 2023

Your warm intro to Chicago!

Applications are open for the ScaleNL Connect: Chicago 2023 Program! This 4-week program will prepare 10 Dutch agri-food startups for a week-long business trip to Chicago, centered around the IFT FIRST international trade show in July 2023. 

Apply now and get all the program details here!


About IFT

IFT Chicago is the conference that addresses the needs of the global food system. Taking place July 16-19, this year’s edition will bring innovators from around the world to Chicago’s McCormick Place. More than 800 exhibitors (Cargill, Ingredion, and more) will join 100 startups in front of more than 17,000 attendees.

Up to 10 startups will be selected to participate in the 4 week program this summer. Starting with 3 preparatory sessions over 3 weeks in the Netherlands, followed by a week in Chicago where you’ll attend the IFT FIRST international trade show, meet with local personalized matches, visit local companies, and network with VCs.

Get ready to expand your network and learn how to successfully scale in the US AgriFood Industry – apply now for a chance to join the ScaleNL Connect: Chicago 2023 program!

Apply now
Networking event ScaleNL Connect Chicago

Get introduced to the agri-food capital of the US!


What’s in Chicago?

Chicago is the heart of America’s food value chain, with a high density of food, beverage, and agricultural companies. They leverage the region’s vast transportation, distribution and logistics ecosystem to get their products to market. When it comes to food, the city has a deep talent pool, a vast landscape of corporate partners, and an accessible entrepreneurial ecosystem.

More than 70 incubators and accelerators, 24 corporate innovation centers, and more than 60 VCs call Chicago home. 

Among the food and beverage giants that call Chicago home are: Mondelez, McDonalds, Kraft Heinz, ADM, Conagra, Kellogg, MillerCoors, along with large footprints from companies like Mars, PepsiCo, and Beam Suntory. 

This makes the city a natural landing spot for startups with a solution or market interest in the agri-food industry.

Apply now
Chicago Cloud Gate Sculpture


Is this program for you?

ScaleNL Connect: Chicago 2023 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.

Apply now
ScaleNL Connect Chicago 2023

What to expect from the program

Our goal is to get you ready to do business in the US! We have the network, resources and time to focus on your company's unique needs.

Our 4 week program is built around personalized matchmaking sessions for your startups, networking events in the Netherlands and introduction to the local ecosystem Chicago, and trainings with seasoned U.S. market experts. The highlight of the program is the US Business trip to Chicago to attend one of the largest food tech trade shows – IFT First.

Key Dates

April 17, 2023
Applications Open
May 24, 2023
June 5, 2023
Selected teams announced
June 29, 2023
1st Preparation Session (in person in the Netherlands)
July 6, 2023
2nd Preparation Session (online)
July 13, 2023
3rd Preparation Session (online)
July 16 - 21, 2023
Trip to Chicago (full-time availability)

Check the full FAQ here


ScaleNL is the first public-private organization to help promising Dutch tech startups enter the US market.

With a dedicated entrepreneurial network, a US Market entry academy, and customized programs & events, ScaleNL is the leading Dutch tech accelerator organizer for startups focused on US expansion. Our network expands from coast to coast and there’s always an opportunity for your startup to take the next step! Read about the recent ScaleNL Accelerator East Coast 2023 program for a look at the cohort’s achievements.