The WFP Innovation Challenge 2021 IS in search of game-changing ideas to build stronger, more sustainable food systems addressing hunger, and in preparation for the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit.
The fact that 690 million people still go to bed hungry each night suggests that food systems — the path that food travels from field to our plates — are not meeting the needs of all people. We have seen that some food systems can easily be disrupted by climate shocks, COVID-19 and violent conflict. Even in stable environments, people have limited access to nutritious food because of geographic isolation, socioeconomic inequalities, or weak commercial markets.
This year’s campaign challenges us to innovatively rethink our food systems. We are looking for disruptive innovations for fighting hunger in areas such as resilience to shocks and stress; access to safe and nutritious food; and advancing equitable livelihoods for all.
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- Funding: Apply to receive up to $100,000 in equity-free funding, with further funding dependent upon progress and measurable achievement of key targets.
- Access to WFP Operations: Teams will work with WFP units on the ground to further develop and refine their solutions.
- Hands-On Support: You’ll have the chance to work with technical and industry mentors who will provide guidance and accelerate your progress.
- Networking: Teams will be able to tap into and leverage our strong network of public, private, and government partners to accelerate implementation.
How it works
- Apply for an Innovation Bootcamp: Our Innovation Bootcamps are five-day, high-intensity workshops to help your team dive deep into challenges, ideate solutions and refine your project plans. Twice a year, we source up to 10 teams based on a competitive application process with a one percent acceptance rate, offering a life-changing experience with expert mentors and facilitators. Over 50 percent of participating teams go on to receive funding and support.
- Take the stage at an exclusive pitch event: On the last day of each Innovation Bootcamp, you’ll have the chance to pitch your project to an audience of potential partners, investors, and officials at an exclusive, invite-only pitch event. Take the stage to tell your story and compete for non-dilutive cash awards. We provide dedicated coaching and mentorship to help you develop and refine your winning pitch.
- Sprint from idea to impact:Our Sprint Programme is an intense six-month acceleration programme that matches innovators and startups with exceptional support to sprint from idea to impact. Apply to our Sprint Programme for access to US $100,000 in funding, world-class mentors, results-driven programming, and WFP’s vast field operations. On average, our Sprint projects hit 69 percent of their targets within six months.
- Zero in on what works, pre-scale: The pre-scale phase is a period to retool and prepare your project before full entry to the Scale-Up Enablement Programme. We provide access to best-in-class mentors and experts to help you zero in on what works and map out your path to scale.
- Scale-up for global impact: We select high-impact innovations for our Scale-Up Enablement Programme, featuring tailored strategic planning, fundraising, communications, knowledge management and mentorship support. We scale-up innovations that have the potential to significantly disrupt hunger by improving the livelihoods of over 100,000 people, increasing efficiency and effectiveness across multiple countries. On average, our scale-up projects raised US $2 million in funding in 2019 alone.
If you are a start-up…
- Your start-up must be incorporated at the time of application. It can be for profit or not-for-profit.
- Your innovation must at least be at the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage. Proof-of-concept and initial traction is preferred.
- Your solution should be financially viable.
- Your proposal must show how working with WFP will serve your long-term strategy.
If you are a WFP employee…
- Your team must have evidence of Country Office support and management buy-in.
- You are encouraged to apply, regardless of your contract type or function.
- We accept project applications from WFP employees who are collaborating with NGOs, government or private sectors.
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How we select innovations
Applications submitted to the WFP Innovation Accelerator are assessed according to a standard set of criteria, and are reviewed by both WFP and external experts. Please note that we prioritize projects that are designed alongside our core users—vulnerable communities—and that show initial traction and market validation to ensure impact and maximize cost effectiveness. We are looking for innovations that meet the following expectations:
- Impact for the people we serve and potential to reach Zero Hunger
- Feasibility, including time to deliver impact, technology maturity, and user traction
- Level of innovation
- Financial sustainability with a clear business case that does not rely on WFP funding
- Team strength, experience, and commitment
Start-Ups and CompaniesDo you have an innovation that can end hunger? We want to support you. APPLY
WFP EmployeesAre you an innovator at WFP? Let’s work together to design bold solutions. APPLY