NovFeed, a Tanzanian-based startup that produces cost-effective fish feed based on indigenous, locally produced, and sustainable ingredients, was recently recognized as the first-runner up at the Ifakara Hackathon 2020 for the best innovation to ensure food security.
The Ifakara challenge aims to support teams in developing viable ideas to promote public health, nutrition, and food security. This exciting recognition follows NovFeed’s award of funding and in-kind support from CHEMONICS INTERNATIONAL at 2019 UNLEASH Global Innovation Lab for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Shenzhen, China.
The annual UNLEASH Lab hosts a thousand youth from around the world to develop solutions that contribute to the SDGs. Last November, NovFeed competed in the newly developed UNLEASH+ track, a pre-accelerator program designed for UNLEASH alumni who are ready to launch and scale their solutions. NovFeed competed with 21 other passionate teams for funding and partnership opportunities with UNLEASH partners.
During the six month program, UNLEASH+ teams were coached through a series of webinars, business canvases, and Master-led training. The eight-day, in-person program in Shenzhen supported teams through the development and refinement of comprehensive business plans that included user and ecosystem mapping, fundraising strategies, and go-to-market strategies. On the final day of the program, finalists pitched their solutions during a live ‘Dragons Den’ competition that was held during Shenzhen’s TechCrunch event and maker’s fair. A panel of judges evaluated solutions based on criteria such as impact potential and financial viability. Jamey Butcher, the current President & CEO of Chemonics International, presented NovFeed with one of two awards from the company that consisted of a $5000 cash prize and additional year-round, in-kind support to be provided by their network of subject matter experts to help scale our solution over the next year. We were proud of our team and our efforts for achieving such a great milestone.
Since the beginning of 2020, we have received great mentorship from Chemonics International on our business plan and budget as part of our ongoing technical support and partnership for scaled impact. Winning the award from Chemonics has allowed us to design a production facility built around our existing processes, bringing us one step closer to a commercial level of production.
We are also supported by the Government of Tanzania’s Small Industry Development Organization (SIDO), which has recognized our efforts to revolutionize the fish feed industry by providing us with office space for three years to continue developing our solution to make Tanzania’s fish farming more sustainable. With these resources, NovFeed will continue research and development through experimental trials and prototyping with selected fish farms.
In less than six months since attending the UNLEASH+ program in Shenzhen we have accomplished so much. We are continuing our research on maggot production, including testing different types of waste for our feed production process to find the highest high yield of maggots within the shortest period of time. We are also conducting lab tests to identify what types of waste result in maggots with the highest protein level that will help us continue to improve our feed formula.
Currently, NovFeed is looking for seed funding, as well as experts who are motivated by our mission to join our team. We aspire to begin commercial production by June 2020. If you would like to learn more about NovFeed, or would like to work with our team, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org