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These Startups Have Big Ideas to Fight Hunger. Cargill and the World Food Programme Are Helping Make Them a Reality.

A handheld tool to fight hunger. Technology that turns small-scale flour mills into a front line of defense against malnutrition. Breakthroughs in disaster zone mapmaking that could save lives. The World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Accelerator and Cargill are teaming up to help three startups make those ideas a reality.

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In May, the two organizations collaborated on a weeklong innovation bootcamp in Munich, Germany to mentor and support eight teams of entrepreneurs with bold ideas for fighting world hunger. Now, they’re moving forward with additional funding and support for three startups:

  • BioAnalyt – a portable tool to analyze the nutritional content of fortified food to ensure it carries critical nutrients to people suffering from “hidden hunger” – a deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Sanku – a nonprofit social enterprise that provides small-scale maize millers in Africa with smart technology to fortify their flour without passing the costs on to consumers.
  • Humanitarian Topographic Atlas – an initiative to develop detailed, up-to-date maps to support field operations during responses to humanitarian crises.

Cargill has committed $550,000 to support the partnership. This includes up to $100,000 in equity-free funding for three selected startups, who will also get access to a global network of mentoring and support over the coming months as they enter a sprint program to hone their business models and test their ideas in the field.

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“Having a chance to spend a week working with each of these teams was a true honor,” said Eric Parkin, Cargill’s digital business development leader who is leading the company’s collaboration with the WFP Innovation Accelerator. “Seeing their passion to solve some of the most pressing challenges in the world makes Cargill proud to support these companies as they move forward. It shows the power of food to bring the private and public sector together to innovate.”

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The partnership builds on Cargill and WFP’s existing relationship that dates back to 2001. To date, Cargill has provided more than $12 million to WFP to improve the health and nutrition of people in need around the globe, with an emphasis on low-i***** countries. That support has ranged from funding school meals programs in Honduras to helping fight famine in the Horn of Africa.

“Partnering with Cargill over the years has helped WFP accelerate towards the global goal of Zero Hunger, by supporting our field teams, resourcing new ideas, and sharpening plans to deliver food where it is needed most,” said Bernhard Kowatsch, head of the WFP Innovation Accelerator.

In addition to the teams Cargill is funding, WFP is providing funding and support to another team that participated in the bootcamp. Edutrition is a digital game-based learning platform intended for school children, to promote nutrition education and behavior change while integrating physical activity in schools to address malnutrition, and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases.

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