The Rockefeller Foundation, Dalberg, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have launched The Rockefeller Foundation Cassava Innovation Challenge to address food loss and spoilage in the cassava value chain. Part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise initiative, the Challenge will provide up to $1 million, as well as technical assistance from Dalberg and IITA, to further develop novel solutions that increase shelf life.

Who Should Apply?

The Challenge is open to all organizations—whether for-profit or nonprofit—including governmental and inter-governmental organizations. Collaborations between organizations are encouraged. Where such collaboration exists, one lead applicant must submit on the behalf of the group.


How to Apply


All applicants are required to apply online. Submissions will not be accepted via email.

All applications must be completed in English.


  • Applications should include a concise explanation of how the proposed solution will increase shelf life and thereby reduce spoilage. Issues of shelf life in the cassava value chain include:


  • Limited access to existing cassava varieties. Though varieties that extend shelf life do exist, farmers lack access to/knowledge about them


  • No or limited preservation between harvesting and processing. Poor and inefficient handling, storage and transport either damages roots or leaves them exposed to the elements


  • Far-away processing. Processors are far from cassava farms and use inefficient manual peeling, allowing more time for root to spoil


  • The application period is divided into two main phases: 1) submission of an initial concept note, 2) submission of a subsequent full application following initial screening by the Judging Panel.

Judgment Criteria

Applicants must explain why their solution should be considered innovative, propose a means of identifying and measuring the success of their solution, indicate how the solution will generate revenue once the Challenge award is depleted, profile key team members responsible for execution and outline how and where the solution will expand beyond its initial implementation. Additional requirements and guidance are included in the application form.


  • Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:




  • Degree to which solution introduces new practices, products and processes to the cassava value chain that will enhance overall competition and quality;


  • Level of improvement on existing products and / or methods and extent to which cassava maintains quality post-innovation;


Development impact


  • Extent to which the solution addresses the problem of spoilage;


  • Ability to measure impact of solution;


  • Degree to which solution improves smallholder farmer livelihoods;


Replicability and scalability


  • Likelihood that solution can be successfully and affordably scaled, both nationally within Nigeria and in other developing countries;


  • Having the team and / or structure in place to execute the idea and being able to easily source inputs for solution;


  • Potential for successful implementation of the solution


  • Financial sustainability


  • Ability of solution to become commercially viable once grant funding is depleted;


  • Evidence of market demand for solution;

Judges will make the final decision on shortlisting. The Rockefeller Foundation will determine the final award(s)




The Innovation Challenge will have a maximum grant award amount of up to US$1 million to be used to implement the solution.


  • Applicants are advised to specify an amount that is less than the award amount. If funding requirements must exceed the maximum value, applicants should provide written evidence of ability to secure additional funds (letter of commitment from partner, letter of guarantee from a bank, etc.)


  • In addition, technical assistance from Dalberg Global Development Advisors and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture will be provided.


  • Applicants must specify two discrete milestones, at which funding is required: 1) initial testing and implementation and 2) significant scaling within Nigeria.


Applicants are free to define what each of these milestones will entail, as well as the funding required. Awards will be disbursed according to these milestones, subject to agreement with the Innovation Challenge organizers.


  • Winners must sign a grant agreement with The Rockefeller Foundation, which will include reporting requirements, in order to receive funds.


  • The anticipated results / impact are expected to be achieved during the lifetime of the award, which in this competition is two (2) years.


There is more information on the FAQs and Challenge Guidelines page available on the Main Website.


Deadline for submission of applications: July 8, 2016 at 11:59 pm (ET).


Good Luck as you apply!


There’s love in Sharing!

So, remember to share by using the social media buttons below!

You don’t want to miss out on other updates on entrepreneurial opportunities, so just drop your email in the sign up form below and have them right in your inbox.




Join over 30.000 visitors who are receiving the latest news on business grants, loans and entrepreneurship development opportunities.
We hate spam as much as you do. You can be sure your email address will not be shared with anyone else.
Want to get connected to tips and opportunities to secure start-up, implement your ideas or grow your business? Sign up for free updates
Just enter your name and email now and have them delivered right into your inbox

Leave a Reply