Student entrepreneurs aim to Feeding the world by 2050. Three Lund University students landed the runner up prize of $5000 with their business idea FoPo food powder.
February 14th is celebrated as a day of love around the world, but for a team of young entrepreneurs from Lund University, a more serious topic was the focus of the day. FoPo Food Powder, as the team is called, was tackling the problem of food security and how to feed the world by 2050, as they competed in the Thought for Food Challenge in Lisbon, Portugal.
$5.000 was awarded to two teams in tie for runner up to teams Aahar from IIT Bombay, India and FoPo from Lund University, Sweden. Team Ahaar developed an automated refrigeration truck to reduce post harvest waste. They also won the Special Award of $5000 awarded by the Kirchner Food Fellows. Team Fopo strives to reduce waste of groceries’ produce by freeze drying and pulverizing them to a powder, extending their shelf life in the process.
Reporter Chrisant Rystiasih got a chance to talk with FoPo who consists of Gerald Perry Marin, Vita Jarolimkova who are both studying the Erasmus Mundus Masters program Food Innovation and Product Design, and Kent Ngo studying a masters of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design.
Team FoPo worked together from 3 different countries with 8 hours time difference between them as members were abroad for their studies. They didn’t let the distance come between them, instead focusing their efforts on their customers.
Gerald Perry Marin tells us about their strategy during preparation, “Talking to the real customers and validating if they are interested in buying the product. Since we have a lot of target markets, we tried to follow the path of least resistance, and pursue the customers who are more interested in FoPo.”
Vita Jarolimkova shared the challenges FoPo had to face during their preparation week in Lisbon. ” The stress and pressure. The mentors were quite strict and always wanted us to work harder on the pitch, while we were also working on the packaging prototype and talking with our partners. But we managed.”
Kent Ngo encountered a different type of challenge, “I had to protect a 3D-printer from getting damaged during the flight – in the end it got to stay home.” Despite the setbacks team FoPo was able to deliver a strong winning pitch.
As a climatic finale for the challenge, from around the world young minds and key experts in the field of food security convened for The Thought for Food Summit. The event was held over two days. The first morning was filled with presentations from experts such as Nicholas Haan from Singularity University showcasing the need of change of mindset and Bran Govards from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT, advocating for technological developments in seeds.
The afternoon were filled with workshops that featured topics a little out of the ordinary. Biological engineering for the future of food, disruptive design using cardboard, using entertainment to inspire action, growing food with artificial intelligence, and how to get funding for a project are just a few examples.
On the second day, the 10 top finalist of the challenge took the stage to pitch their ideas and win a grand prize of $10.000. The energy was pumped to the roof with a DJ and a dance floor as all participants were invited to join in a rave to kick start the morning! The momentum continued to build as the afternoon carried on. One by one they shared their ideas, adding to the energy level in the room. As the last team closed their pitch, the atmosphere in the room felt supercharged and buzzing excitement for great innovations and ideas from the team. The deliberations proved to be difficult, as the judges announced there would be two runner up teams instead of only one.
First place with the prize of $10.000 went to team Innovision from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. They created a solar-powered, micro climate chamber to increase the shelf life of produce that is portable and affordable for use in developing countries.
The summit is over, but this is just the start for FoPo. To find more info about FoPo visit their facebook page www.facebook.com/fopofoodpowder.
Fact: Thought for Food
- TFF Challenge is a competition that addresses the need to come up with innovative solutions for global challenges.
- University students across the globe are called to form teams and supported to develop breakthrough projects through cutting-edge learning tools and resources.