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Launch of the Food Connection Challenge

Business-student fit-to-purpose solutions for food losses in Ghana
Food Connection Challenge
May 24, 2016 By: F&BKP Office Image: BoP Inc

Crosswise Works and BoP Innovation Center initiated a business-student challenge that focuses on fit-to-purpose solutions for postharvest food losses in Ghana. The Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) has awarded a grant to organize this Food Connection Challenge. The Challenge centres around reducing postharvest losses experienced by agri-food businesses in Ghana, through the use of existing technology developed in the Netherlands which will be adapted to the local context. The Food Connection Challenge was launched on May 1 and registration for Ghanaian companies is open till the end of the month. Dutch companies and students will then be matched with the business cases and multidisciplinary teams will work on innovative solutions. In November the two best proposals will be announced and implemented on a pilot scale in Ghana.

About one third of the food produced worldwide does not reach the market due to bottlenecks in the supply chain, such as lack of adequate storage and transport possibilities. This is a crucial issue especially in developing countries like Ghana, where these losses amount on average to 35%, weighing on business production potential, their profitability and the overall agricultural sector. Still, this topic does not receive sufficient attention. The Food Connection Challenge contributes to solve postharvest issues in Ghana, by matching local business cases with Dutch companies. The knowledge and technological expertise of the Dutch agricultural sector in this field can be of important added value in finding innovative solutions adapted to the local context in Ghana. The Challenge facilitates mutual understanding and knowledge exchange and will increase reciprocal interest.

The Food Connection Challenge aims at fostering the participating companies to think creatively and engage actively in finding concrete innovative solutions to postharvest losses in Ghana, based on their own knowledge and experiences. The Challenge will link agribusinesses in Ghana struggling with handling, storing, processing, cleaning, grading and transporting food products, with Dutch companies disposing of technological or service-oriented products. Such products should serve as a basis to develop fit-to-purpose solutions which can be adapted to the specific business cases and circumstances in Ghana. Multidisciplinary teams of students from business, technical universities and faculties of international development in the Netherlands will support the entrepreneurs from both parties in finding adequate practical solutions adapted to the local context. The two teams with the best proposed solution will be selected by BoP Innovation Center and Crosswise Works and will be assisted in securing funding to implement their solution on a pilot scale. In addition, all participating Ghanaian companies will become part of an online international business community connecting over 2000 entrepreneurs interacting with each other, starting new ventures and attracting interested investors (more info at www.IBA.ventures).

How does the Food Connection Challenge work?

Companies in Ghana that want to apply, should meet the following criteria:

  • Be an SME (small to medium sized enterprises)
  • Be involved in the agricultural sector and produce food for human or animal consumption;
  • Face issues related to storing, processing, cleaning, grading, handling or transporting of (processed) agricultural products;
  • Be ready and willing to take up new and innovative practices in their companies
  • Be interested in working together with Dutch companies.

In their application, it is important that companies demonstrate how they comply with these criteria.

The five steps of the challenge:

  • Month of May: Agribusinesses in Ghana create a general profile and fill in the registration form on https://iba.ventures/signup/.
  • June: A limited number of Ghanaian companies is selected based on the above criteria. Dutch companies providing suitable services or products for these selected Ghanaian applicants are identified, and matched with business cases in Ghana.
  • July and August: Ambitious students from Dutch universities can apply before July 15 through a video pitch (download the flyer (PDF) for more details). Before August 1, the best students are selected and multidisciplinary teams are formed.
  • September to November: Teams work to develop “fit-to-purpose solutions” that suit both the Ghanaian and the Dutch business interest.
  • End of November: The best solution is officially announced during a public event in the Netherlands.

More information

Contact Eva Rootmensen at or Rosanna Martucci at .

Do you know Ghanaian companies interested in taking part in the challenge and reduce their food losses? Share the flyer and get them on board!


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