Overview of
TFF Challenge

Be Part of Our Revolution

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 for the 2016/17 TFF Challenge between September 14th, 2016 and November 30th, 2016 to create the food secure world you want to live in.

How it works

1. Sign up

Register by November 30, 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 Investments

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.

Take It To The Farmer Award

Selected by the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, based on which team they identify as having a strong impact directly on farmers.

Judging Criteria


How innovative is the solution, really?!

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.

Team Spirit

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

David Hylden

One Acre Fund

Usha Devi Venkatachalam

Krishi Janani

Adam Little

Exponential Vet

Erin Lenhardt

The Food Mint

Andre Laperriere

Global Open Data for Ag and Nutrition

Shachi Sharma

Good Growth Plan, Syngenta

Guillaume Le Ray

French Institute of Culinary Technologies

Roswitha Knol

Arise, Rabobank

Tiffany Shi

Gro Intelligence

Round 2 Judges

To be announced