The Food Lab Offers $30,000 in Prizes for Food System Innovation

May 23, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas — AUSTIN, Texas — Do you have an idea for a business, a product or a process that will change the way the world feeds itself? If so, consider submitting your business plan to The Food Lab Challenge, an early-stage startup competition launching June 1.  Entrants will compete for $30,000 in prizes to launch their business ventures.

The competition is open to anyone — from undergraduate students to established entrepreneurs — interested in launching a business venture that produces a consumer food product.

To compete in The Food Lab Challenge, entrants simply need to register at the Food Lab Website. Staffers at The Food Lab will help guide entrants through the rest of the process of sketching out their ideas, forming a team of three or four members to help develop each idea into a business plan, and then submitting the team’s business plan and other materials by Sept. 30.

The Food Lab is looking for team ideas that not only result in a great product but also affect and improve how the food supply chain functions. Teams that build a great product and can integrate food supply system innovations are awarded additional points. Teams should consider how their product has potential global impact in one or more of the following categories:

  • Inputs and Production
  • Processing, Packaging and Safety
  • Storage and Distribution
  • Healthy Eating and Food Education

If chosen as a finalist, teams are eligible to win up to $30,000 in prizes.  A winner in each category will receive $5,000 and will be eligible for the grand prize of $10,000.

Important Dates:

June 1 – Registration opens.

Sept. 30 – Food Lab Challenge registration ends; business plans due.

Nov. 1 – Finalist teams chosen and paired with mentors.

Feb. 14, 2015 – Winning teams announced.

About The Food Lab:

Directed by Robyn Metcalfe, The Food Lab at The University of Texas at Austin provides awareness of food issues, encourages and motivates students and community partners to engage with innovative food systems research and provides support to startups.

“By encouraging entrepreneurs to innovate new solutions to problems within our food system, The Food Lab brings together skills and disciplines that are not commonly included in food startup discussions,” says Metcalfe. “The Food Lab engages scientists, engineers, historians, geographers, nutritionists, urban designers, linguists, agronomists, farmers and artists.”

For more information, contact: Meghan Mullaney, Biomedical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering College of Engineering, 512 471 4601;  Robyn Metcalfe, School of Human Ecology, College of Natural Sciences, 512-475-6710; Lisa O'Neill, 512-494-6178.