NIGERIA – The UN World Food Programme in partnership with leading food industry players in Nigeria have partnered to support six budding entrepreneurs in the food and agriculture sector, scale up their innovation with N120 million (US$290,000) worth of funding.
The funding was channelled through the ‘2021 Zero Hunger Sprint – Nigeria’s Innovation Challenge’ undertaken under the Zero Hunger Roundtable.
Zero Hunger Roundtable is a multi-sector forum aimed at collectively addressing food challenges as a part of the UN’s global mandate to achieve Zero Hunger by the year 2030.
The platform is facilitated by WFP Nigeria and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria, bringing together the private sector, development agencies and government, to look at collective solutions that can contribute to zero hunger in the country.
Being the inaugural competition, it got financial backing from five food processing giants: Promasidor; Guinness Nigeria; TGI; Nigerian Breweries and Tolaram Group.
“The pitch showcased the incredible talent, energy and dynamism of young Nigerian entrepreneurs – and the Zero Hunger Roundtable is trying to harness this energy in a way that is socially beneficial and sustainable in addressing hunger challenges.”Paul Howe – Country Director, WFP Nigeria
Zowasel, an online marketplace and crop testing service that connects smallholder farmers with premium buyers emerged the leading winner of the challenged bagging N42 million (US$101,000).
The second-place spot was held by three start-ups i.e., Colourful Giggles, Agrorite and Koolboks, each receiving N21 million (US$50,000).
Colourful Giggle is a natural baby food company working to fight hidden hunger by making baby food affordable and readily available; while Agrorite, helps smallholder farmers to access credit, data driven advisory services and premium markets; and Koolboks, is a producer of eco-friendly and easily accessible refrigeration solutions, powered by solar energy and equipped with Pay-As-You-Go technology.
The competition crowned more winners with Pricepally, a digital food cooperative enabling families or small businesses to share bulk food items among a group or buy food in bulk directly from farmers or wholesalers making it cheaper and fresher than retail, received N10 million (US$24,000).
2021 Zero Hunger Sprint – Nigeria competition finalized with the issuance of N5 million (US$12,000) cash prize to Crop2Cash, creator of reliable, verifiable credit scores and risk profiles for farmers to unlock much-needed finance to improve their productivity and income.
“What we saw at the Zero Hunger Innovation Sprint was amazing. The pitch showcased the incredible talent, energy and dynamism of young Nigerian entrepreneurs – and the Zero Hunger Roundtable is trying to harness this energy in a way that is socially beneficial and sustainable in addressing hunger challenges,” said Paul Howe – Country Director, WFP Nigeria.
The initiative aims to foster innovative approaches to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – targeted to bring an end to hunger.
Other than receiving the cash prize, the start-ups will also get mentorship from the investor companies and participate in a six-months’ Sprint Programme designed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
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