Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge?

  1. Click on the following link
  2. Review the Eligibility criteria
  3. Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button
  4. Complete the application form
  5. Click on ‘Submit’  to submit your application.
  6.  The finalists will be announced and will proceed to the pre-acceleration phase.

What are the key dates to keep in mind? OR What is the Program Timeline?

  • Applications open: March 06, 2023
  • Applications close: April 02, 2023 at 11:59 PM CAT 
  • Announcement of selected startups: May 2023 
  • Pre-acceleration  phase: May – June 2023
  • Pitch day: June 2023
  • 4 months acceleration phase: June-October 2023 

Info sessions

  • 1st Info session: Thursday, March 16th at 16:00 CAT. Register here to attend
  • 2nd Info Session: Monday, March 27th at 16:00 CAT. Register here to attend

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Startups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and Cooperatives with commercially viable solutions to strengthen the food system.
  • While all food systems solutions are invited to apply, solutions that address the following areas are particularly encouraged to apply: gender transformative food systems and circular economy solutions.
  • Your entity must possess a valid registration/certificate of incorporation for operating in Rwanda and at least 1 year of operation.
  • Be a team of at least three full-time members dedicated to the MSME/cooperative, including the founding team.
  • At least 50% of your founding and/or senior management team must be from Rwanda/East Africa.
  • Have a proof of revenue-generating business (total turnover in the case of cooperatives) of at least the equivalent of 5,000 USD for the full year of 2022.

How many ventures will be selected to proceed to the different stages of the program?

  • Up to 20 ventures will be shortlisted to proceed to the pre-acceleration phase.
  • At the pitch day, up to 10 ventures will be selected to proceed to the 4 months acceleration phase.

What is the selection criteria?

We will select ventures who qualify to proceed to the pre-acceleration phase and acceleration phase based on six selection criteria:

    1. Level of innovation: the solution solves a food challenge in an innovative way
    2. Impact: the solution has a strong impact on strengthening food systems
    3. Financial sustainability: the venture has a clear business model and is financially sustainable
    4. Level of traction: the venture shows traction and demonstrates impact already
    5. Scalability: the venture has a strong potential to be scaled up
    6. Team: The team combines the right experience and demonstrates commitment to scale the solution

At what stage should my venture be to be eligible for this opportunity?

We are looking for growth-stage ventures operating in Rwanda, with revenue of 5,000 USD for the full year of 2022.

Do we have to be based in Rwanda?

Yes, your venture needs to have active operations in Rwanda. You will also need to be present to participate in the different activities of the acceleration program if you are selected to join the program.

What are the benefits of this program?

  • Funding: Up to USD 30,000 in equity-free funding per venture if selected for the acceleration program
  • Bootcamp training and pitch preparation
  • 4 months acceleration support: access curated technical support to address business gaps. Receive a tailored curriculum and connect directly with  experts and mentors
  • Networking and exposure: Leverage WFP’s strong network of government, public, and private sector partners

How is the pre-acceleration phase structured?

The pre-acceleration phase is designed to strengthen the capacities of the shortlisted ventures to support them in better articulating their business impact. There are three components within the pre-acceleration phase: due diligence process, bootcamp training, and Pitch Day.

What should I expect at the Bootcamp training?

The shortlisted ventures undergo a 3-4 day bootcamp training to work with experts and coaches in developing their skills in storytelling, leadership, sales, pitching preparation and more.

How will the due diligence process be conducted?

The due diligence process is one of the components of the pre-acceleration phase. This takes place in parallel to the bootcamp training, and is designed to further assess the eligibility of the ventures’ fit into the program acceleration phase. During the due diligence process, a team of experts conduct site visits at each of the venture’s business locations to evaluate the ventures’ solution/product, financials, traction, market & readiness to scale, team/HR, and corporate documents. Each venture will be asked to provide documents for the experts to evaluate all the components above

How is the acceleration phase of the program structured?

  • 4 months of curated technical support throughout the acceleration phase including:
    1. Business diagnostics, scaling plan and action plan development
    2. Tailored expert support based on your scaling needs
    3. Individualized coaching support
    4. Mentorship support
    5. Partnerships and investment opportunities
    6. Networking events, conferences, masterclasses, and peer to peer sessions
  • Receive up to $30,000 financial support to scale your venture

Can I attend an information session?

  • Yes, we will host two virtual information sessions.
    1. 1st Info session: Thursday, March 16th at 16:00 CAT. Register here to attend
    2. 2nd Info Session: Monday, March 27th at 16:00 CAT. Register here to attend

What language will the program be conducted in?

The application, pre-acceleration and acceleration phases of the program will all be conducted in English. You will need a team representative who speaks and understands English well

Are there costs associated with program participation?

No, the program is free for those selected to  participate in the Ignite Food Systems Acceleration Program.

What kind of funding is provided and how is it disbursed?

The grant funding provided is equity-free that is unlocked once selected for the acceleration phase of the program.

Contact Information

If you still have any other questions or concerns about the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge or the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at [email protected].