Branson Centre and Undp aim to enable entrepreneurs with new food innovation challenge

  • Food Waste Innovation Challenge launched in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • 10 entrepreneurs to be selected for a six-month go-to-market and investor-readiness mentorship programme
  • Challenge is supported by partner UNDP Accelerator Labs South Africa

(Cape Town, 13 May 2021): Today, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa announces the launch of its Food Waste Innovation Challenge. The Challenge comes off an impactful partnership with the UNDP Accelerator Labs South Africa, which allows entrepreneurs access to the Branson Centre’s Ignite programme to scale their food waste solutions.
Backed by global entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson, the Branson Centre seeks to assist entrepreneurs aiming to fulfil a larger purpose with their business. Through its Ignite Business Accelerator, a six-month go-to-market and investor-readiness programme, the Centre provides one-on-one business development to entrepreneurs whose businesses have an impact by design across the broad themes of Zero Waste, Create Local and Tech4Good.
“South Africa sees some 10 million tonnes of food at a cost of more than R61.5 billion go to landfills each year,” says Rowan Le Roux of the Branson Centre Zero Waste & Circular Economy Advisory Board and the first certified Future Fit practitioner in South Africa. “The twelfth goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce global food waste by 50% by 2030. 
“R61.5 billion is no small change and, given this enormous cost, the adverse environmental impact and the social implications of millions of people going hungry, we hope to find like-minded entrepreneurs that are ready to take their ideas to market, thereby helping South Africa intercept and prevent food waste.”
With the Ignite programme starting on 1 June 2021, the Food Waste Innovation Challenge is the first round of recruitment to the programme for qualifying entrepreneurs. The Branson Centre and UNDP will select 10 entrepreneurs for this challenge, all of whom will be provided with direct mentorship; access to expert opinions, insights and inputs for their business; third-party collaborations on their purpose, brand identity and marketing; regular progress workshops; and access to legal, IT, accounting and other business services. 
Simone Smit, Head of Exploration at the UNDP Accelerator Lab South Africa says: “We are delighted to be partnering on this exciting challenge with the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa. This initiative provides a portfolio of solutions contributing to inclusive growth, sustainability and food security, and thus accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Food Waste Innovation Challenge is further supported by WWF South Africa and the V&A Waterfront, both of which will provide successful entrepreneurs to the programme with insights and real-life application for their solutions. 
Entrepreneurs who have an innovative solution to food waste and are interested in applying for the challenge can register via the Branson Centre website

About the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South AfricaThe Branson Centre enables entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to drive positive impact for people, planet and profit. The Centre represents namesake Sir Richard Branson’s core values to support like-minded, passionate entrepreneurs who aim to fulfil a larger purpose with their business. Through strategic partnerships and tailored one-on-one development, the Branson Centre is entrepreneurial in everything they do, helping to embed purpose-led business skills and, importantly, changing business for good.
About the UNDP Accelerator Lab South AfricaThe United Nations Development Programme works in nearly 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, the reduction of inequalities and exclusion, and the protection of the planet. UNDP helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and build resilience to sustain development results, as well as acting as the convenor of the Sustainable Development Goals. The UNDP Accelerator Lab project is in response to the growing complexity of development challenges and is composed of a network of 90 labs in developing countries, designing strategies and interventions to deliver development differently. The Accelerator Labs form the world’s largest and fastest learning network to accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable development. 

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