December 22, 2017 casper

Above: Innovator Joanna Kane-Potaka at the LAUNCH Food Forum. 

The LAUNCH Food accelerator period has proven to be a busy and exciting time for our innovators– some are on the cusp of expansion, while others are gaining ground with newly established business models. Collectively, they have attracted nearly USD $20 million in funding since the beginning of the accelerator. Here are just a few highlights:

  • HarvestPlus has been awarded a $15 million grant as one of the finalists for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition. The global challenge seeks bold solutions to critical problems of our time. After careful consideration, the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Directors was convinced that HarvestPlus’ work provides a viable and much-needed solution to the worldwide problem of hidden hunger. Read more to learn how they will use the funds to scale up and reach more communities.

  • Evaptainers had a major engineering breakthrough and are ready to start production on an enhanced version of the Evaptainer. Read more about how their collaboration with 3M continues to demonstrate how small social enterprises can work with multinational corporations on similar challenges.

  • Telenor​ ​Mobile​ ​Agriculture​​ ​achieved​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​milestone​ ​when​ ​their Khush’haal Zamindar (Prosperous Farmer) platform​ ​reached​ ​four million farmers in​ ​Pakistan.​ ​They​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​and​ ​strengthen​ ​their​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​reaching​ ​more​ ​women farmers– ​read​ ​more​ ​about​ ​that​ in this feature.​

  • Kirsty Bayliss of Breaking the Mould has made the complete transition from scientist to scientist-entrepreneur: “I don’t think that I would have gotten this far without the support of Rachel and the LAUNCH team,” she tells LAUNCH.

  • Robert Oliver has been hard at work producing the first episodes of Pacific Islands Food Revolution, and has been raising awareness and excitement about this new health education initiative across the Pacific region. Check out our latest Q&A with Chef Oliver, where we ask him about how he’s striving to reinvigorate traditions around healthy eating in the Pacific region.

  • FoodSwitch is expanding operations! You’ll see their mobile app deploy in the US before the end of 2017. That adds to the rapidly increasing list of countries that FoodSwitch is changing how consumers, governments, and the private sector interact with our food system.

  • The Biofilta team has just returned from their first research trip to Tuvalu. The trip marked the beginning of a DFAT-funded project to explore innovative perched food growing systems, which create a barrier between the crop and contaminated soils below, can assist communities to grow food on compromised soil types. Read co-founder Brendan Condon’s update here!

  • Joanna Kane-Potaka of Smart Food Most recently, Joanna has won approval from ICRISAT to establish the Smart Food Endowment Fund, with an initial commitment of US $2m and a target of $10m within 3 years. The ambition is to create a $100m fund for Smart Food. "Winning LAUNCH, and this being led by USAID and DFAT, was one of the arguments I gave in my presentation to the Board when I went through the risk assessment," Joanna tells the LAUNCH team. Smart Food’s Kenya team is now working on the second season of a Smart Food reality show, using input from a LAUNCH council member representing the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and fellow LAUNCH Food innovator Robert Oliver..

  • Salah Sukkarieh and his team are advancing the Digital Farmhand technology to be used as an educational tool for STEM instruction, working with Biofilta on potential collaborations between the two systems. Sukkarieh was recently featured in an in-depth Australian Financial Review article on the rise of robotics and “cobotics” in farming– read it here!