The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Impact Hub Kigali have launched the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge. It comes at a time where escalating violence, climate change, natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic are worsening East African food security.
Technical assistance as well as a total of $50 000 in funding will be provided to assist start-ups, cooperatives, and small and medium enterprises in scaling up locally-driven solutions that contribute to the economy and address various gaps in supplying nutritious food.
“The programme seeks innovative solutions that contribute to food security in areas such as resilience to shocks and stress, access to safe and nutritious food, improved food supply chains, the empowerment of smallholder farmers, and the advancement of food security for all.
“Selected ventures will have the opportunity to receive grant funding of up to US$50,000 as well as six months acceleration support, including connections to experts, mentors and partners, and other tailored support to address business gaps,” the WFP said via a statement.
The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge will take place in Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda at the same time, thanks to US$2 million in funding from USAID.
Online application process
“The biggest challenge for many entrepreneurs in Eastern Africa is not only access to funding, but also technical support that furthers their concepts. Through this generous support by USAID, we are confident that we will be able to reach many bright and talented entrepreneurs in the region who might have been left behind,” said Jeremie Pigé, the head of the WFP IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa.
WFP and Impact Hub Kigali’s work is around piloting, implementing and expanding new ideas. This initiative will have an influence on fostering food system innovation and improving efforts to achieve global hunger eradication.
“With the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge, we will provide tailored support for local entrepreneurs to scale their impact in the Rwandan food system. Ventures will undergo diagnostics at the start of the programme and will be able to co-design their own acceleration journey, indicating the support they require, from coaching to peer and expert support such as legal or accounting services, among others,” added Mafer Betancourt, managing director of Impact Hub Kigali.
Interested companies and cooperatives are invited to apply online at bit.ly/IGNITEChallenge. For additional information or support with your application contact firstname.lastname@example.org.