Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to all participants above 18 years old.

We are specifically looking for early-stage agri food tech start-ups within Food Production and Food Loss and Waste.

To be eligible to participate, your start-up should:

  • Address ‘Food Production’ or ‘Food Loss and Waste’ segments of the value chain

  • Have not yet gone for a Series-A funding round

  • Have a workable minimum viable product

  • Have been in operation for less than 5 years

  • Have no more than 25 employees 

To be shortlisted as a finalist, your start-up needs to exhibit a unique and sustainable technological solution, a strong plan for commercial viability, relevance to UAE’s food security priorities, and a clear implementation plan in the UAE, should you be successful.

Please note that start-ups may also be considered eligible to apply on a case-by-case basis. If you have any questions about your eligibility to apply, please contact us at info@foodtechchallenge.com.



What is the FoodTech Challenge?

The FoodTech Challenge is a global competition that seeks to find the next wave of technology innovations that are on the cusp of transforming food and traditional agriculture practices, efficiently and sustainably.

What parts of the food value chain is the FoodTech Challenge focused on?

The FoodTech Challenge is focused on two areas:

  • ‘Food production,’ to address the availability and abundance of food and explore next-gen nutrient rich alternatives

  • ‘Food loss and waste,’ to ensure sustainability across the food supply chain and the planet more broadly

Submissions outside of these areas are not eligible for consideration. If you have questions about whether your idea or start-up is eligible, please contact us at info@foodtechchallenge.com.

Am I eligible to participate?

To be eligible to participate in the competition, you must be 18 years or older. You do not need to have a business license, certificate of incorporation, or similar document in your home jurisdiction.

Your start-up should:

  • Have a workable minimum viable product

  • Be less than 5 years old

  • Have fewer than 25 employees

  • Have not yet raised Series A funding

  • Address one of two food value chain focus areas: ‘Food production,’ or ‘Food loss and waste’

What are the evaluation criteria?

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • Technology: Applications must be feature value-adding technologies that have the potential to transform the food and agriculture sectors through unique solutions

  • Commercial Viability: Applications must have a clearly identified and significant addressable market and a pathway for financial viability over the medium term

  • Environmental Sustainability: Applications must demonstrate efficient use of natural resources and contribute to the environmental sustainability of food and agriculture

  • UAE Relevance: Applications must target a food security challenge relevant to the UAE, and solutions must have the potential to be deployed in the country

  • Pathway to UAE Impact: Applications must have a well-formed, actionable plan for how their solutions can be tested, developed, and potentially launched (or scaled up) in the UAE

What is expected of the winners?

Winners will be expected to use the cash prize, R&D, mentorship, and incubation support to deploy their technologies in the UAE.

Fully relocating your start-up to the UAE is not required, but local incorporation in the UAE is typically a prerequisite for unlocking R&D funding, acceleration programs, investment, or other commercial opportunities.

Why the UAE?

The UAE has outlined a bold vision to reach the world’s #1 place in the Global Food Security Index by 2051. To achieve this, it has launched and collaborated on bold local and global initiatives, including the US-UAE AIM for Climate Project - a $4 billion initiative to invest in climate-smart agriculture and food systems, the Food Tech Valley, the FoodTech Challenge, and much more.

How do I apply to the FoodTech Challenge?

To participate in the FoodTech Challenge, you will need to create an account on the competition submission portal.

After you have created an account and verified your email address, please login to access the application form. You will have to provide information about your organization and proposed solution, along with short responses to several prompts, a detailed business case featuring additional company information, and a demo video of your solution. If you would like to receive feedback prior to the Regular Submission deadline, you may opt for the Early Submission route, which entails submitting the application form alongside an executive summary by the Early Submission deadline (May 20th). If shortlisted, you will then receive feedback as relevant and be asked to provide the remaining supporting information (detailed business case + demo video) by the Regular Submission deadline (July 8th).

Once you have provided all the required information, you can submit your application!

What is the difference between Early Submission and Regular Submission?

You have two options for submitting your application:

Option 1: Early Submission

  • Recommended if: You are unsure of your eligibility for the FoodTech Challenge or would like feedback on your submissions

  • Process

    • Submit the application form and short overview of your proposed solution and/or start-up (“Executive Summary”) by May 20 2022

    • FoodTech Challenge evaluators will determine your eligibility and, if you are shortlisted, you will be notified in early June 2022. You may also receive feedback on your application form and executive summary, as relevant.

    • You will have until 8 July 2022 to submit your Supporting Information (i.e., business case and demo video)

Option 2: Regular Submission

  • Recommended if: You have all the information required, are familiar with the food and agriculture sectors in the UAE, and do not wish to confirm your eligibility or obtain feedback

  • What will happen:

    • Submit your Application Form and Supporting Information (i.e., business case and demo video) by 8 July 2022

What happens after I submit my application?

  • Level 1:

    • All applications will be screened for eligibility and completeness.

      • Track 1 (Early Submission): If you are a shortlisted applicant, you may then submit a detailed business case and demo video based on the feedback received
      • Track 2 (Regular Submission): Once you have submitted your application and supporting information, your submission is considered final
    • All applicants will be notified by mid-July if they have been shortlisted to Level 2

  • Level 2:

    • Eligible applicant’s business case submissions and demo videos will be evaluated by a selection committee featuring technical and commercial judges

    • No further action is required from applicants in Level 2

  • Level 3:

    • Approximately 25 of the highest scoring applications will then be invited for virtual interviews to be conducted by the FoodTech Challenge’s local innovation and start-up partners in mid-August

    • Applicants will be expected to prepare a short pitch and answer questions from judges

  • Level 4:

    • Following the interviews, the top 10 teams will be invited to pitch to FoodTech Challenge’s finale judges and meet local partners in mid-November at an Awards Ceremony, during which 4 winners will be selected

Who will review my application?

Applications will be reviewed by the FoodTech Challenge Program Staff and may be reviewed by members of the technical, commercial, and finale judging panels. All reviewers will have agreed to abide by professional ethics including a commitment to maintain the confidentiality of information obtained in the course of review and an explicit provision not to use any information obtained for any commercial purposes beyond the context of the FoodTech Challenge.

What support is available to finalists?

Finalists will be provided opportunities to receive mentorship from UAE experts in preparation for their pitches to finale judges.

What should be included in the Supporting Information (i.e., business case and demo video)?

Please review the detailed requirements provided on the application portal.

When and where will the awards ceremony take place?

The FoodTech Challenge awards ceremony will take place in early November 2022. The location of the event will be announced closer to the date. The FoodTech Challenge will cover transportation, and accommodation costs for a select number of finalists to visit the UAE (subject to travel restrictions).