MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — The World Food Program (WFP) Innovation Accelerator and Cargill are accepting applications for the Global Innovation Challenge for Zero Hunger, from Feb. 4-28. The goal is for start-ups, private companies and NGOs to submit solutions that can sustainably lift people out of hunger.

“The world is never going to be fully at peace without ending hunger,” said David Beasley, executive director of the WFP. “It is a critical problem for every organization with a global interest, no matter what sector. We will never address this problem and solve it by the United Nations alone, nor by governments alone. The only way we will solve this is by the private sector being integrally engaged and involved. This is why we need to step it up to another level and be even more creative and innovative together.”

The Global Innovation Challenge for Zero Hunger is looking for proposals that could improve the lives of smallholder farmers and small-scale livestock producers, reach a step change in food systems or increase the effectiveness of emergency response.

Selected teams will participate in a joint boot camp at the WFP Innovation Accelerator from May 13-17 in Munich, Germany, where they will work on field-level challenges and refine project plans with the hands-on support of industry experts and partners, including Cargill leaders. Teams also will get a chance to receive up to $100,000 in equity-free funding and access to a global network to test the solution’s impact and scalability in the field.

Teams applying to the challenge must:

• Be a registered company, with a for-profit or not-for-profit designation,

• have a minimum viable product, and

• show initial evidence of their solution, such as results of user research or initial tests of their prototypes.

Cargill has committed $550,000 in support of the WFP Innovation Accelerator, which is specifically designed to identify, develop and scale bold solutions to achieve zero hunger.

“At Cargill, we invest in innovation to solve some of the greatest food and sustainability challenges of our time,” said David MacLennan, chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill. “This includes collaborating with tech start-ups who bring an agile and entrepreneurial approach needed to quickly inspire change. We’re proud to partner with the WFP on a program dedicated to identifying and creating solutions to feed the world and evolve our global food and agricultural systems.”

Cargill said this new collaboration builds upon several other programs it and WFP have jointly launched since the partnership began in 2001. To date, Cargill has provided more than $12 million to WFP to improve the health and nutrition of people in need around the globe, with an emphasis on developing countries.

The call for applications to end hunger and further sustainability comes closely after Cargill’s commitment to seek more sustainable consumer products and packaging through greater use of plant-based materials with ADM, Ingredion and Tate & Lyle.

Applications deadline is Feb. 28. Teams can apply on the WFP Innovation Accelerator:  innovation.wfp.org/apply.