27 June 2022 –The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Industry Disruptors Game Changers (IDGC) and Berytech have launched the AgriNation Startup Cup in the Near East and North Africa region today.
The AgriNation Startup Cup is a regional competition that supports youth-led early-stage startups addressing key agrifood challenges and have the potential to help transform local and national agrifood systems to be more sustainable, equitable, nutritious and resilient.
“The NENA region is a young region. Youth have a central role to play in making food healthier, safer, cleaner and accessible for all across the region. They need to be empowered through access to innovation and entrepreneurship so that they can contribute actively to address the region’s many food challenges,” said Jean-Marc Faurès, Regional Programme Leader.
The initiative strives to foster innovation, decent employment, and youth inclusion in agrifood systems by helping innovative solution-oriented enterprises, led by youth, to achieve market and investment readiness. It also aims to strengthen national entrepreneurial ecosystems.
The initiative is supported at the national level by a regional network of partners or impact makers that are helping young entrepreneurs in each country make the most of this opportunity to upgrade their skills and establish a successful business, while also working with local partners and ecosystem actors to create an environment that nurtures and incentivizes social innovation in the agrifood sectors.
Agriculture and food systems have come under intense pressure over the past decade due to a growing demand for food, coupled with declining agriculture productivity caused by climate change, natural resource degradation and rising prices of fertilizers, seeds and prices. The economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the Ukraine-Russia conflict have further complicated the situation, making food imports more expensive and leading to rising food insecurity as well as poverty among small producers and agriculture dependent households.
The AgriNation Startup Cup is showing how, through innovation and entrepreneurship, young people across the region are finding ways to produce more food with less resources. The initiative will support early stage innovations by providing them with tailored mentorship, business skill development and networking opportunities to promote more healthy, safe, and environmentally sustainable consumption and production. This is in addition to safeguarding the livelihoods of small producers, including women and vulnerable groups, and creating more decent jobs in rural areas.
Young men and women, 35 years and below, with early-stage startups in the field of agrifood and rural development can apply through the platform agrination.io. Enterprises are evaluated on the basis of business model viability, innovation, social impact and environmental sustainability.
The 10 winning start-ups will benefit from a customized incubation and mentoring program including support for product testing and market research as well as linkages to new market opportunities, partnerships and funding sources.
To learn more about the competition and apply, visit agrination.io
Deadline for applications: August 27, 2022