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Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge 2021 ($5000 Prize)

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Deadline: September 30, 2021

Are you an innovator interested in solving challenges in the agri-food sector by utilizing or conserving agrobiodiversity? Apply for the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge 2021.

The Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge aims to recognize new products, services, and best practices that can help farmers, consumers, and food companies to increase production effectiveness, competitiveness, and resilience while conserving agrobiodiversity.

In an open innovation approach, they aim to:

  • Connect different actors who are motivated to improve global and community-based food systems.
  • Attract and support innovators to scale up their solutions through a long-term research and development collaboration with CGIAR and its partners.
  • Identify innovators who could help advance research by sharing ideas and solutions.


For Applicants:

Selected winners of the Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge will receive both in cash and in-kind prizes.

  • Cash prize: Two grants/free equity of USD $5,000 to each of the top two innovators based on level of excellence and innovation – (IFAD)
  • Mentoring: Support in fine-tuning business models and developing business plans, along with access to science and business development teams – (CGIAR/ IITA BIP)
  • Partnership: Partnering with a CGIAR scientist or team to provide guidance and feedback on innovation – (CGIAR/ Alliance, IIT)
  • Matching: Participating in a Shark Tank/Dragon’s Den-like pitch to IFAD country teams for opportunities to match for further product development and/or scaling (IFAD)
  • Expertise: In-kind, post-award support will be provided to equip innovators with tools, technical assistance, strategic guidance, technological due diligence, mentorship, and access to a global community of scientists and to field operations to test and scale solutions – (CGIAR/ Alliance, IIT)
  • Training and Tuition: Three winning ideas (team or member) will receive two full scholarships worth USD $25,000 each, and one additional full tuition assistance for participation in the Master I Level Open Innovation & Youth Entrepreneurship course from CIHEAM Bari – (CIHEAM Bari)


For Startups and Founders

  • WhatsApp masterclass
  • Visibility and recognition: Shortlisted teams will be featured on the Agrobiodiversity Congress website, reaching a global audience including international investors and organizations, as well as have the opportunity to pitch virtually to the Selection Committee.
  • Networking: Teams will have the opportunity to meet and network with technical experts, international organizations, investors, private sector companies, and research institutions.
  • Corporate activities: Winning teams may be invited to opportunities for additional learning or exposure associated with the Agrobiodiversity Congress and Accelerate for Impact Platform, such as participating in social media campaigns, case studies, and webinars to foster the open innovation model and sustain entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Eligibility For The Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge 2021 

Applicants must be individuals, private companies, or institutions responsible for innovation with a demonstrated efficiency using novel tools, products, or services to enhance and promote sustainable food and agriculture.

  • Startups
  • International Organizations (IOs)
  • National Agriculture Research System (NARS)
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Private Companies
  • Universities
  • Individuals (e.g. farmers, processors, engineers, etc.)

Selection Criteria For The Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge 2021 

Evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

  • Impact on agrobiodiversity, consumption, production, and conservation
  • Market readiness
  • Sustainability and scalability of the solution – clear and sustainable revenue model
  • Scientific relevance – research approach proposed to address the problem
  • Maturity of the innovation – preference will be given to those in seed and early-stage
  • Team’s quality (competence, technical coherence, motivation, gender, age)

See more opportunities here

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Selection Process

  • Call for ideas announced. Submissions will be accepted until September 30, 2021
  • The 10 shortlisted contestants will be notified by email. Guidelines will be provided for shortlisted contestants to prepare descriptions and pitches to be uploaded on the Congress platform.
  • All applicants will be invited to attend and network at the 2nd International Agrobiodiversity Congress.
  • The 10 shortlisted contestants will be invited to take part in the Pitch Day Competition on Monday, November 15th. Contestants will be asked to make a final pitch and attend a Q&A session with the Selection Committee, investors, partners, and a global audience.
  • The five winning innovations will be awarded a prize on November 15th.
  • The winning innovations will also be notified by email and must respond to the notification email to accept the prize. If the Secretariat does not receive a response from winners within seven (7) days of the notification, the Secretariat reserves the right to reallocate the prize to another applicant.
  • The Selection Committee is chaired by the Deputy Director for Research & Innovation of Bioversity International and CIAT and four representatives of non-state actor/s from the field of research, academia, youth agriculture entrepreneurship, civil society, and/or the private sector.



Enter your solution details by the closing deadline of September 30 for your chance to be selected as one of the finalists. Shortlisted finalists will be invited for the presentations on Monday, 15 November with the Selection Committee, Investors, CGIAR partners and staff and global audience.

Click here to apply

For questions email

For more information, visit Agrobiodiversity Innovation Challenge.

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