CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge 2024

Reimagine. Innovate. Sustain.


Are you an innovator working on a solution that can foster Colombia’s transition to a Circular Economy?

Apply to the CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge and get the chance to benefit from a full-funded acceleration program to validate your innovation on the ground.

We are looking for purpose-driven scientists and entrepreneurs working on the Circular Economy industry for a more sustainable and efficient recovery of waste from the agri-food sector in Colombia.

This program is designed specifically for early-stage national and international innovation teams. At this stage, you must have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or Proof of Concept (POC). This program will support and prepare you to build a solid go-to-market strategy.

Your agri-tech innovation must align with one of the priority areas:

  • Waste valorization for soil health and agricultural productivity
  • Advanced wastewater treatment and reuse
  • Innovative waste conversion for animal feed
  • Renewable energy generation from agri-food waste
  • Repurposing waste into functional materials and inputs


PhaseDates (2024)
Call for applicationsJuly-August
Acceleration programOctober – February 2025
Demo dayFebruary 2025


Who should apply?

The CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge is open to national and international innovation teams that meet the below criteria:

  • Are pre-commercial or conceptual stage with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or Proof of Concept (POC)*
  • Have developed a novel solution that addresses a real market demand in Colombia and falls under at least one of the 5 priority areas
  • Are the sole inventors and copyright holders of the solution
  • Are purpose-driven practitioners, entrepreneurs, students, researchers or CGIAR scientists with a demonstrated willingness to adopt an entrepreneurial approach to their innovations
  • Are either a registered company or affiliated to a research institute/center or university
  • Are fully committed to the program and be ready to travel to Colombia for the activities on the ground

Important Note: Incomplete applications that do not comply with the terms and conditions specified in the call, or are submitted after the deadline, will not be considered for evaluation.

*Selected applicants in the growth stage and beyond with a sustainable business model may be invited to pitch their solutions to investors at the demo day.

What’s in it for you?

The CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge offers a comprehensive range of resources and connections to selected applicants

  • A tailored acceleration program combining business training, growth and technical assistance.
  • On-the-ground experimentation and pilot testing in Colombia.
  • Support in the development of a pitch and investment teaser for fundraising.
  • Networking and technical assistance from CGIAR scientists and industry partners.
  • Networking and business mentorship with some of the best local entrepreneurs in Colombia.
  • Exposure to potential investors, opening doors to funding opportunities and commercial partnerships.

What is the selection process?

PhaseDates (2024)Description
Call for applicationsJuly – AugustA call for agri-food and climate-tech innovations followed by a
selection process based on the criteria of applicability to the context of
Colombia, scientific relevance, novelty and uniqueness, sustainability and
scalability, environmental and social impact, and team. This phase is
supported by the expertise and networks of partners.
BootcampOctober20 selected teams (that include 5 CGIAR-led innovations) benefit from
an intensive, 4-day bootcamp in Colombia, offering technical
guidance and mentorship to prepare for the pitch day.
Acceleration programOctober – February (2025)10 teams engage in an acceleration program, combining business training
and technical assistance to support them in developing an actionable pathway
to scale.
Demo dayFebruary (2025)10 teams pitch their solutions to investors, industry experts,
agribusinesses, scientists, governmental
institutions, and the media at the closing demo day.


How do we select?

Applications are assessed according to a set of criteria and scored on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 5 being the highest score (excellent).

  • Applicability to the context of Colombia: Your team should possess a comprehensive understanding of Colombia’s agriculture sector, its specific needs, and challenges,
    demonstrating that your solution is tailored to fit at least one of the priority areas.
  • Scientific relevance: Your solution and its applications should be clearly defined and scientifically validated with a clear connection to CGIAR’s Impact Areas and ongoing research projects.​​
  • Novelty and uniqueness: Your solution should introduce new concepts, approaches, or technologies that diverge from existing ideas and practices.
  • Sustainability and Scalability: The solution’s business model should be robust and sustainable, addressing market needs effectively and distinguishing itself from competitors in Colombia. It should be supported by documented evidence of market size,
    scalability, replicability, and transferability, and the ability to prevent competitors from replicating or infringing the innovation.
  • Environmental and social impact: The solution should effectively address social and environmental challenges, with measurable and positive impacts in these areas.
  • Team: Your team should have a diverse and complementary skillset, and possess technical, scientific or industry specific knowledge. Your team demonstrates inclusivity, dedication, and commitment to the activities and deliverables of the innovation challenge.

How to apply?

Submit your application by 12 August 2024 23:59 Colombia time GMT-5:

Applicants are required to register, build out their profile, and fill in the application form.

For any questions, contact



Closes August 12, 2024
Program dates Mar 1 - Feb 28
Website Visit website
Targets Colombia
Sectors Sector agnostic
SDG (14)
1. No Poverty, 10. Reduced Inequality, 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12. Responsible Consumption and Production, 13. Climate Action, 14. Life Below Water, 15. Life on Land, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 6. Clean Water and Sanitation, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure