More than a year and a half since the launch of our acceleration program, our team has been strengthened in order to offer a new type of support: Claire Maugras has been joined by Claire Van Overstraeten who takes on the role of program manager (there’s a great pun in French with their first names, but unfortunately, it’s lost in translation). The new Claire’s area of expertise will in particular be centred on post-acceleration and intrapreneurship support.

Claire Van Overstraeten: the finger on the pulse of the “network”

If you don’t already know Claire VO, here is a short introduction. As one the first to join the Vitagora team many moons ago, first as project manager, then project team leader, Claire has acquired an enviable level of knowledge of Vitagora’s extensive food business network, as well as the inner workings of innovation project funding options. Labs, R&D centres, SMEs, multinationals etc. – no-one has a better grasp of their areas of expertise, their innovation strategies and priorities than Claire.
By joining the ToasterLAB team, Claire will be putting this knowledge to good use for the program’s startups. Following their initial intensive acceleration phase (organised and lead by Claire Maugras), our startup “students” pass into the capable hands of Claire VO for the additional 9 months of post-acceleration.
“Each month, I cover a number of points with each startup. We talk about their current problems, their development plan and any recent changes. The idea is to bounce around ideas to meet their needs and to give them an extra boost, in particular through targeting business contacts with our network’s players.”

Intrapreneurship: helping teams to see clearly

Claire VO is also developing a new service within ToasterLAB: supporting intrapreneurship teams. For several months, she has been building her own knowledge and experience on this area.
“Intrapreneurship consists of mimicking the actions of a startup while staying within the structure of a large company for whom you may work. Intrapreneurs innovate much like entrepreneurs… There is a lot of work to be done to increase the acceptance of intrapreneurship in business, in particular for the food sector”, she admits. “Some people see intrapreneurs as a force for disruption, and don’t understand their need to spend so much time on a project outside of their original job description, or why this should use up company resources.”
Hence the need to provide structure and support. “Best practices, feedback from companies and people who have experience in this area, and one-on-one support on methods, building business models etc. And also providing moral support so they don’t lose confidence in the approach. This is the basis of my role towards intrapreneurs who also follow the same acceleration program modules as the startups.”
To find out more about Claire VO’s intrapreneurship support offer, you can contact her directly by email at


By Christophe Breuillet

Managing director of Vitagora and AcceleRise, Christophe is the big boss! His various areas of expertise cover innovation and food business development, internationalisation and influence strategies… basically Food “Business” with a capital B! You can contact him at: