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United Nations launches global competition for food startups and SMEs

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 10 May 2021 2:50 PM SAST
Janice Scheckter photo

The United Nations Food Systems Summit has announced the launch of an innovative competition for food startups and SMEs. The competition aims to find the best SMEs from around the world that are transforming existing food systems and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Above, Sibongile Cele, AWiA Incubator Manager on her rooftop farm in Hillbrow. 

Applications for the competition started on 29 April and will close on 4 June 2021

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit comments on the importance of SMEs in generating innovation and positively contributing to society. 

“All around the world, leaders need to pay attention to the ‘hidden’ contribution of the smaller businesses that are nourishing communities, creating jobs, and regenerating nature. These everyday businesses and their employees are the vanguards of efforts to strengthen our food systems and the small business competition aims to celebrate these efforts and to showcase their inspirational stories. In line with the Summit that is open to people everywhere and leaving no one behind, we encourage such enterprises to raise their voices and help us understand what support they need in order to flourish.”

The competition

Titled “Best Small Business: Good Food for All”, the competition will select 50 of the best SMEs whose work est exemplifies the Summit’s aim of delivering all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing healthy, sustainable food and livelihoods for all.

In addition, the competition aims to shed light on SMEs that have played a key role in “building back better” from the harrowing impacts of the pandemic. 

Best Small Business: Good Food for All will recognise SMEs that have innovated the production, consumption, and disposal of food.

Applications for the competition started on 29 April and will close on 4 June 2021. 

Interested SMEs must apply online.

A panel of esteemed judges will analyses contestants on how much their business contributes to a sustainable and equitable food system for communities in which they are active in. 

According to a survey, the revenues of European SMEs experienced a drop in revenue by 70% due to the financial impacts of the pandemic.

The Summit will celebrate those playing their part to transform through innovation the way small businesses produce, consume, and dispose of food, offering lessons for building greater economic resilience and sustainability.

A pre-summit event will be held in Rome, Italy in ult 2021 to showcase the best SMEs in the competition.

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