Aquaculture Innovation Challenge seeks applicants for Indonesia contest

The application process for the 2019 Aquaculture Innovation Challenge is set to kick off on 23 January, pitting promising aquaculture-related start-ups against each other in a battle for a cash prize and introductions to deep-pocketed investors.

The first Aquaculture Innovation Challenge took place in 2017 in Vietnam, with Entobel, a firm that produces fish feed from insects fed with byproducts from Vietnam’s food industry, taking home the top prize.

Indonesia is playing host to this year’s contest, which will be co-hosted by the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal, Solidaridad Network, Fresh Studio, and Bogor Agricultural University (IPB). The Global Aquaculture Alliance, Hatch Blue, and The Walton Family Foundation are providing financial support and additional expertise to this year’s challenge.

This year’s AIC is open to students, start-ups, project teams, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and other companies with ideas likely to advance the shrimp industry in Indonesia, with an eye toward improving the sector’s sustainability. 

The AIC application period stretches from 23 January to 15 March, with competitors choosing one of three categories: design, or early-stage concepts, in which the innovation is still in the idea stage and has been partially developed but not yet fully conceptualized; demonstration, or middle-stage ideas, in which the innovation has been fully conceptualized, and all components of a business plan have (partially) been developed; and upscaling, or late-stage concepts, in which the innovation has demonstrated to be technically and financially feasible and has had a positive social and environmental impact. 

Participants also must choose one of the following categories for their proposals: Production innovation, in which the concept is related to shrimp farming itself (such as inputs, tech, management); or consumer value, which is oriented towards innovations related to traceability, blockchain, trade platforms, shelf life, or the marketing and branding of shrimp. 

Those chosen to compete in this year’s AIC will be given access to programming that includes knowledge-accrual, networking, and ideas and connections for collecting financing or capital. They will also hear from speakers from around the world, including financial and technical experts and experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders from GAA, Hatch Blue, JALA, Rabobank, Walton Family Foundation, XpertSea, and more.

The winner of the production innovation category will be awarded USD 50,000 (EUR 43,400) in cash and admission to Hatch Blue’s three-month aquaculture accelerator program, and given access to the business incubator’s global network of industry professionals and investors, adding up to a cash and in-kind prize worth USD 100,000 (EUR 86,800), in exchange for a small equity stake.

In partnership with the GAA, the AIC will award the winner in the Consumer Value category a cash prize of USD 10,000 (EUR 8,700) and a member of each winning team will receive a travel package to participate in and deliver a presentation at the GOAL 2019 conference in Chennai, India.

Photo courtesy of Aquaculture Innovation Challenge


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