Dec 8, 2016

Urban Entrepreneurs from India gather in Manesar & Bangalore

Following our Lift India endeavours in 2015 , Lift teamed up with swissnex India to organize two ideation workshops in Bangalore and Manesar about the future of food in urban settings in the context of Urban Entrepreneurs. These workshops were possible thanks to the great support of our partners Buhler who will sponsor the selected teams and Nestle India for hosting us. 

With an increasing population and finite resources, usage of advanced technologies can provide new solutions to solve these challenges. The focus of these workshops covered three themes that addressed the WHERE, HOW and WHAT of food:

  • Innovative food production
  • Food safety and traceability
  • Low environmental impact agriculture

We received over 200 applications from enthusiastic innovators to join the workshops. With only 32 spots available for each of the two workshops, we set up a selection process based on a set of prerequisites: on the merit of the idea, work done so far, relevance to the workshop and end user benefit.


We were impressed by the background diversity of the participants: ranging from food technology, architecture, urban design, IT, biochemistry to brand consulting; and even farmers! This diversity shows that technology, food and its future challenges concern everyone and we are delighted to involve them in the development of new solutions.


Thanks to the great support of Buhler India, the best project from our Indian workshops will be invited to take their idea to the next level at the Lift:Lab in Geneva.




The first workshop took place in Manesar at the Nestle R&D Center on the 3rd of December 2016.

We welcomed participants from Delhi NCR and from as far as Roorkee and Dehradun. Hemanth Nagaraja, Head of corporate Technology from Buhler India set the tone for the workshop by running the participants through the Business Model Canvas (BMC). Dr. Bhavna Sharma, Specialist, Applied Nutrition from Nestle R&D India followed up with several examples of innovation used to make products healthier – low salt and sugar, fat substitutes, manufacturing functional food amongst many.

The 32 participants were separated into teams where they worked on the business model canvas (BMC) to ideate and develop as many ideas as possible within a period of time. Experts on sight also gave their inputs and shared their experience in order to help and give new ideas to the teams. After polishing their ideation projects and receiving feedback from the experts, the participants were ready to pitch their ideas in 2 minutes.


Ideas could be clearly classified into product and process innovations.

Product ideas included:

  • New health foods incorporating high protein
  • Complex curries
  • Fat substitutes

while process ideas included:

  • allotment gardens
  • Using super-heated steam to make snacks
  • Integrating urban gardens in a modular way


The Bangalore workshop ran on the 4th of December 2016 turned out to be as much of a success as the Manesar workshop with enthusiastic participants flocking into swissnex India’s cheerful office from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mysore and Chennai.

Following a similar format, Dr. Bhavna Sharma was back again to lead the workshop with the help of Anurag Bhatnagar, Strategic Business Development Lead at Buhler Group, Dr. Balz Strasser, CEO swissnex Inda, and Prof. Jaykumar.

The ideas in Bangalore were more focused on environment and community. Some of the ideas generated included:

  • Terrace gardening
  • Converting waste to compost
  • Increasing green cover
  • Community gardens managed by migrant populations

What Happens Next?

Workshops participants now have a week to submit their project ideas. A jury will select a project and it's team based on a set of criterias to fly to Geneva in March 2017 to participate in the Lift:Lab, where they will further develop their proposition and take it from an idea to a prototype. The selected team will be announced on December 21, 2016.

We will shortly share the video recap from Bangalore and Manesar! In the mean time have a look at the photos here and the swissnex recap here!

Special thanks to our great partner swissnex India and our community partners: Internet Of Things - Bangalore, Jaaga Startup, 100 Open Startups, The Indian Institute of Management, and Excubator.