• The companies Cichorium, Ekhi Gold, O’Taste and Ondoegone Laboratoire have all benefited from support and training from Agour Etxea, INTIA and AZTI as part of this business acceleration project.

Derio, 12 February 2024. The Inkuba Sarea project has selected the four emerging companies in the agri-food sector that will take part in this cross-border initiative led by Agour Etxea, the public company INTIA and AZTI. They are Cichorium, Ekhi Gold, O’Taste and Ondoegone Laboratoire.

All of them will be immersed for at least three weeks in each of the institutions promoting the initiative, which will provide them with training and support in the different phases necessary to bring their ideas to the market. In addition, each new member of the network will receive personalised monitoring and mentoring throughout the process of incubating, accelerating and internationalising the project.

The business acceleration programme for these start-ups began last Wednesday at AZTI facilities in Derio (Bizkaia). In the coming sessions, they will meet at the INTIA facilities in Villaba (Navarra) and Agour in Hélette (Iparralde) to continue the acceleration process. This covers all stages from product development to marketing, including prototyping of the project.

Each of these companies already has its own brand on the market, specialising in the production of chicory, gold chocolate, the processing of plant-based products and the processing of foods to reduce sugar or sodium.

Inkuba Sarea has received a grant of 75,000 euros within the framework of the Euroregional Call for Innovation Projects, which aims to contribute to the development of a competitive, sustainable and inclusive economy in the three territories through the implementation of collaborative driving projects based on the use of complementarities and synergies between all players.


Companies to be accelerated are:

CICHORIUM is a chicory company based in Tudela (Navarre), founded in 1998 by Philippe Blanquet. It is a certified producer of organic chicory, but Cichorium’s activity controls all the processes related to this crop: from the year-round supply of roots, both organic and conventional, to international consultancy and advice on this crop, as well as the implementation of international chicory production projects. CICHORIUM defines itself as the only certified organic chicory producer in Spain and Portugal.

EKHI GOLD is a company based in Bera (Navarre) that produces moulded chocolates completely covered in gold. Its creator, master chocolatier and pastry chef Juan Mari Iriarte, says that he was inspired to create the pralines by a sunset (hence the name Ekhi, which means sun in Basque), and since he did not want to use metallic dyes, he decided to use pure gold to melt into the chocolate. Ekhi Gold has grown by segmenting its offer for weddings, events, corporate gifts or gourmet shops, and all its products are patented. To develop these edible jewels, Iriarte was supported by specialists in nutrition, jewellery and food safety during the product development process over a period of five years prior to launch.

O’ TASTE is an Israeli startup that has developed an innovative, patented technology that allows products to be sweetened by minimising the amount of pure natural sugar and salt, while at the same time keeping the sodium content low. All this without substitutes or chemicals. They present this innovative double solution for the food industry through two business lines, O’Sweet and O’Salt. This start-up company was recently awarded a prize by the Basque Culinary Centre.

ONDOEGONE LABORATOIRE is a laboratory based in Uhart-Mixe (Iparralde) and currently works with two commercial brands: OndoTerra, a brand that offers natural products based on extracts and plants in the field of aromatherapy and phytotherapy. And a second brand, called Oihana, which values plants for smokers and is sold in tobacco shops. The company is committed to using environmentally friendly farming techniques on sustainable land.

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