The Foodtech challenge

The UAE  is committed to providing its population with sufficient, safe and nutritious food. In pursuit of that ambition, the FoodTech Challenge is a global competition that seeks innovative solutions across the food value chain.

We are looking for exciting new business ideas that are technologically innovative and sustainable, and specifically tailored to the food and agriculture sectors in the UAE. Your idea can apply to any part of the food value chain, whether it is related to food production, food distribution, or food waste management. Your proposal must incorporate adaptive and innovative technologies, make efficient use of natural resources, and be commercially viable. If your idea is intended for adoption by individual households, we have a specific category of award dedicated for this market.

The FoodTech Challenge is not just a business case competition. Regardless of whether you are selected as a winner, if you have a promising business idea, we will support you to bring your idea to the UAE. This includes providing guidance on how to improve your business proposition, and ongoing engagement and networking opportunities with leading private and public sector entities in the local food and agriculture sectors.

Finally, in addition to the main competition, the FoodTech Challenge will also feature a series of community engagement events that will shed light on the latest issues and thinking about food security and agriculture technology.

The competition is brought to you by the UAE Food Security Office and Tamkeen, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

How to submit your idea

1. Applications for the FoodTech Challenge are accepted from September 2019 to February 2020.

2. A panel of experts will select the finalists entries, who will then be invited to present their business case in-person in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

3. The finals will be a three-day food and agriculture technology event, including workshops and panel discussions, networking sessions, and the final award ceremony.

4. Four winning teams will share prize money of up to $1M USD, which includes cash prizes as well as eligibility for a UAE-based accelerator programme.

How you can participate

If you want to be part of the FoodTech Challenge, you will need to submit a detailed business case proposal, as well as a one-minute pitch video. Click the button below to register and to read more about the competition rules.

Competition Timeline

  1. Competition Launch

    23 September 2019

    Participants can start submitting their entries on submissions.foodtechchallenge.com

  2. Early Bird Deadline

    17 December 2019

    Participants who submit on or before December 17th 11:59PM GST will receive initial feedback from the FoodTech Challenge Team to help improve their submission.

  3. Submission Deadline

    13 February 2020

    Submissions will not be accepted after this date. A panel of international and local agtech experts will review and select the finalists teams.

  4. Invitation to the Awards Ceremony

    15 March 2020

    The finalists teams will receive an invitation from the FoodTech Challenge team to attend the Awards Ceremony in April.

  5. Awards Ceremony

    20-22 April 2020

    The finalists teams will present their proposals to a panel of VIP judges in Abu Dhabi, who will select four final winners.


Danielle Nierenberg
Co-Founder and President
Food Tank
David Rosenberg
CEO and Co-Founder
H.E. Rashed Al Shuraiqi
Senior Advisor for Agriculture
Al Dahra Agricultural Company
Nicole Thorpe
Founding Director
Kieran Dowd
Vice President of Sourcing Solutions; General Manager
Emirates Flight Catering; Emirates Crop One
Dr. Hanan Afifi
Lead Researcher
Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority
Abdulaziz Al Mulla
Co-Founder and CEO
Madar Farms
Dr. Ramesh Jagannathan
Managing Director
Feroz Sanaulla
Senior Strategic Advisor
Roland Berger
Cinar Kurra
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Rami Zurayk
American University of Beirut
Dr. Dionysia Lyra
Halophyte Agronomist
International Center for Biosaline Agriculture
Stuart Oda
Co-Founder and CEO
Alesca Life
Penny McBride
Farmtech Society
Dr. Merle Jensen
Professor Emeritus
University of Arizona