Ignite Food Systems Challenge

An acceleration programme for innovative ventures ensuring global food security for generations to come.

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge supports the scaling of innovative Startups, MSMEs, and cooperatives with commercially viable solutions to address gaps in the food system.

A new era of innovative food solutions

Introducing the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge, a dynamic initiative crafted to empower Rwandan start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and cooperatives in amplifying their solutions while making a positive impact on the economy by addressing crucial gaps within the food system. This challenge is dedicated to nurturing homegrown solutions that boldly confront the challenges within our food systems.


This visionary undertaking is brought to life through the collaborative efforts of the World Food Programme (WFP) and Impact Hub Kigali, generously supported by the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It serves as a shining example of how strategic partnerships can effectively facilitate the expansion of local and regional innovations, creating a brighter future for our food systems.

Cultivating a sustainable food future

Participants had access to technical guidance and the chance to secure up to 300,000 USD in financial support to not only transform food security but also shape a brighter and more sustainable future for Rwanda and beyond.

A wide variety of food-focused ventures explored multiple topics to find targeted solutions, such as:

  • Resilience to shocks and stress
  • Access to safe and nutritious food
  • Improved food supply chains
  • Empowerment of smallholder farmers
  • Advancement of food security for all

Pitching for success: Programme outcomes

Our programme’s first edition empowered six promising ventures to scale their innovative solutions over a span of six transformative months. These ventures received tailored technical and financial support, each receiving $50,000 in funding. This support catalysed a remarkable transformation, resulting in significant boosts in production capacities, streamlined operational efficiency, the acquisition of new customer bases and market segments, and a substantial increase in revenue. These achievements solidified the ventures’ positions as key contributors to the strengthening of the broader food systems.


Out of a pool of 364 applications, a rigorous review process identified 18 exceptional ventures to advance to the pre-acceleration phase. This phase encompassed meticulous due diligence and an intensive bootcamp. During this bootcamp, these shortlisted ventures honed their growth strategies, developed leadership skills, polished their storytelling abilities, and perfected their pitching and public speaking skills in preparation for the ultimate pitch day.


The grand culmination of this journey unfolded when each finalist presented their innovative solutions to a live audience and a distinguished panel of judges. The judging panel featured representatives from renowned organisations such as the World Food Programme, Mastercard Foundation, Ministry of Youth, Vertland Africa Ltd, and East Africa Investment. It was a momentous occasion that celebrated innovation, leadership, and the bright future of these visionary ventures in shaping the food systems of tomorrow.

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