The Thought For Food Challenge calls on the world’s best and brightest university students to form teams and develop breakthrough solutions that address the global challenge of feeding 9+ billion people by the year 2050.
By participating in the TFF Challenge, you enter into a world in which you can shine. You will work with world-class mentors to help turn your idea into a reality. You will have the chance to receive up to $25,000 in cash prizes, and you may be selected to participate in the TFF Bootcamp, an intense, 10 week startup training which culminates at the TFF Global Summit. You will also join a growing global movement, comprised of friends and supporters who share your passion to make the world a better place.
Register by October 31, 2016 to participate in the 2016/17 TFF Challenge. At least one member of your team must be signed up by this date.
2. Form your team
Create a team of 3-5 university students. Make sure to add them to your team page, and that you each fill out your profile.
3. Complete the Design Lab
Utilize the TFF Design Lab to take your Team’s idea and turn it into a reality. This includes talking to customers, ideation sessions, and building prototypes. Expert mentors will be available to help coach teams through this process.
4. Submit your pitch!
Submit your team’s Pitch by January 8, 2017, no later than 11:59pm PST. Pitch’s include 2 videos and several short text answers.
5. Ten Finalist Teams
Ten Finalist Teams will be selected by the Round 1 Judges to move on to the TFF Startup Bootcamp. Judges will review Team Pitch submissions to make their decision.
6. TFF Startup Bootcamp
The TFF Startup Bootcamp, valued at $10,000, will help all Finalist Teams further develop their project, and launch a social enterprise. Finalists will work with mentors from around the world, and the Bootcamp culminates with a week long, in-person training session.
7. TFF Global Summit
The ten Finalist Teams will receive an all expenses paid trip to the TFF Global Summit, where they will participate in world-changing dialogue with industry executives, entrepreneurs, and policy makers from around the world.
8. Final Pitch
To end the TFF Global Summit, all attention turns to the Finalist Teams as they pitch their business ventures live, on main stage, to win up to $15,000 in seed funding.
9. TFF Alumni Network
You will receive continual startup support from TFF, and gain special perks from partners, such as introductions to world-leading accelerator programs. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to be featured in international publications, and help define the future of food.
Prizes every step of the way
Startup Bootcamp & Travel
The ten Finalist Teams will receive an all expenses paid trip to the TFF Global Summit and participate in the TFF Startup Bootcamp, a prize valued at $10,000.
Thought For Food Awards
$10,000 Grand Prize $7,500 Runner-Up Prize
Selected by an esteemed panel of judges, based on which teams have the largest potential to help feed 9+ billion people by the year 2050.
Kirchner Food Fellows Award
Selected by the Kirchner Food Fellows, based on which team they identify as the most promising to invest in.
TFF commits to being at the cusp of new idea generation. You and your teammates will look to consolidate cutting-edge technologies and the latest resources to create a project that is fresh and exciting, in a way that has never been seen before.
Can the idea be implemented and scaled?
Food security solutions require short, medium, and long-term goals that shouldn’t end when the competition is over. Your project should be implementable, with serious scalability potential on a global level.
Does the solution stand out from everything else out there?
You will be competing against some of the brightest minds. Your project should stand out among the wide array of proposals, providing game-changing solutions. It should embody a “wow” factor so that it gets noticed in a noisy world of innovation and startups.
Does your team demonstrate passion, curiosity and commitment to get it done?
Being an innovator is one of the most exciting and rewarding things someone can do. However, it is also a long and demanding job. Your team needs to demonstrate that it is able to withstand these challenges and truly deliver a solution that will improve lives.
Round 1 Judges
One Acre Fund
One Acre Fund
David grew up in Eastern and Southern Africa for 17 years. After high school, he returned to the U.S. to attend Columbia University, where he graduated as the valedictorian of his class with a degree in cultural anthropology. David then taught second grade in the Mississippi Delta for Teach For America. In 2011, he returned to Africa to join One Acre Fund, a nonprofit social enterprise that supplies smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to succeed. In 2012, David launched One Acre Fund's Tanzania program, which now serves over 25,000 farmers. He lives in Iringa, Tanzania with his wife, Sarah and new baby, Arthur.
Usha Devi Venkatachalam
Usha Devi Venkatachalam
Usha is CEO & CTO of Krishi Janani, a social enterprise that is harnessing technology to foster rural transformation in India by reducing costs and increasing income in farm households. Krishi Janani’s group purchasing platform enables farmers secure better deals from agriculture supply chains by aggregating supply and demand. Living between Coimbatore, India and Washington DC, Usha has 15+ years of experience in the non-profit technology sector, having worked with organizations such as Amnesty International, Heifer International, Oxfam USA, and Planned Parenthood. She is co-author of Making IT Our Own: Information & Communication Technology Training of Trainers Manual, which has been adapted and translated into Arabic, French, and Russian.
Adam Little works at the intersection of accelerating technologies and veterinary medicine to help solve some of our world’s biggest problems. His entrepreneurial approach to global animal health creates more opportunities for veterinarians to tackle challenges ranging from companion animal medicine to food security and infectious disease spread.
As a champion for the evolution of his profession, Little sees a near future in which real-time, personalized medicine for each animal on this planet is possible. And he believes veterinarians are the drivers of that future, leading global change that will benefit every man, woman, child, and animal.
Little found his passion during veterinary school, identifying a number of challenges in the veterinary space for both those providing and receiving care, and became motivated to rethink how we can provide the best care possible. He went on to lead the team creation of the first IBM Watson project in the veterinary space, which grew to nearly 100 people. As founder and president of Exponential Vet Inc.—a consultancy create to help bridge the gap between early-stage technology companies and animal health—he works with clients in the areas of telemedicine, point of care diagnostics, sensors, and data analytics. He has recently accepted a position as a faculty member at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences where he will serve as Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Little holds a graduate degree from Ontario Veterinary College and completed the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinarians Without Borders, and is a consultant with Exponential Organizations.
The Food Mint
The Food Mint
Erin is the founder and CEO of The Food Mint, a consultancy that helps food startups grow by focusing on marketing and sales strategy and implementation. Prior to The Food Mint, Erin co-founded Norm’s Farms (a superfruit startup dedicated to commercializing the American elderberry), and spent two years working with investment firms focused on supporting local food, food security initiatives, and consumer packaged goods businesses.
Erin graduated from Reed College (2008) with a B.A. in Religion. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (2015) with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management. She was a 2014 Kirchner Food Fellow and 2015 Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium Next Generation Delegate and has served as a judge, mentor, panelist, and speaker at food-focused conferences and start-up competitions around the world.
Global Open Data for Ag and Nutrition
Global Open Data for Ag and Nutrition
Mr. André Laperrière joined the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative as its first Executive Director, in September 2015. During his career, Mr. Laperrière has led/managed numerous projects on behalf of large Private Corporations and subsequently, within the United Nations and the World Bank. In this context he played a senior role in the design and the implementation of major reforms within a number of agencies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. He has extensive work experience in the Americas, Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, in particular in developing countries and in conflict/post conflict environments.
Before joining GODAN, Mr. Laperrière was Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Washington DC. Among other positions, he has also been the first Executive Director of the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Director of the Administration and Finance Division in the World Health Organization (WHO), and Coordinator for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities under the responsibility of UNICEF in Iraq.
Prior to his career in the UN, Mr. Laperrière was Director in the International Services of Price Waterhouse. In this position, he led multiple large scale business evaluations, privatizations, mergers and structural reform projects in Europe, Africa, the Americas and Caribbean. Mr. Laperrière was born in Canada, where he completed post graduate studies in Administration and in Industrial Relations. Mr. Laperrière is an expert in international development.
Good Growth Plan, Syngenta
Good Growth Plan, Syngenta
Dr. Shachi Gurumayum Sharma is the Head of the Good Growth Plan in Africa Middle East for Syngenta, a global agribusiness company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. The Good Growth Plan is an industry-leading initiative to drive and measure the impact of Syngenta’s activities in six key areas related to sustainable food security. Dr. Sharma has over 14 years of commercial and technical experience in four continents spanning the chemical industry, oil & gas and agriculture. Over the last seven years, he has worked in various roles in Africa Middle East covering strategy, business development, stakeholder partnerships, and was responsible for establishing and leading Syngenta Nigeria Limited during its formative years.
Dr. Sharma holds a B.Sc. (Honours) in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, India, an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Formulation Science from the University of Bristol, England, and an MBA in Strategy & Marketing from HEC Paris, France. He has also attended executive courses at Purdue University and INSEAD. Dr. Sharma is also actively involved in supporting humanitarian causes in Manipur, and has been regularly mentoring start-up agribusinesses in Asia and Africa for the last five years.
Roswitha is currently a Project Manager with Rabobank, where she helped build and develop a new company named Arise, which she will join full-time in January 2017. Arise is an investment and development company set up by Rabobank, Norfund and FMO. Arise focuses on taking strategic minority stakes in financial institutions in Sub Sahara Africa with the main goal to stimulate rural development, expand access to financial services and support job creation.
After receiving MSc degrees in International Finance and Business Economics from the University of Groningen and the University of Uppsala, Roswitha started her career as a Corporate Management Trainee at Rabobank, the world leading Food & Agri bank. After four rotations in the traineeship she started as a strategy consultant for Rabobank, focusing on international rural and retail business. Over these years, Roswitha’s main area of interest has been on food security in emerging markets. She led the Rabobank Young Professional team during the Partnership-election in 2014 and competed with the business case on how to provide finance to smallholder rice farmers in Zambia.