United Nations World Food Programme Brings the First-Ever #DisruptHunger Innovation Accelerator to the USA

Published October 1, 2019

Pitch Night at Google in search of bold solutions to alleviate global hunger

October 1, 2019/San Francisco, California ‒ World Food Program USA (WFP USA), a non-profit organization with the mission to end world hunger, today announced it is sponsoring the first-of-its-kind event in the United States, the United Nations World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator Bootcamp & Pitch Night. The five-day event will take place Oct. 11-15 at Google Launchpad and Orange SV in San Francisco and on the evening of Oct. 15 at Google in Mountain View, Calif.. WFP’s Innovation Accelerator will tap the brightest minds in science and technology to help fight global hunger, with teams from the U.S. and around the world competing for the chance to scale their idea and end hunger.

“It is through extraordinary innovations that we’ll discover life-changing approaches to address hunger for millions of people around the world,” said Bernhard Kowatsch, head of WFP’s Innovation Accelerator. “To date, WFP has identified and scaled a broad range of solutions including mobile technology, blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data. These solutions have made a positive difference in the vulnerable communities we serve. We look forward to showcasing the latest high-potential solutions at our first U.S.-based event facilitated by the WFP Innovation Accelerator to speed up the process of reaching zero hunger through creativity and invention.”

This event will be a springboard for start-ups with innovative ideas to help end global hunger. During the Bootcamp, teams receive guidance from experts to help ideate their concepts and refine plans for success. At the Pitch Night, teams will compete for the opportunity to be eligible for scale-up funding and additional support from WFP to become a viable and active, hunger-fighting solution in the field. The new innovation teams presenting this year are described here. Scale-up teams continuing to be nurtured to implementation in the field are here.

WFP serves some of the most isolated, dangerous regions of the world where people have been driven to hunger by conflict, extreme weather or extreme poverty. Continued innovation is critical to reaching vulnerable people around the world in need of lifesaving support.

“Innovation is essential to enabling WFP to deliver on its mission to reach zero hunger,” said Stephen Ibaraki, chairman and founder managing general partner of REDDS Capital who also serves on the Innovation Advisory Council of WFP’s Innovation Accelerator. “This is a different kind of accelerator. It’s not just about the money that start-ups can raise, it’s about inviting bright minds to conceive of creative solutions to end hunger that work, and then nurture those solutions from idea to reality, with funding, expertise and WFP’s global reach.”

Hunger-fighting innovations that have been successfully scaled from past WFP Innovation Accelerator bootcamps (this is the first in the U.S. and the sixth such event globally) include such innovations as hydroponics projects in refugee camps and ShareTheMeal, a smartphone app that allows users to donate meals with a tap of their finger. There will be 11 teams participating in the WFP Innovation Accelerator in Silicon Valley ranging from a global hunger map technology that can connect need to supply, to an automatic grain dispenser fitted on trucks, to a new portable refrigerator that runs on water only and extends the life of perishable foods by more than 200 percent, and more.

Delivering opening remarks on Oct. 15, 2019 at WFP Innovation Accelerator Pitch Night will be Ennis Olson, from the Food team at Google. Follow WFP USA on YouTube to watch the event stream live on Oct. 15, 2019 at 7p.m. PST.



About World Food Program USA 

World Food Program USA is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme in the U.S. World Food Program USA works with policymakers, corporations, foundations and individuals to generate financial and in-kind resources and develop policies needed to alleviate global hunger. For more information about World Food Program USA, please visit here. The United Nations World Food Programme serves nearly 90 million people in around 83 countries each year, and is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. For more information about the World Food Programme, please visit here.

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