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EPC, GAIn, Elevator Pitch Contest, Aflatoxins

The Elevator Pitch Contest by GAIN is here! 

An elevator pitch is a critical part of the entrepreneurial process. As competition for research and investment funds increases, young scientists need to effectively articulate their idea and do so in a manner that is persuasive and precise. Sight and Life has developed a platform for organizing an elevator pitch contest (EPC) on disruptive ideas to stimulate networks and dialogue, especially among innovators.

The Elevator Pitch Contest by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), in collaboration with Sight and Life, Mars Incorporated, and Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN), is seeking disruptive ideas from students and young professionals who can design an innovative product, service, technology, application or approach reducing or eliminating exposure to aflatoxin-contaminated foods and feed. 

To stimulate innovation from different fields, the contest will have two categories:
– Non-food category: Aimed at finding alternative, non-food solutions to keep aflatoxin-contaminated foods and feeds out of the food system

– Food category: Aimed at identifying solutions to eliminate or reduce exposure to aflatoxins from foods and feeds

Why a Aflatoxin-Free Food System?

Aflatoxins, toxic metabolites of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus fungi, are one of the greatest risks to food security in developing countries.  Over 4 billion people are at risk of chronic exposure to aflatoxins through contaminated foods. Significant health problems caused by aflatoxins include acute liver damage and liver cancer. Aflatoxins may be also involved in immune suppression, and growth impairment in children.

Aflatoxins significantly impact trade and economy. Inability to achieve import standards can create barriers to the development of sustainable agriculture, e.g., Africa loses approximately US$670 million annually in lost trade to Europe alone as a result of raw materials failing to meet EU import standards. High yield crop years can often result in even more waste due to limited storage facilities and an inability to export. Economically viable alternative uses of contaminated products could mitigate these economic losses for farmers unable to sell on market, and reduce the risk that they are consumed (through own production or sales within less controlled markets).

Cash Prizes and More!

Three finalists from each category will win a trip (round trip and accommodation) to Mumbai to participate in the 19th World Congress of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST, October 23-28, 2018) and pitch their idea to a panel of experts and potential investors. The winner in each category will receive seed funds of USD $15,000 to further develop the idea. Submit your concept HERE by August 6, 2018