UAE's FoodTech Challenge 2022 Offers US$2 Million Prize For Innovative Food Security Solutions

Launched at Expo 2020 Dubai, this year's edition of the competition is aimed at early-stage startups with concepts and solutions related to managing food production, loss and waste to improve sustainability.

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Organized by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and Abu Dhabi-based Tamkeen, the FoodTech Challenge, a global competition seeking global solutions to address food security, is back for its second edition.

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Launched at Expo 2020 Dubai, this year's edition is aimed at early-stage startups with concepts and solutions related to two tracks: food production to address the availability of food and explore next-gen alternatives, and food loss and waste to ensure sustainability across the food supply chain.

With the total prize pool valued at US$2 million, the winners will be offered cash awards, access to mentorship, R&D support, and incubation support to deploy technologies in the UAE. Applications are welcome from around the world as university-based research teams, individual entrepreneurs, small firms, or others.

To be eligible, startups should have a workable minimum viable product, have been in operation for less than five years and have no more than 25 employees, as well as haven't raised a Series A funding round yet. Applicants will be evaluated based on its technological solution, a strong plan for commercial viability, relevance to the UAE's food security goals, and a clear implementation plan in the UAE. Submissions will be shortlisted, and the top 10 teams will present their concepts and solutions at an awarding ceremony in November.

H.E. Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, commended the launch of the competition, saying, "The importance of food security has never been more pertinent, with supply chain challenges and climate change disrupting the world as we know it. The pressure is on for us to rethink food for the future, to rethink resilient agricultural practices, and to leverage the best of technological advancements in doing so. The FoodTech Challenge brings us closer to finding some of those solutions, acknowledging the critical role that innovation has to play in addressing our shared challenges".

For this edition of the competition, local partners in the UAE will join to help develop the finalists develop their ideas. One of the partners is Aspire, the program management pillar of the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), which oversees technology related R&D funding for Abu Dhabi and wider UAE. According to its release, ADQ and Silal are also partners for increasing food production, whilst Emirates Production is the track partner for reducing food loss and waste. Additionally, the competition is supported by Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi Residents Office, The Catalyst Accelerator, and Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.

While applications are now open, applicants who are unsure of their eligibility can gain feedback by submitting their proposed solution by May 20, 2022. If you have all the information required, are familiar with the food and agriculture sectors in the UAE, and do not wish to confirm your eligibility or gain feedback, make sure to submit your application by June 24, 2022.

For more information, check out the website.

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