Learn more about the 10 TFF Challenge Finalists, their stories and ideas.
At the start of this year, Thought For Food called on the next generation to step up to our challenge to feed 9+ billion people by 2050.
We gave them the chance to dream, to create, to build. Over 800 teams from 160 countries joined our TFF Challenge, unleashing a revolution towards solving one of the biggest challenges facing our world.
Ten teams were selected as Finalists this year, hailing from countries as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Driven by TFF’s core 6 attitudes of next-generation innovation, and pursuing purpose and impact, they embarked on the journey of a lifetime with their new friends at Thought For Food.
The 2018 Finalists took part in TFF’s 9-week Startup Bootcamp, our intensive accelerator program, which culminated in the chance to share their stories, solutions, and visions live on stage at the 6th global TFF Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro.
They presented to an audience of food and agriculture industry leaders, innovators, investors, policy makers and media from around the world.
The judging panel selected the winning teams of this year’s competition:
- Biotech startup Coating+ from Nigeria combating food waste and malnutrition with a safe coating to extend shelf life
- Safi Organics from Kenya providing an organic fertilizer system
- UK-based AEROPOWDER developing a feather-based food packaging
- SunRice, from the UK and Malaysia, providing a unique grain-drying service for smallholder farmers
But, as these teams, and all who have participated in our programs have learned, this just the beginning of a shared journey together – uniting and collaborating as next-generation changemakers focused on transforming our food system to be inclusive and sustainable.
We want to take this moment now to (re)introduce our ten 2018 TFF Challenge Finalists. Learn more about their personal journeys, their acquired learnings and their plans for the upcoming weeks, months, and even years.
From Opportunity to Impact: Meet the 10 Finalists
AEROPOWDER from the UK
Congratulations on winning the Kirchner Food Prize! Tell us, #whatsnext for AEROPOWDER?
Ryan Robinson: “Starting with the connection to the Kirchner Group, I have had a fantastic catch-up with one of their team here in London, and it’s a relationship that I will make sure we keep up because they have a lot of know-how about scaling up small startups in the food industry.
On a bigger picture? We are looking for more customers, either ones we can realistically sell to now or large established organizations to run trials with so that maybe in the future when the time is right they are happy to buy our products. It’s all about getting that buzz going! I think we’ll have everything lined up by end of the year, and start an autonomous production run by the beginning of 2019. As long as nothing explodes, we will then be ready to scale production and be looking to raise the funds to do so. For the next three years, we’ll be very focused on the food industry, to grow and develop AEROPOWDER and pluumo as a sustainable business.”
Find the full Q&A with Ryan Robinson here.
Coating+ from Nigeria
Congratulations on winning the Grand Prize! We can’t wait to hear #whatsnext for Coating+
Albert Kure: “First and foremost, we’re focusing on getting traction, finding the right partners, and solidifying our financing as part of our product commercialization. To successfully launch our product by the end of the year, we’re planning to establish local partnerships. At the same time, we’re now building up our digital brand presence to raise awareness and lay the groundwork that would enable us to leverage different marketing and sales channels.”
Find the full Q&A with Albert Kure here.
IoT Water Control Management from Jordan & Brazil
TFF loves the maker movement! How did your experience with Thought For Food shape where IoT is today?
Claudio Freitas: “Thanks to Thought For Food, we developed a better understanding of the real impact we want to achieve that goes beyond numbers or profitable goals. For us, it’s really a question of how we might enable and empower people in refugee camps with our “DIY-approach” encouraging them to build their own IoT-based water control management system.”
We’re curious – #whatsnext for IoT Water Control Management?
Claudio Freitas: “Right now, we’re focused on deepening our research, building partnerships and testing our kits to be able to offer these to the educational courses focused on water and energy solutions we’d like to provide. At the same time, we’re working on a digital platform to offer online classes, and providing this learning opportunity that can be applied directly in refugee camps, like Azraq in Jordan and Kakuma in Kenya. Aligned with our mission of enabling people to self support themselves, we’re in the process of grant writing to turn our project into a scalable Non-Profit Organization.”
Laticin from Brazil
Looking back at the past months, how did your experience with Thought For Food shape where Laticin is today?
Ana Raquel Calhau: “At Thought For Food, we really learned to think about social impact, and how we might develop and grow our business beyond profit making. Instead of aligning with the principles of ‘business as usual’, we learned how to achieve even more impact with a purpose-driven business. Interacting with so many different cultures also helped us to think outside-the-box. It’s really encouraging to be part of this community now and to have a support system we can rely on.”
Now we’re excited to hear #whatsnext? What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond?
Ana Raquel Calhau: “At this moment, we’re very busy to launch our product within the next two to three months. We’ve also hired a developer who is helping us along the way, as we’re planning to run test cycles. In addition, we’re speaking at a couple of events, like Hacktown, to use the momentum and exposure we gained from participating at Thought For Food. Last but not least, we’re looking into other programs we might apply for to raise funds. This would allow us to move faster and enter the market as soon as possible.”
Likabs Food from Ghana
Reflecting on the past months, how did your experience with Thought For Food shape where Likabs Food is today?
John Baptiste Kabobah: ”Before joining Thought For Food, we believed to already have the best strategies, but during the program, we realized where to redefine, and reshape to implement our vision realistically – step by step. It really helped us to turn our big dream into a viable action plan, also by building our solution from the customers’ needs, rather than the other way around. Through that process, our team benefitted and grew the most, as we needed to re-organize ourselves, too.”
Everyone is intrigued by the idea of the new superfood, snails! Can you tell us #whatsnext for Likabs Food?
John Baptiste Kabobah: “For the next three months, we’re focusing on providing hands-on training for interested farmers in order to grow the production of snails here in Ghana. Right now, we’re collaborating with a women empowerment group for example and are in discussions to organize a training schedule for them. Our other priority is solving our challenge of finding the right food packaging solution – so we’re also looking for funding opportunities and how we might grow our network of partners.”
Nutricandies from Brazil
Can you tell a bit about your experience with Thought For Food and how this shape where Nutricandies is today?
Gustavo Rocha: “First of all, we achieved personal growth, expanded our skillset, and thus, are able to contribute much better to our team efforts. Through our journey, we found ways to impact even more people through our direct access and interaction with (potential) customers, and the players within the food industry and the market segment of sweets and confectionary. Also, Nutricandies gained much more recognition and credibility through our participation in the TFF program, which helped us, for example, to exchange with leading food companies like Danone, which is very helpful for our next steps.”
We’re curious to hear and taste #whatsnext for Nutricandies?
Gustavo Rocha: “As mentioned, we’re developing our opportunities especially within the food industry, to discuss how we might work together, as there is a demand and interest in our product. At the same time, we’re working on launching new flavours and new products, like yoghurt, chocolate bars, or cookies. To successfully test and bring them into the existing market, we’re looking for partners who are either interested in our process of increasing the nutritional value in foods, or in particular products of Nutricandies itself.”
RiseHarvest from Myanmar and Australia
Looking back at your experience with Thought For Food, how did this shape where RiseHarvest is today?
Joseph Shen, Chandan Kumar, Sam Coggins: “We have been playing around with our idea for quite some time before joining TFF, but participating and especially meeting the community has inspired and encouraged us to actually pursue it further. We made some really great contacts which we’ll be following up on. Also, let’s not forget that the TFF Startup Bootcamp helped us to understand the problem from the user’s perspective, and developing our idea with a clear strategy.”
We’re excited to hear about your future plans, #whatsnext for RiseHarvest?
Joseph Shen, Chandan Kumar, Sam Coggins: “We’re now finalizing our app and hope to start testing our prototype with our target group of farmers in Myanmar around the end of the year. At the same time, we’re focusing on building partnerships, both in the agriculture department and fertilizer companies. To hold ourselves accountable to these goals, we’ll be growing our team to diversify our skills and experiences too.”
Safi Organics from USA & Kenya
Congratulations on winning the Runner-Up Prize! Can you tell us #whatsnext for Safi Organics?
Joyce Kamande: We’re planning to expand to a 10 more areas within Kenya in the next 3 years. Thought For Food’s Runner-Up Prize enables us to begin with one of three projects we’ll be establishing this year. Apart from that, we’re looking for more investment to be able to grow our impact further. Thanks to Thought For Food, we’ve gained both local and international exposure through media, which is really great!
Find the full Q&A with Joyce Kamande here.
SunRice from the UK, Malaysia and Czech Republic
Congratulations on winning the Take it To the Farmer Prize! Give us a little outlook, #whatsnext for SunRice?
Klára Höllegeová: We’re right in the middle of building and implementing our rice dryer in Myanmar, and are focusing mainly on putting everything into place for a successful start. Also, we’re planning on buying another dryer to build up in the next two or three months.
On a long term basis, we’re looking to expand to the Indonesian market, because we see a similar need and opportunity for smallholder farmers there, too.
Find the full Q&A with Klára Höllegeová here.
Sweetpot Yoghurt from Ghana
Give us a little insight into your Thought For Food experience and how it shaped where Sweetpot Yoghurt is today.
Maame Manful: “Thought For Food enabled us to evolve our business model further, and also develop leadership skills, including emotional resilience for example, which they don’t usually teach you in the usual program when starting a company. By solidifying our customer-centered approach, we were able to validate our idea, and came across new insights on how we could grow our idea to make even more impact in a purposeful way. Also, I’ve never heard about open IP and innovation before, which goes well together with our aim of giving back to society on a larger scale. All in all, Thought For Food makes entrepreneurship simple, easy for everybody, and is like a catalyzer that turns ideas into realities.”
We’re curious to learn more, #whatsnext for Sweetpot Yoghurt?
Maame Manful: “First of all, we’re now working on our digital presence and communications, while also focusing on getting our products to various suppliers. Furthermore, we’re working on a new package design and are making efforts to grow our network of partnerships, and looking into funding opportunities.”
Interested to learn more about one of the 10 TFF Challenge Finalists?
Get in touch with Monika Jiang at firstname.lastname@example.org !