WFP IGNITE Food Systems Challenge South Sudan

An accelerator program for food systems entrepreneurs

Apply to receive up to US $40,000 in equity-free funding, mentorship and support from world’s largest humanitarian organization.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs (BHA) and in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), are looking for South Sudan’s brightest and newest ideas on how to tackle hunger, improve food security and strengthen food systems.

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge is a first of its kind initiative to support South Sudanese entrepreneurs and their businesses. The Challenge will provide a platform for youth to pitch and showcase their businesses to win both financial and technical support. With this program, WFP, UNDP and its partners seek to foster an enabling environment for start-ups and SMEs in South Sudan to scale into commercially viable businesses that contribute to the economy while creating a positive impact in society by addressing different gaps in the food system.


                    December 15, 2021
                    Program dates Feb 1 - Jul 1, 2022
                    OrganizerWFP Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa
                    Targets South Sudan
                    Agribusiness, Agritech, Clean technology and energy, Community water systems, Food production, Manufacturing
                    SDG (4)
                    12. Responsible Consumption and Production, 2. Zero Hunger, 3. Good Health and Well-being, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy

                    What do we mean by “Food Systems”?

                    Food systems are interlocking networks of relationships that encompass functions of producing, processing, marketing, consuming, and disposing of goods from agriculture, forestry, or fisheries. In other words, it involves all activities that are needed to produce and transform food, and ensure it reaches people.
                    Food systems can be categorized into three stages:

                    1. Food Productionincludes activities primarily conducted by farmers such as land clearing and preparation, agronomy and management, and harvesting
                    2. Food transformationencompasses all functions linking the first and third levels of the food system, including transport, storage and handling, processing, and wholesaling, and retailing.
                    3. Food consumption: focuses on purchasing and utilization, and is concerned with reaching consumers and feeding populations.

                    What we offer

                    • Funding: Apply to receive up to $40,000 in equity-free funding
                    • Access to WFP & our Partners: Teams will work with WFP, UNDP, and our expert entrepreneur support partners
                    • Bespoke, Flexible Support: You’ll have the chance to request specific support on what your business needs most, with a bespoke curriculum and direct connections with experts and mentors to troubleshoot challenges your business is facing to scale
                    • Networking and exposure: Teams will be able to tap into and leverage our strong network of public, private, and government partners, and the power of our combined brands

                    How it works

                    1. Apply for the program: Help us get to know your vision, your team, and tell us why your venture should be chosen
                    2. Take the stage at an exclusive pitch event: If shortlisted, you’ll have the chance to pitch your project to an audience of potential partners, investors, and officials at an exclusive, invite-only pitch event. Tell your story and compete for non-dilutive cash awards. We provide dedicated coaching and mentorship to help you develop and refine your winning pitch.
                    3. Acceleration: Winning teams from the pitch event will receive up to US $40,000 in funding, world-class mentors, bespoke programming, and exposure to WFP’s vast field operations over a 6-month period.


                    • Have a valid business license for operating in South Sudan.
                    • Have annual revenue turnover of at least 5,000 USD equivalent for the previous year
                    • Be at least 3 full-time working members/ founders dedicated to the business.
                    • At least 50% of the senior management/ founding team is from South Sudan.
                    • Based and operating in South Sudan.

                    We are especially looking for businesses that already have developed proofs of concept/ minimum viable products and are looking to scale up their ideas! If you are youth-led (between the ages of 18 and 35) and women-led start-ups, we would love to specifically encourage you to apply!

                    How we select ventures

                    • Impact on strengthening regional food systems
                    • Feasibility, time to deliver impact, and demonstrable traction
                    • Clarity of vision, market demand, and execution strategy
                    • Financial sustainability with a clear business case
                    • Team strength, experience, and commitment

                    Applications can be submitted until 15 December 2021 at 11:30 pm (EAT). Applications submitted for the WFP IGNITE Food Systems Challenge are assessed according to a standard set of criteria and are reviewed by both WFP, our implementing partners, and external experts. While we welcome applicants working across all stages of the food system – production, manufacturing, and consumption – preference will be given to those who already show traction and market validation to support their growth.