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The Global AgriInno Challenge for African Green Startups

Deadline: October 10th, 2021

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is pleased to launch The Global AgriInno Challenge 2021: Connecting Youth-Led Innovation to the Agri-food Sector that aims to harness innovation, entrepreneurship and digital technologies to address challenges related to the transformation from rural villages into ‘Digital Villages’ that contribute to the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, while leaving no one behind. The challenge will implement the following actions:

  • transforming rural villages into digital villages through innovative solutions under the framework of the Four Betters (better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life);
  • sharing the latest information, knowledge, and best practices in rural digital transformation innovations, digital technologies, and business models;
  • building an enabling environment through Public-Private Partnerships and co-creation opportunities with diverse participants, practitioners, and experts;
  • engaging and empowering young agripreneurs and innovators to tackle development challenges through FAO and partners’ global networks with continuous support during and after the innovation challenge;


FAO’s Strategic Framework seeks to support the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

  • Better production: ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, through efficient and inclusive food and agriculture supply chains at local, regional, and global levels, ensuring resilient and sustainable agri-food systems in a changing climate and environment.
  • Better nutrition: end hunger, achieve food security, and improved nutrition in all its forms, including promoting nutritious food and increasing access to healthy diets.
  • Better environment: protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and combat climate change (reduce, reuse, recycle, residual management) through more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.
  • Better life: promote inclusive economic growth by reducing inequalities (urban/rural areas, rich/poor countries, men/women).

Why You Should Apply

The teams selected to attend the Hacking For Good and Pitch Event in China will benefit from:

  • 2-day professional development around your team’s solution through an approach of co-creation with other young agripreneurs/innovators and experienced experts worldwide. All related expenses for attending the Hacking For Good and pitch events in China will be covered, including:
    • travel expenses: round-trip flight and/or train; local transportation fee (taxi/bus/subway);
    • accommodation and meals;
    • visa application fees as applicable for international participants.
  • The access to open data sets from FAO and other partners, such as the FAO Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform, FAO Digital Services Portfolio, Data Lab for Statistical Innovation, and the Earthmap, a Google Earth Engine based tool, etc.
  • Advice from experienced experts from the UN, international organisations, the private sector and academia, and the chance to have a dialogue with high-level representatives from leading companies and organisations.
  • The chance to meet top angel investors from venture capital funds and business leaders in the agri-food sector who may invest in your solutions.
  • The chance to build your global network in digital agriculture with a multitude of stakeholders.
  • The top winning teams will receive seed funding.
  • The top winning teams will have the opportunity to join the Digital Agriculture Bootcamp (training, travel and accommodation covered).
  • Become an alumnus for Global AgriInno Challenge.

Who Can Apply?

The Global AgriInno Challenge 2021 is open to:

  • FAO staff practicing or exploring innovation, digital agriculture, digital solutions, and rural transformation;
  • all youth with digital innovations or ideas for agri-food sector.

Selection Criteria

  • The theme of this year is Digital Villages Solutions for the Four Betters.
  • The team needs to harness innovation, digital technology, and entrepreneurship to contribute to the transformation of rural villages into Digital Villages for the Four Betters given full consideration of local development status and context. More information about the Four Betters is here.
  • The team is registered as a company or the project has been operational for at least 1 year.
  • One leader of the team must be under 35 years old.
  • Teams with female member(s) are highly encouraged.
  • Each team should be composed of a minimum of 2 people; maximum 5 people to participate on-site.
  • The feasibility and ability of using innovation/digital technology/business model to solve challenges relating to the transformation of rural villages into digital villages and the contribution to the Four Betters must be clearly presented.
  • The possibility of replication or scaling-up your digital villages solutions must be demonstrated.

How to Apply

The team leader needs to submit a) the application form; b) the innovation solution presentation (in PPT format); and c) a video to global_agriinno_challenge@zju.edu.cn and copying digital_innovation@fao.org by 10 October 2021 (24:00 CEST).  

The documentation to submit should include (in English):

  • Application Form(you may scan QR code on item 12 )
  • Innovation Solution (PowerPoint of max 12 slides, up to 250 words per slide, Microsoft YaHei Font,font size not less than 16)
    • Summary of the solution (up to 250 words)
    • Problem identification (analysis of challenges relating to Digital Villages)
    • Four Better Categories (identify which of the Four Betters do you apply your Digital Villages solutions to?)
    • Mission, vision, values of the project (the type of agriculture activity/sub-sector targeted)
    • Technical model (how to address challenges relating to Digital Villages?)
    • Timing justification (why is this moment the best time?)
    • Situation analysis (who is your main competitor and why is your solution better or more innovative than others?)
    • Business plan (target group, the description of outputs and related activities, adoption strategy, applied methods, partners, sustainability, and consideration of gender)
    • Financial situation (capital raised, capital needed, revenue analysis)
    • Phased development planning (what is the potential contribution of your solution in three years? how do you plan to achieve it? what are the milestones?)
  • 1-2 minutes long video explaining:
    • How is your Digital Villages idea or solution going to contribute to the Four Betters and help benefit vulnerable and rural populations? Answer this question in a 1-2 minute long video. Upload the video online to a video sharing platform (YouTube, Google Cloud, Youku, Baidu Cloud or others) and share the address of the link.


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