Compete in the AgriTech Prize
Compete in the AgriTech Prize

FAQ

About the Registration Procedure

    • Anyone is eligible to register regardless of age, geographic location*, or any other factor. If someone has a great idea, they can participate. Minors will require someone of the majority age to sign legal documents on the team’s behalf.

*Please note that a team may not include any individual or entity organized anywhere prohibited by US law.

There is no cost to register. Furthermore, if someone is interested but feels as if they only have “one piece of the puzzle,” we offer a matchmaking service that helps individuals or groups find additional team members. We recognize the solution may require a multi-disciplinary approach, and once teams register they will have access to the community and resources to help make their idea possible.

To begin the process of competing, individuals will register on the prize portal and create a member profile using their name and email address.

When individuals are ready to register a team, they will update their profile in the portal as a team leader and provide their team name, team avatar, countries represented by their team, and a brief description of their team. Teams do not need to list individual team members.

Each team must be registered by a team leader. The team leader must be age of majority and will be responsible for maintaining a roster of all team members and for their ongoing compliance with the Competition Rules and Competitor Agreement.

A team leader is the person who is responsible for registering the team, maintaining a roster of the team members, and ensuring their ongoing compliance with the competition rules and competitor agreement.

The team leader must be age of majority and will be responsible for maintaining a roster of all team members and for their ongoing compliance with the Competition Rules and Competitor Agreement.

No, teams don’t need a prototype up front, but it is not required.

In the first phase of the prize, each team must submit a written prototype design and business plan.

Yes. We have strict language protecting teams’ intellectual property in the Competitor Agreement and agreements with judges. Each team will retain complete ownership of all intellectual property developed for the competition.

Team information is confidential. Prize winners in each round, however, will be expected to demonstrate and explain their designs in public. This will not include details on prototype development or confidential business schematics.

The Competitor Agreement is a document signed by the team leader, agreeing to abide by the terms of the competition.

Teams must sign the Competitor Agreement in order to be eligible to win. It must be signed by the submission deadline of December 8, 2021.

The Competitor Agreement will be available for review by May 31, 2021, and available to sign 30 days before the submission deadline.

Not at this time. English is the only language accepted for written submissions. In the future, we hope to have expanded language capacities, but we are only able to operate with English for the inaugural prize. 

Please find below outreach materials in English, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin, Modern Standard Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili.

Prize Program One Pager:

English

French

Hebrew

Hindi

Japanese

Mandarin

Modern Standard Arabic 

Portuguese

Spanish

Swahili

AgriTech Prize One Pager:

English

French

Hebrew

Hindi

Japanese

Mandarin

Modern Standard Arabic

Portuguese

Spanish

Swahili

Yes, a team may have one member. Please note we offer a matchmaking forum where individuals have the option to “team up” with other groups or individuals.

About the Prize Focus

The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech addresses the problems faced by farmers on small to medium-sized farms in Africa. Many small and medium-sized farms in Africa face two large challenges to realizing the full economic value of the crops they plant. First, they suffer from low agricultural productivity as compared to larger firms, and second, they face significant post-harvest crop loss on their way to market. Winning teams must provide increased net economic value to the farmer by any combination of improved yield, reduced loss, and decreased costs.

The prize will incentivize scalable AgriTech solutions, cultivate and support a global community of entrepreneurs, and source global data-driven insights.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. These Global Goals are articulated through 17 urgent objectives with specific suggested actions to reach each goal. Our work therefore is not to identify what the major challenges are but rather to determine what pieces of the problem are actionable and solvable through accelerated innovation and new ideas. To focus global innovators on solving a specific problem, we have to get at the root of the problem and then determine the specific root-cause market failures and opportunities.

The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech focuses on the first two SDGs: the first SDG is to eradicate poverty and the second SDG is to have zero hunger. Ending poverty is a clear first goal. For nearly 25 years, extreme poverty was on the decline. The ravaging effects of COVID-19 have compounded a growing climate crisis, and we now face the worst setback in poverty eradication we’ve seen in a generation. It is more important than ever that we act now and accelerate change to end global poverty. Ending hunger is closely intertwined with ending poverty. To understand the root of the food crisis, experts have identified the productivity and income on small and medium-sized farms, and agriculture in developing economies specifically, as critical to solving the issue of global hunger.

We interviewed more than 60 experts with diverse experience across food systems, the majority of whom were from Africa.

The problem starts with farm productivity. With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, if food loss is not reduced, food production will need to be increased by 70% and require an investment of $83 billion per year in order to meet the additional demand of 2 billion people. The problem continues “in the field” where up to 40% of harvest is lost before it even enters the distribution channels. This is the range on which we focused.

We wanted to see a broad range of innovative solutions from across the food system.

More than 80% of the farms in Africa are small or medium-sized farms. Smallholder farms produce 80% of the food in sub-Saharan Africa. Improvements or investments in smallholder farms is an effective way to lift farmers and their families out of poverty. Solutions must be able to work for small to medium-sized farms.

Harnessing the power of technology is necessary to accelerate change within productive sectors and reach enough people. The transformative power of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies—such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, cloud computing, and Internet of Things—could transform Africa into a global powerhouse. However, Africa still lags behind other regions on several indicators in terms of technology, and we as a global community need to be intentional and focused on closing the technological divide. Only 13% of the smallholder farmers have registered for any form of digital service, and only 3% are active users. There is a monumental opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa. Paired with the needed infrastructure and skills for innovation and technology use, the Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a massive opportunity for pan-African growth across sectors.

About the Prize Process

In addition to the opportunity for prize money, teams will benefit from being part of the community. Among other things, teams will have access to free resources and webinars that cover topics including design, business plan development, pitching to investors, and more. Further resources will be announced in the coming months!

Teams will also be given free enrollment to a 12-week experiential learning program powered by the Stanford Center for Professional Development Idea to Market (I2M) entrepreneurship curriculum that empowers participants to transform their mindset and build successful, sustainable startups with impact. Participants who complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion from the Stanford Center for Professional Development. 

The Prize competition consists of two rounds: an eight-month Design Round and a one-year Finalist Round.

Twenty-five prizes will be awarded at the end of the Design Round, and these teams will proceed to the Finalist Round. At the end of the Finalist Round, five prizes will be awarded. Throughout the competition, teams are provided with ongoing free mentoring, resources, and networking opportunities.

The submission window opens on November 1, 2021

The deadline for submittals is December 8, 2021

Design Round submittals must include design documents, a business plan, and a short video describing their solution. Finalist entries must submit reports based on testing criteria of their solutions as well as an updated, detailed business plan.

Designs must be suitable for use for at least one crop from a specified list of crops grown by small and medium-sized farms in Africa.

All mandatory and optional documents must be in English. Videos must either be in English or contain English subtitles. Links to Google Docs, Google Sheets, or other online materials are not acceptable.

Both rounds will be judged by a selection of global experts in technology innovation and in the production, management, processing, marketing, and/or distribution of crops by small and medium-sized farms.

The judges and their representatives will be independent of the teams, the sponsor, and the Milken Institute and will have no conflicts of interest with any of those parties.

Teams’ submittals will be judged upon their potential to increase net economic value to the farmer by increasing productivity on the farm and/or decreasing post-harvest loss. In their execution, entries will be judged on their potential to:

    • – Reduce costs to small and medium-sized farms
    • – Be implemented in practice by small and medium-sized farms
    • – Be deployed affordably or at scale, based on a viable business model
    • – Develop or integrate innovative technologies into current farming practices on small and medium-sized farms

The judges will also consider each submittal’s environmental, agricultural, and social impact. Entries that cause environmental harm, damage long-term agricultural productivity, encourage unsafe labor practices, and/or create unfair economic effects will be penalized in the judges’ evaluations.

At the end of the Finalist Round, teams will submit reports, as specified in their testing protocols, documenting the performance of their designs. See Competition Rules for more details.

Teams must also submit detailed business models showing how small and medium-sized farms can afford to adopt their designs. Models must describe, at a minimum:

  • -Means of delivery and cost to small and medium-sized farms
  • -Operating requirements (water, power consumable/reusable inputs, staff, etc.)
  • -Estimated three-year total cost of ownership, including maintenanc

There will be a mandatory online Team Summit during the summer of 2022, at the midpoint of the Finalist Round. This event will call teams together with African and global experts on agriculture, economics, and technology innovation. Investors and representatives of startup incubators will also be invited. Details of the Team Summit will be made available early in the Finalist Round.

If any Finalist Round team cannot afford to proceed, they may apply for a grant of up to $10,000. Up to a total of $100,000 across all teams may be provided through grants. Grants will be awarded at the sole discretion of the judges, and grant application materials will be made available before the Design Round prizes are awarded.

Winning teams will join the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize program alumni network following prize completion.

Alumni will have access to a pipeline for investment and to the broader Milken Institute network. Significant new data captured and ideas generated from the range of innovations and field tests will help accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

Anyone is eligible to register regardless of age, geographic location*, or any other factor. If you have a great idea, you can participate. Minors will require someone of the majority age to sign legal documents on the team’s behalf.

There is no cost to register. Furthermore, if you are interested but feel as if you only have “one piece of the puzzle,” we offer a matchmaking service that helps you find additional team members. We recognize the solution may require a multi-disciplinary approach, and once you register, you’ll have access to the community and resources to help make your idea possible.

To begin the process of competing, you will register on the prize portal and create a member profile using your name and email address. 

When you are ready to register a team, you will update your profile in the portal as a team leader and provide your team name, team avatar, countries represented by your team, and a brief description of your team. You do not need to list individual team members.

Each team must be registered by a team leader. The team leader must be age of majority and will be responsible for maintaining a roster of all team members and for their ongoing compliance with the Competition Rules and Competitor Agreement.

A team leader is the person who is responsible for registering the team, maintaining a roster of the team members, and ensuring their ongoing compliance with the competition rules and competitor agreement.

No, you don’t need a prototype up front. In the first phase of the prize, each team must submit a written prototype design and business plan.

Teams can have a prototype up front, but it is not required.

Yes. We have strict language protecting teams’ intellectual property in the Competitor Agreement and agreements with judges. Each team will retain complete ownership of all intellectual property developed for the competition.

Team information is confidential. Prize winners in each round, however, will be expected to demonstrate and explain their entries in public. This will not include details on prototype development or confidential business schematics.

Not at this time. English is the only language accepted for written submissions. In the future, we hope to have expanded language capacities, but we are only able to operate with English for the inaugural prize. 

Please click here [insert link(s)] to see outreach materials in English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin, Modern Standard Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili.

Yes, a team may have one member. Please note we offer a matchmaking forum where you can “team up” with other groups or individuals if you wish.

Anyone is eligible to register regardless of age, geographic location*, or any other factor. If you have a great idea, you can participate. Minors will require someone of the majority age to sign legal documents on the team’s behalf.

There is no cost to register. Furthermore, if you are interested but feel as if you only have “one piece of the puzzle,” we offer a matchmaking service that helps you find additional team members. We recognize the solution may require a multi-disciplinary approach, and once you register, you’ll have access to the community and resources to help make your idea possible.

To begin the process of competing, you will register on the prize portal and create a member profile using your name and email address. 

When you are ready to register a team, you will update your profile in the portal as a team leader and provide your team name, team avatar, countries represented by your team, and a brief description of your team. You do not need to list individual team members.

Each team must be registered by a team leader. The team leader must be age of majority and will be responsible for maintaining a roster of all team members and for their ongoing compliance with the Competition Rules and Competitor Agreement.

A team leader is the person who is responsible for registering the team, maintaining a roster of the team members, and ensuring their ongoing compliance with the competition rules and competitor agreement.

No, you don’t need a prototype up front. In the first phase of the prize, each team must submit a written prototype design and business plan.

Teams can have a prototype up front, but it is not required.

Yes. We have strict language protecting teams’ intellectual property in the Competitor Agreement and agreements with judges. Each team will retain complete ownership of all intellectual property developed for the competition.

Team information is confidential. Prize winners in each round, however, will be expected to demonstrate and explain their entries in public. This will not include details on prototype development or confidential business schematics.

Not at this time. English is the only language accepted for written submissions. In the future, we hope to have expanded language capacities, but we are only able to operate with English for the inaugural prize. 

Please click here [insert link(s)] to see outreach materials in English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin, Modern Standard Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili.

Yes, a team may have one member. Please note we offer a matchmaking forum where you can “team up” with other groups or individuals if you wish.

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