Rabobank Announces Winners of MIT Food & Agribusiness Prize
NEW YORK (May 15, 2018) – Rabobank and MIT have announced that EatWell and Context Insights earned the top prizes at the third annual Rabobank-MIT Food & Agribusiness Innovation Prize, a premier business-plan competition for early-stage ideas/businesses developed by undergraduate, MBA and other graduate students.
The competition, which invites teams to pitch innovative business plans focused on new and sustainable products or technologies in food and agribusiness, is sponsored by Rabobank in partnership with the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) and the MIT Food and Agriculture Club. The competition is open to many leading universities, with applicants this year from Yale, NYU, Harvard, University of Chicago, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell and MIT.
The top prize of $15,000 went to EatWell, which makes healthy eating more accessible to low-income urban families, reducing cost and inconvenience barriers with a 30-minute, one-pot meal kit. Context Insights, which earned the second-place prize of $10,000, provides commodity price forecasts for developing countries by crowdsourcing insights from farmers and traders through text messages, with an aim to increase market liquidity by drawing on an untapped data source.
“We are inspired by the groundbreaking ideas and tangible business plans these students have developed to address some of the most important issues worldwide related to food and agriculture,” said David Bassett, Rabobank Head of Wholesale Banking North America. “This competition, along with our innovation-focused programs such as the FoodBytes! start-up pitch competition and Terra food and ag tech accelerator, is part of our continuous effort to foster innovation and sustainability within food and agribusiness and address the sector’s most pressing challenges in commercially viable ways.”
The winners are also invited by Rabobank as guests to travel to and participate in F&A Next, a two-day international food and agribusiness innovation event at Wageningen University Campus in the Netherlands in late May.
Five other strong teams competed in the final pitch event on May 2 at MIT. Teams applied for the competition in late 2017 and the seven finalists were selected in January and paired with mentors.
“Our goal is to give these student-run companies a head start so they can fulfill on the great promise that they have,” said Tejal Mody, Managing Director at Rabobank.