UN FAO and Zhejiang University Announce Global AgriInno Challenge

UN FAO and Zhejiang University Announce Global AgriInno Challenge

The UN FAO and Zhejiang University announce Global AgriInno Challenge 2020. This is to harness innovation solutions in response to the challenges associated with ‘distribution and sales of agri-food products’. The selected teams will develop and pitch their digital development solutions in Zhejiang Province, China on 27-28 November 2020 with all relevant expenses covered. Winning teams will receive seed funding, and the opportunity to participate in a one-week agro-bootcamp and world study tour.

The Global AgriInno Challenge

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 support with digital innovative solutions.

Therefore, the Global AgriInno Challenge focuses on identifying, accelerating and scaling-up youth-led innovative business models and digital solutions to unlock the potentials of agri-food innovation. This is to address the challenges of distribution and sales of agri-food products. For this challenge, the FAO, in partnership with Zhejiang University, seeks to implement the following actions:

  1. share the latest information, knowledge and best practices in agri-food innovation, technology and business models;
  2. build an enable environment through Public-Private Partnership and co-creation opportunities with diverse participants, practitioners and experts;
  3. engage and empower the young agripreneurs and innovators to tackle development challenges through FAO and partners’ global network and continuous support during and after the innovation challenge.

What Are The Requirements?

The Global AgriInno Challenge 2020 is open for all youth with digital innovations or ideas for 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. You will find below the selection criteria for the final competition in China:

  • Team has registered as a company or the project has been operational for 2-5 years.
  • Theme of this year is distribution and sales of agri-food products.
  • The team needs to harness digital technology to solve a problem relating to agri-food products 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 minimum 2 people, maximum 5 people to participate on-site.
  • The feasibility and ability of the 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.

Ideally, the team should be composed of the following skill set:

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

Benefits for Participation

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

  • 2-day professional development on 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
    • travel expenses: round-trip flight and/or train; local transportation fee (taxi/bus/subway);
    • accommodation and meals;
    • visa application fees as applicable for international participants.
  • Access to open data sets from FAO and other partners.
  • Advice from experienced experts from 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 agri-food sector who may invest in your solutions.
  • Opportunity to build your global network in smart agriculture with a multitude of stakeholders.
  • Top winner teams will receive seed funding (the amount will be communicated at later stage).
  • The top winner 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.

How to Apply

The leader of 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):

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

For More Information about the Global AgriInno Challenge 2020, visit the official FAO website.

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