When can I sign up?

Signups for the 2018 TFF Challenge are open from January 15th, 2018 through May 4th, 2018. The final pitch submission is due on May 4, 2018.

How do I sign up?

Click the “sign up here” button on the homepage and create your user profile. Then you will be able to invite your team members to join your team page and start working on Round 1 of the TFF Challenge!

Can I sign up if I have an existing idea?

Yes, teams may sign up with an existing idea, project, or venture. We encourage you to sign up without an idea as well, and utilize the Design Lab to help you start feeding 9+ billion people.

Eligibility and Teams

Who is eligible?

The TFF Challenge is open to youth between the ages of 18-35, from any country in the world.

Do my team members have to be in the same location?

No, your team can be spread around the world! However, many activities in the design lab are best completed in person as group. Don’t let that stop you though! The 2015/16 winner Kulisha had team members from 4 different cities, on two different continents!

How many team members can I have?

Teams should be composed of 3-5 members. While your team may have no more than 5 official team members (these are the 5 that will attend the Bootcamp and Summit should your team be chosen as a Finalist) you are allowed as many unofficial team members as you like, which could include other founders, employees, and/or advisors.

Can my non-profit organization participate?

If the founding members meet the eligibility criteria, an existing non-profit may be entered into the TFF Challenge.

Can I participate as an individual?

Teams must have a minimum of 3 members in order to be eligible to participate.

How do I find team members?

There are lots of ways to find other interested students to participate in the Challenge with you. Below are just a few ideas:

  • Attending university? Ask your department head or a professor of a relevant subject to send out an email to all of his or her students
  • Host a screening of the TFF Documentary and invite attendees to sign up for the Challenge
  • Host an informal “changemakers dinner” and invite attendees to participate in the Challenge
  • Post flyers with your contact information around your local community centers (flyers can be found here)
  • Ask around! Start by contacting friends and colleagues to find out who you know who is interested in the topic
  • Contact the leaders of relevant organizations to find out if they’d let you present the opportunity at one of their meetings

Judging and Prizes

What are the prizes?


10 Finalist teams will be chosen at the end of Round 1 to move on to Round 2. These 10 teams will receive 12 weeks of Pre-Accelerator business training, and travel and accommodation to attend the TFF Bootcamp and TFF Global Summit in July of 2018.


At the TFF Summit, one Grand Prize winning team will be chosen to receive $10,000 USD, and one Runner Up team will be chosen to receive $5,000 USD. The team most qualified for an investment will be awarded the Kirchner Food Fellows Prize worth $5,000 USD, and the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture will award $2,500 to the team that has a strong impact directly on farmers.

What are the judging criteria?

Projects will initially be evaluated on how well they demonstrate significant potential to leave a lasting impact on either a current or future challenge in the way the world produces, distributes and/or consumes food. This might include food waste, hunger, obesity and malnutrition, post-harvest loss, environmental impact, etc. In addition, projects will be judged according to the following 4 criteria:

TFF commits to being at the cusp of new idea generation. You and your teammates will look to consolidate cutting-edge technologies and the latest resources to create a project that is fresh and exciting, in a way that has never been seen before.

Food security solutions require short, medium, and long-term goals that shouldn’t end when the competition is over. Your project should be implementable, with serious scalability potential on a global level.

You will be competing against some of the brightest minds. Your project should stand out among the wide array of proposals, providing game-changing solutions. It should embody a “wow” factor so that it gets noticed in a noisy world of innovation and startups.

Being an innovator is one of the most exciting and rewarding things one can do. However, it is also a long and demanding one. Your team needs to demonstrate that it is able to withstand these challenges and truly deliver a solution that will improve lives.

Round 1

How do I submit my entry?

All entries must be submitted through the online TFF platform using the “submit your pitch” form. More details of this process will be provided after sign up.

What will I be required to submit?

For Round 1, teams will be required to submit their idea in both text and video format by the pitch deadline (May 4, 2018). These videos must be uploaded to either YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku and abide by the pitch criteria in order to be considered. More details will be provided after you sign up and create a team.

Can we submit more than one pitch?

The TFF Challenge is about much more than submitting pitches. Rather, it’s an in-depth learning and idea development process and your team will gain access to some great tools to help you along the way. In order to get the most out of the Challenge process, individuals will not be allowed to be a member of more than one team and teams will only be allowed to submit one pitch.

Round 2

What happens during Round 2?

If selected as a Finalist to move on to Round 2, your team will participate in a 8-week Pre-Accelerator training, teaching you how to implement your idea and develop a sustainable business model for your concept. This training culminates in a week-long, in person Bootcamp, in which you work alongside finalists from around the world, and complete training with some of the world’s leading startup coaches. The Bootcamp ends with a live pitch at the Global TFF Summit, where your team could win up to $25,000 in a seed-funding grant.

What if my team members cannot attend the Bootcamp and/or Summit?

A minimum of 3 team members is required to attend both the Bootcamp and the TFF Summit in order to stay in the running for the Grand Prize.

What happens at the TFF Global Summit?

The Summit is a phenomenal, life-changing experience! In addition to the Finalist pitches, you’ll participate in workshops, hear from some world-renowned speakers, and meet other young innovators from all over the globe. Check out the aftermovies from past Summits: Zurich, Switzerland & Lisbon, Portugal.