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Open Call for Global AgriInno Challenge 2020

Join now, and you will have the chance to share information and enhance your knowledge on smart agriculture, innovation and start-up practice through a unique global network composed of United Nations’ mentors, leading angel investors, academic experts and youth agripreneurs from the global agri-food sector.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Zhejiang University, are co-organizing the Global AgriInno Challenge 2020 to harness innovation solutions in response to the challenges associated with 'distribution and sales of agri-food products'.

Please submit your team’s application by 17 October 2020 (24:00 CEST).

The selected teams will be invited to further develop and pitch their digital development solutions in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, China on 27-28 November 2020 with all relevant expenses covered. Winning teams will be granted seed funding, and the opportunity to participate in a one-week agro-bootcamp and world study tour. So, are you ready to join us?

Remote participation is an option for international teams due to COVID-19 pandemic.

See the guidelines below and register your team now!

1. Background

The agricultural sector is going to face enormous challenges to feed the projected 9.6 billion people who will inhabit the planet by 2050, requiring a 60% increase in food. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in severe economic and social distress around the world, including negative impacts on agri-food systems. Logistic transportation and sale channels have been seriously hindered, while the demand for agricultural products has increased dramatically.

On the other hand, innovation, digital technology and entrepreneurship have become even more important in accelerating and the transformation of agri-food systems, by increasing productivity and effectiveness. All these efforts contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During this process, youth plays an important role and therefore it is essential to provide it support with digital innovative solutions.

Aimed at identifying, accelerating and scaling-up youth-led innovative business models and digital solutions to unlock the potentials of agri-food innovation to address the challenges of distribution and sales of agri-food products, FAO, in partnership with Zhejiang University is organizing the 2020 Global AgriInno Challenge implementing the following actions:

  • sharing the latest information, knowledge and best practices in agri-food innovation, technology and business models;
  • building an enabling environment through Public-Private-Partnership and co-creation opportunities with diverse participants, practitioners and experts;
  • cengaging and empowering the young agripreneurs and innovators to tackle development challenges through FAO and partners’ global network and continuous support during and after the innovation challenge.

2. Benefits for participation

The selected teams to attend the final competition in China will benefit from:

  • 2-day professional development on around your team’s solution through an approach of co-creation with other young agripreneurs/innovators and experienced experts worldwide. All expenses for attending this final competition in China will be covered, including a) travel expenses: round-trip flight and/or train; local transportation fee (taxi/bus/subway); b) accommodation and meals; c) visa application fees as applicable for international participants.
  • The access to open data sets from FAO and other partners.
  • Advice from experienced experts from the UN, international organizations, the private sector and academia, and the chance to have a dialogue with high-level representatives from leading companies and organizations.
  • The chance to meet top angel investors from venture capital funds and business leaders in the agri-food sector who may invest in your solutions.
  • The chance to build your global network in smart agriculture with a multitude of stakeholders.
  • The top winning teams will receive seed funding (the amount will be communicated at a later stage).
  • The top winning teams will have the chance to pitch their solutions in front of high-level officials and representatives at the International Rural Development Forum 2020 on Nov 29 in China.
  • The top winning teams will have the opportunity to join a one-week agro-bootcamp and World Study Tour (training, travel and accommodation covered) in 2021 to visit FAO and meet world-leading companies and organizations in the agri-food innovation sector.

3. Who can apply?

The Global AgriInno Challenge 2020 is open for all youth with digital innovations or ideas for the agri-food sector. English and Chinese are the two working languages during the Global AgriInno Challenge 2020. However, all the proposals and presentations will be conducted in English. The selection criteria for the final competition in China are as follows:

  • The team has registered as a company or the project has been operational for 2-5 years.
  • The theme of this year is the distribution and sales of agri-food products.
  • The team needs to harness digital technology to solve a problem relating to agri-food product distribution and sales.
  • Teams with female agripreneurs are highly encouraged.
  • One leader of the group must be below 35 years old.
  • Each team should be composed of a minimum of 2 people, maximum of 5 people to participate on-site.
  • The feasibility and ability of technology to solve the problem of the distribution and sales of agri-food products must be clearly presented.
  • The possibility of replication or scaling-up the business model must be demonstrated.

Note: Any adjustments to the rules will be updated through http://www.fao.org/e-agriculture/. Also, all the participants will be notified in time through e-mails.

Ideally, the team should be composed of the following skillset:

  • Human-centered design
  • Agri-food products distribution and sales
  • Agri-food business models development
  • Software programming/data engineering

4. How to apply?

The team leader needs to fill the Application Form, with the Digital Development Solution (in PPT format) and a video, sending these to global_agriinno_challenge@zju.edu.cn and copying lu.jiang@fao.org by 17 October 2020 (24:00 CEST).

The documentation to submit should include (in English):

1. Application Form(you may scan QR code on time 8 or download through attachment to get the application form)

2. Digital Development Solution (PowerPoint of max 12 slides, up to 250 words per slide, Microsoft YaHei Font,fontsize not less than 16)

  • Summary of the solution (up to 250 words)
  • Mission, vision, values of the project (the type of agriculture activity/sub-sector targeted)
  • Problem identification
  • Technical model
  • Timing justification (Why is this moment the best time?)
  • Business plan
  • Financial situation (capital raised, capital needed, revenue analysis)
  • Phased development planning

3. 1-2 minutes long video explaining:

  • Why should your team be selected? Answer this question in a 1-2 minutes long video. Upload the video online to a video sharing platform (YouTube, Google Cloud, Youku, Baidu Cloud or other) and share the address of the link.

Find the original post on the FAO website