SBN competition celebrates African and Asian entrepreneurs scaling up nutrition
15-07-2020 16:01:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 2684 | Tags:

In Africa and Asia, SMEs provide the majority of food consumed and have the potential to increase access to safe, nutritious foods if they can grow their businesses through finance and technical assistance. To tap into enterprises that are able to scale their impact on nutrition in their local communities, The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Pitch Competition, organised by the SUN Business Network (SBN), has announced 21 African and Asian entrepreneurs who will showcase their innovations in a virtual event to be held at the end of this month.

The finalists have been selected through a series of 24 National SUN Pitch Competitions over the last year.

With the current COVID-19 crisis, health and nutrition is suffering from multiple shocks. This is particularly evident for women, adolescent girls, children, older people and marginalised groups in the poorest countries of the world. At the same time, undernutrition may exacerbate the severity of COVID-19 contracted cases, with those undernourished more likely to die from infectious diseases. Nutrition innovations are therefore more critical than ever before, and access to safe and nutritious food must be safeguarded.

"As consumers, employees and companies deal with the impacts of COVID-19, access to safe, nutritious food becomes even more important. SMEs across Africa and Asia are vital in the pandemic response but their ability to operate is being put under increasing strain. Now, more than ever, SMEs need our continued support and investment to allow them to adapt and innovate in challenging times. The SUN Pitch Competition will help answer this challenge and connect SMEs with new investors, new government support programmes and new business partners - helping them continue to provide much needed access to affordable nutrition to low income consumers." states Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), which co-convenes the SBN with the UN World Food Programme.

Policymakers, development partners, donors, entrepreneurs and investors are therefore invited to come together to explore partnerships around nutrition during this unique virtual SUN Pitch Competition event. The entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to access business finance and enter new markets, and the investors are invited to discuss collaborations and investments with the finalists in more detail in a ‘Nutrition Dealroom’. These Dealroom sessions will also connect the finalists with mentors and other ecosystem partners to match the investment-ready entrepreneurs with corporates to provide finance, mentorship and market-entry solutions to strengthen and scale up the pitch competition enterprises.

The overall winner of the SUN Pitch Competition will receive a cash prize of US$20,000 from the SUN Business Network for the most innovative solution for improved nutrition. A further US$17,000 will be awarded for the first and second runners up. In addition, the SUN Pitch Competition sponsors will each present  US$10,000 cash prizes, which include the DSM 3A Nutrition Award, the Cargill Prize on Innovation to Enable Access to Improved Nutrition, and the GAIN Food Technology Innovation Prize. Supporting partners, AGREA and BoP Innovation Center are also contributing mentorship prizes.

The Global SUN Pitch Competition 2020 is organised by the SUN Business Network and sponsored by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Cargill and Royal DSM. The competition is also supported by, Food 

Industry Asia (FIA), Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, AGREA and Base of the Pyramid Innovation Center (BoP Inc).

Interested participants can register here for the live online transmission of the SUN Pitch Competition on Thursday 30th July.