Nigerian Biotech startup, Coating+, has been named as the Grand prize winners of the 2018 Thought for Food Challenge, receiving a cash prize of $10,000 to automate and commercialize its coating solution for farmers.
Founded by a team of 4 Biochemistry Masters students at the University of Ilorin –Albert Kure, Basheer Balogun, Lukman Abdulwahab and Suleiman Alakanse, the team has developed a safe and transparent gelatinous coating for fresh foods that extends their shelf life, providing hard-to-access micronutrients to help tackle hidden hunger as well helping farmers save money on unsold produce.
Hi Twitter, Good News
4 Postgraduate students of Biochemistry department Unilorin just won the Thought for Food Challenge in Rio, Brazil. Nigeria to the World o! Retweet Biko. pic.twitter.com/xdg7ldbbI3
— Iduz.eth (@Iduzeth) August 4, 2018
Their developed coating, chitosan, a sugar which can be extracted from shrimp shells, along with soy protein and micronutrients, when used on fresh produce has been shown to retain its quality for up to three times longer in the laboratory trials carried out.
This Coating+ claims to be different from other preservation techniques as it tackles the challenges of food insecurity while guaranteeing nutritious, adequate, and safe foods.
Also selected for the runner-up prize of $5,000 is Kenyan startup, Safi Organics. The startup developed a decentralized organic fertilizer production system and proprietary biochar formula that increases yields by up to 30% while correcting soil acidity.
Speaking on the chosen winners, Christine Gould, Founder & CEO of Thought For Food said:
The 2018 TFF Challenge Finalists and the selected prize winners have exceeded our expectations in terms of the cutting-edge science and innovation power that the next generation represents to transform our food system. We are excited to continue empowering and supporting these young leaders on their quest to achieve global food and nutrition security through purpose-driven business and open and collaborative innovation approaches.
The cash prize Coating+ won would be used to power the team through their final stages of development to market by the end of 2018. This is because the startup is currently undergoing regulatory approval for their product and are ramping up production capabilities with a leading global nutrition company.
About Thought for Food
Thought for Food is the leading global organization empowering the next generation to feed 9+billion people by 2050. It is dedicated to empowering the next generation of innovators to build new solutions that transform our food system through its annual summit formally held in Europe.
This year, their startup academy and pitching competition took place in Rio de Janeiro and involved entrepreneurs from all corners of the globe.
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