MODIIN, Israel – In anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Modern Agriculture Foundation (MAF), an Israeli non-profit dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship and innovation within the alternative protein industry in Israel and globally, together with Tnuva Ventures, Tnuva Group's foodtech venture capital fund, announce a new initiative honoring Israel’s leading female figures in the nation’s thriving foodtech industry.
From a broad pool of candidates including those well established in their field along with up-and-coming industry movers and shakers pioneering promising innovations, judges will select 12 women driving Israel’s success as a foodtech powerhouse. Tivall, a leading Israeli manufacturer of plant-based foods, has also signed on as a sponsor of the initiative.
“The recognition of these accomplished women embraces the fact that there are myriad routes to meaningful impact in foodtech, including research, development, entrepreneurship, investment, mentoring, policy, and more, all building a strong sector with the potential to address global challenges such as food security, climate crisis, supply chain issues, and health,” remarked Levana Shifman, who heads up the event on behalf of MAF. “Diversity engenders creative, outside-the-box solutions which characterize the StartUp Nation. We look forward to honoring women’s essential contributions in the exciting mosaic of Israel’s foodtech ecosystem.”
According to a 2022 report by the Israel Innovation Authority, women have comprised only one-third of Israel’s high-tech workforce for the last several years, a figure that declines at higher levels of the seniority scale. Compared to other global tech leaders, Israel has fewer female entrepreneurs, and their companies raise less funding. On the other hand, positive signs include increasing enrollment of Israeli women in relevant academic fields. Numerous leading foodtech companies in Israel were founded by women, including Aleph Farms, Sea2Cell, ProFuse Technology, and SavorEat.
Female-led companies comprised forty percent of MAF’s first cohort of the Better Plate alternative protein track within MassChallenge Israel’s Accelerator last year, including competition winner PoLoPo, co-founded by Raya Liberman-Aloni and Maya SapirMir, and Fabumin, with co-founder Adi Yehezkeli.
“For years, food companies failed to tap into the full potential of female leadership,” said MAF advisory board member Carmit Oron, CEO of SaliCrop, an Israeli startup developing innovative solutions to crop resiliency. “At the same time, female-led companies are at a major disadvantage when it comes to funding.”
In 2022, venture capital allocation for all-female leadership teams amounted to less than 2 percent of the $238.3 billion granted to American startups, representing a drop from 2.4 percent in 2021, according to PitchBook figures.
"I'm honored and proud to take part in this important initiative and represent Tnuva, which has championed the value of gender equality and diversity. Israel's foodtech ecosystem is blessed with talented women in various roles and positions. It's going to be a tough mission,” said Anat Ziv, Tnuva's head of corporate innovation, said of her judging responsibility. “International Women’s Day isn’t yet redundant. I look forward to advancing female leadership within the industry and I hope this undertaking will light the way and forge a path for other techs and industries to follow.”
Judges will convene in late February to select outstanding figures who will enjoy a festive and gourmet plant-based networking dinner to mark International Women’s Day featuring TED-style lectures and pitches.
Candidates may apply on their own behalf here until Feb. 25, and others are also invited to use the link to nominate visionary individuals. In addition, opportunities are available for corporations, financial institutions, media outlets, and law firms to support the initiative as sponsors.
The world’s first known NGO dedicated to advancing alternative proteins, Modern Agriculture Foundation is an Israeli non-profit which promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercial scale manufacturing in the young and thriving field. With its flagship Better Plate alternative protein track within MassChallenge Israel’s Accelerator, MAF nurtures early-stage startups developing transformational substitutes for traditional meat, dairy, and egg products to create a more sustainable, kinder food system.
About Tnuva Group
Founded 96 years ago, Tnuva Group is Israel's largest vertically integrated food manufacturer, with over $2 billion dollars in annual revenues and the broadest range of categories in the world for chilled and frozen products. Tnuva is also Israel's largest plant-based protein company, with 18 years of experience and market leadership.
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