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'GerminatingInnovation With Gen AI'

Germinating Innovation with Gen AI Pitch Event

The Application Deadline Has Passed.

Use your favorite Gen AI platforms to assist in researching the problems, ideating solutions and understanding the market.

Germinating Agrifood Innovation with Generative AI: Sowing the Seeds of Tomorrow's Food Security

Welcome to "Germinating Agrifood Innovation", a pitch event like no other, where the brightest minds converge to tackle one of humanity's most pressing challenges: food security in the face of a changing climate and a growing population. Here in Hawaii, we stand at the forefront of tropical agrifood and aquaculture technology innovation, not just geographically, but at the precipice of agricultural, technological, and environmental transformation. Today, we are not just addressing the crisis, we are reinventing the future of food, agriculture, and aquaculture.

Cash Prizes:

1st Place: $3,000

2nd Place: $2,000

3rd Place: $1,000


Download the flyer here.

The Urgent Call

Global Context: In the next 20 to 30 years, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. With the global population booming, climate change impacting farm production, and the fact that we are losing farmers faster than we are replacing them, the question is not if we will face a food crisis, but when.


Local Relevance: Hawaii's situation mirrors the global challenge. Our smallholder farmers, the backbone of our food security, face profitability and other challenges. Add to that, Hawaii is importing 85% or more of the food we consume. We must act now to secure our future food security, and livelihoods, and sustain our communities.


Vision for a Sustainable Future

Sustainable Solutions: We advocate for solutions that are sustainable for the environment, profitable and commercially viable for startups and their customers, and beneficial for the community. Sustainability is not a one-dimensional concept but a multifaceted commitment.


The Pitch

Come up with a STEM-based solution concept for Food, Agriculture or Aquaculture (Agrifood Tech).  You can use the following domains as a starting point for brainstorming, but do not let the list limit your imagination.  These are complex challenges that require creative approaches. Therefore we need people practicing STEM and also those in arts and other creative fields to help with creative solutions to these challenges.


Domains of Innovation

1. Smallholder Farm-level Innovation (Agriculture/Aquaculture)

   - Soil Health & Water Conservation: Innovative approaches to maintaining soil fertility and optimizing water                use, ensuring every drop counts.

   - Pest and Disease Control: Leveraging technology for early detection and sustainable management,           

      preserving crops and aquatic life.

   - Climate Resilience: Strategies and technologies to mitigate climate impact, making farms more resilient and

       production more reliable.

   - Data Empowerment: Harnessing the power of data for precision farming, informed decision-making, and

       seamless farm management.

   - Novel Farming Systems: Pioneering unconventional methods and systems to maximize output and



2. Value Chain Efficiency

   - Data-Driven Value Chain: Enhancing transparency and efficiency from farm to table through

       advanced tracking, management, and logistic solutions.

   - Simplifying Food Safety: Reducing the complexity and cost of compliance, ensuring safety without the     

      burden using STEM-based solutions.

   - Minimizing Footprint: Innovations aimed at reducing time, emissions, and energy consumption along the       

       value chain.


3. Circular Economy & Novel Products

   - Waste to Wealth: Transforming food, agricultural and aquacultural waste into valuable products, from soil       

       enhancers to energy sources and more.

   - Innovative Packaging: Developing biodegradable solutions that protect our products and our planet.

   - Fermentation & Beyond: Exploring fermentation and other techniques to create novel, sustainable food

       ingredients/products and other consumer goods.


4. Do not let our list of domains limit your imagination.  Feel free to submit your concept as long as it is a

     sustainable STEM-based food, agriculture or aquaculture solution.

See AgFunder's AgriFoodTech Category List Here.


The Call to Action

- Invitation to Innovators: We are calling on technologists, entrepreneurs, researchers, and dreamers. Your 

   knowledge in STEM, your passion for innovation, and your drive for sustainability are the keys to unlocking the

    solutions we need.

- Market Intelligence and Research: We strongly encourage use of your favorite Generative AI platforms to

    assist you in researching,  ideating, and developing your concepts, deck and pitch script.

- Check out our Conferences: We have convened the 2022 Tropical AgTech Conference and the 2023 THRIVE

   Hawaii Agrifood Summit.  You can access these recordings on our YouTube channel to fertilize your


- Engage with Producers and Makers: Take a site visit to a farm or value-added maker and learn about their

   process and challenges (Customer Discovery).

- Support and Collaboration: Join a community that supports your journey from ideation to implementation.

   Benefit from our ecosystem that offers expertise, resources, and a network dedicated to your success.


Judging Criteria for Pitch Submissions

1. Problem Statement (15 points):

Clarity & Relevance: Clear articulation of a significant, data-supported problem in the agrifood sector, focusing on Hawaii/Asia Pacific.


2. Solution (20 points):

Innovation & Practicality: Presentation of a unique, technically feasible solution with potential for practical implementation and scalability in the agrifood sector.


3. Market Opportunity (15 points):

Market Size and Segment: Definition of a clear target audience and evidence of a substantial market, including an understanding of competition within the agrifood industry.


4. Business Model (10 points):

Financial Strategy: Well-defined revenue model, cost structure, and an effective go-to-market strategy tailored for the agrifood industry.


5. Challenges and Mitigation (10 points):

Proactive Approach: Clear identification of significant challenges with a realistic mitigation plan, showcasing a proactive approach to commercialization hurdles.  For example if this needs R&D, what are the scientific questions that need to be answered or if this is a product, what engineering or manufacturing hurdles exist?


6. Impact and Sustainability (15 points):

Positive Outcomes: Demonstrated commitment to environmental/social impact and long-term financial and industry sustainability.


7. Presentation and Communication (10 points):

Effectiveness & Engagement: Clarity in communication, engaging presentation style, and use of visuals to enhance understanding of the concept.


Planting the Seeds Today for Tomorrow's Harvest

- Commitment to Action: Today, we plant the seeds of innovation, but our commitment does not end here. It

   grows and strengthens with every idea shared and every partnership formed.

- A Sustainable Future: Together, we are not just solving a crisis; we are setting the stage for a future where food

   security, commercial viability, environmental sustainability, and community prosperity go hand in hand.


What to submit

All Pitch Applicants will submit a pitch deck no more than 12 slides total and a 2-minute pitch video.  Entry deadline is May 31 by 11:59 pm.  Submit your deck and video on the Pitch Event Page:



The finals will take place on Saturday, July 13, 2024, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa RISE Center.  There will be a total of 10 finalists.  The highest-scoring applicant from each County (Hawaii Island, Maui County, Oahu and Kauai) the highest-scoring applicant from the US Pacific Islands, the highest-scoring student from PACE and the four highest-scoring applicants will pitch at the event for prizes.  Travel expenses will be covered for non-Oahu participants.  Finalists will deliver a 5-minute pitch to a panel of expert judges and compete for cash prizes.


Thank you for being part of "Germinating Agrifood Innovation With Generative AI". Your participation is the first step towards a future where innovation in food, agriculture, and aquaculture safeguards the well-being of generations to come. Let's innovate, collaborate, and cultivate a sustainable future, starting today.

We are accepting applications now!  Don't forget to sign up for updates by subscribing to our email list. The rules published here in January 2024 are subject to change.

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