Shs368 million up for grabs in WFP innovation challenge

Shs368 million up for grabs in WFP innovation challenge

In a statement, the WFP Innovation Accelerator said solutions which will be considered include mobile apps, artificial intelligence (AI) and post-harvest loss prevention among others. (Courtesy image)

The World Food Programme (WFP) has invited startups from all over the world to participate in an innovation challenge with the aim of identifying sustainable solutions to tackle global hunger.

Dubbed ‘the Global Innovation Challenge for Zero Hunger’, the challenge, which is run in partnership with US agriculture conglomerate Cargill, is mainly looking for proposals that can transform the lives of smallholder farmers and small-scale livestock producers, reach a step change in food systems or increase the effectiveness of emergency response.

Startups have until 28 February to apply.

In a statement, the WFP Innovation Accelerator said solutions which will be considered include mobile apps, artificial intelligence (AI) and post-harvest loss prevention among others.

The challenge is open to registered companies or non-profits with a minimum viable product. In addition, applicants must show initial evidence of their solutions, this will include the results of user research or tests of their prototypes.

Selected teams will participate in a joint bootcamp at the WFP Innovation Accelerator from 13 to 17 May in Munich, Germany.

During the bootcamp, the challenge finalists — with the assistance of industry experts — will tackle field-level challenges and refine project plans.

In addition, the finalists will also stand to receive up to $100 000 in zero-equity funding, as well as access to a global network to test their solution’s impact and scalability in the field.

Teams applying to the challenge must be a registered company, with a for-profit or not-for-profit designation, have a minimum viable product, and show initial evidence of their solution, such as results of user research or initial tests of their prototypes.

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David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP, said: “The world is never going to be fully at peace without ending hunger. It is a critical problem for every organization with a global interest, no matter what sector. We will never address this problem and solve it by the United Nations alone, nor by governments alone. The only way we will solve this is by the private sector being integrally engaged and involved. This is why we need to step it up to another level and be even more creative and innovative together.”

This new collaboration builds upon several other programmes Cargill and WFP have jointly launched since the partnership began in 2001.

To date, Cargill has provided more than US$12 million to WFP to improve the health and nutrition of people in need around the globe, with an emphasis on developing countries.

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