Call for innovators to solve food issues

Johannesburg – Three of the country’s top innovation hubs are calling on local innovators to join the #BridgingTheGaps challenge, which aims to find disruptive ways to fix South Africa’s food system.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown will have immense consequences for human, economic and social wellbeing in South Africa, particularly in the light of Moody’s most recent credit rating downgrade.

Oribi Village, the Southern Africa Food Labs, and the Wakanda Food Incubator have joined forces in the #BridgingTheGaps challenge, to proactively address and reshape production, distribution, processing, and consuming food.

Oribi Village managing director Ellen Fischat says: “In this 21-day challenge we call all innovators and food sector actors to work together. We will do so remotely, finding disruptive ways to eradicate risks of accelerated food insecurity, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.”

She says the 21-day challenge is the perfect opportunity for small-scale producers, logistics and market access players, chefs, restaurants, food sellers and processors, food technicians, civil society players and everyone else to put their ideas into practice.

Fischat adds that the #BridgingTheGaps food innovation challenge comprises of weekly content brainstorm sessions between participants and partners.

“In the first week, the Southern Africa Food Labs will provide insights into the current state of South African food system, and in the second week, Oribi Village will discuss essential social business strategy shifts related to the Covid-19 context,” she says.

In the third week, the Wakanda Food Accelerator will provide all participants with practical advice on how to define, develop, implement and scale their proposed solutions. The submissions will subsequently be evaluated and assessed on social impact, feasibility, viability, scalability, sustainability and creativity.

“Two winning ideas will each take home six months’ worth of paid-for incubator and accelerator support, to be used to develop and implement their solution, as well as six months of co-working space in Cape Town or Johannesburg,” Fischat says.

The two winners will also be allowed to pitch their solution to local and international investors in November 2020, and attend the Design Thinking Workshop, which revolves around food security innovation.

“The aim of the #BridgingTheGaps challenge is to use the lockdown to save our country from a potential food security disaster. Digital technology enables us to come together even if we can’t be in the same room, helping us to be the change we want to see in the world.”

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