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Juliana Romero Guzmán tells us about her journey that has led to CEO of her start-up Cano-ela, processing oil-rich seeds in an innovative way.

Born in Mexico, PhD in the Netherlands and a successful start-up after her participation in the Global Food Venture Programme (GFVP). 

06 May 2024

How did you get to know EIT Food and GFVP?



‘I’m originally from Mexico, but I came to the Netherlands for my Master in Food Technology and Sustainable Food Processing at the University of Wageningen. By the way, I love it here! 

After that, I started a PhD with the topic ‘Designing a sustainable oleosome aqueous extraction -A new way to make emulsion-based foods’. 

In 2019, while I was still doing my PhD, I was looking for a programme where I could learn more about entrepreneurship. A friend of mine recommended the GFVP Programme. The deadline for application was the day after, so I applied and I got in!’

Photo Credits : Jacqueline Fuijkschot

What motivated you to participate?


‘Through my studies, I observed a number of trends in the food industry. 

I had always wanted to give entrepreneurship a try and I even took an entrepreneurship course at university, but my main focus had been on research for four years

That’s why I wanted to dust off the old knowledge, get acquainted with new skills and get more familiar with the entrepreneurial world.’

Did the programme live up to those expectations?

‘Very much so! It was just great. I also got the opportunity to travel to Spain for a 12-day training. It all was very inspiring and hands-on. The first part of the programme gave us the basics. We went to a business school and had several workshops about entrepreneurship. For example, we learned about defining your value proposition. It gave me the right tools to start thinking about founding my own company. The second part of the programme, in 2020, was taking it a step further. We learned about topics like value creation and the legal side of a start-up. That provided me with all the tools to be able to think from a business perspective.’

It must have been hectic times for you!



‘That’s right, my PhD graduation was in April 2020, and I participated in the second part of the GFVP programme in June 2020, while also creating my business plan and launching Cano-ela

So I was very busy but it was also very helpful to do both at the same time. I had workshops about pitching and financing that were immediately applicable to my first steps with Cano-ela.’

Juliana C Jacqueline Fuijkschot
“All those EIT Food programmes brought me a lot of tools, skills and contacts that were instrumental in my journey as an entrepreneur.I had workshops about pitching and financing that were immediately applicable to my first steps with Cano-ela.”
Juliana Romero Guzmán, CEO Cano-ela, Alumna GFVP

Was the EIT Food network also helpful for your start-up?

‘Yes, that was definitely the case. After the GFVP programme I also participated in the Seedbed programme. 

It was perfect for finetuning my value proposition and it brought me in contact with a lot of people. 

In the next phase, I joined the Food Accelerator Network programme, which helped me accelerate and validate my concept. 

All those EIT Food programmes brought me a lot of tools, skills and contacts that were instrumental in my journey as an entrepreneur.’

What is the current stage of your startup and what are your ultimate goals?

‘We are now preparing for market launch. By selling our products - Cano-creamCano-soluble, and Cano-fiber - to food producing companies, we want to enhance responsible consumption and production. In the meantime we did grow to a team of 9 people.

Our production process aims to use 100% of the resources while helping the final consumers to eat healthy and sustainable food products

Everything has an impact on the environment, but the impact of our food system is huge. That’s why we are using the total canola crop instead of just the seed. We are also applying a simpler extraction process that results in lower CO2 emissions and preserves more nutrients.’

Editor's Note - About Cano-ela

Cano-ela is a food tech company that aims to remove refined ingredients from the food supply chain by processing oil-rich seeds in an innovative way.
Oil-rich seeds contain all of the building blocks to create foods (i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, and fats). However, conventional extraction only extracts one component – vegetable oil – from the seeds. The result is big streams with poor functionality.
Our unique process allows us to extract innovative ingredients out of seeds. This enables food companies to create the next generation of plant-based foods, which are more natural and sustainable.

The sustainable clean label

Cano-ela's process aims to be zero waste. This means that everything that is harvested will be used for food purposes.

The focus of their process is the extraction of natural seed structures with high techno- and bio-functionality.

Companies using their ingredients can give their products a shorter, simpler, and more plant-based ingredients list. This means that the ingredients are expected and familiar to consumers and there are not any chemical-sounding artificial ingredients.

This way, we help food companies to clean their label and reduce their environmental impact

Why canola?

Canola belongs to the same family as mustard, broccoli, and turnip. 

Moreover, canola seeds have many health benefits, as it consists of high levels of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and essential amino acids

Currently, canola is one of the major crops produced all over the world for manufacturing vegetable oils and feed products

However, we believe that because of its nutritional profile, canola has the potential to play a key role in the transition to a more plant-based diet.