Food Insecurity Challenge

In a challenge hosted by the Ivy College of Business, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, students from across disciplines are invited to participate in a team-based challenge to generate new and innovative solutions to food insecurity. Students may sign up as a team (no more than 6) willing to tackle this challenge.

EVENT KICKOFF: November 6, 5 to 8 pm, SICTR Launch Pad

How does the Food Insecurity Challenge work?

On November 6, 2023, the Food Insecurity Challenge starts with a Hunger Banquet at the Student Innovation Center Launch Pad. A local expert on food insecurity will begin the program by shedding light on the issues, from local food poverty to global hunger. They’ll present specific problems to be addressed during the challenge, such as food pantries, rural food insecurity, food quality versus quantity, food delivery, and food waste. After the banquet, students will form teams (up to 6 people) to brainstorm solutions to these challenges. They can ask questions, refine their concepts, and get ready for action as the challenge officially commences.

Two team options for students:

  1. Form a team in advance and sign up together.
  2. Sign up individually and find a team at the event. We’ll facilitate team matching during the event, ensuring everyone gets a chance to join a team by the end.

What’s a Hunger Banquet? 

At the event, you’ll draw a ticket that assigns you to a high-, middle-, or low-income earners category. Your meal will correspond to your category, determined by the luck of the draw (meal options and portions are deliberately unequal to highlight food inequality).

After the keynote address, students will split into topic categories to brainstorm issues they want to tackle. Those with pre-formed teams will choose their topics, while individual registrants can select a group based on their interests and skills. Once everyone’s on a team, they’ll break into smaller groups (up to 6 people) to brainstorm solutions, ask questions, refine their ideas, and get ready for action. Let the challenge begin!

Between the kickoff and final presentations, students will have a 30-minute mentoring session with business professionals and faculty/staff experienced in the challenge’s field. At least one team member must attend the mentor meeting to qualify for the final prize. Be prepared with your pitch deck and practice presentation to make the most of this experience and gain valuable feedback to help your team win!

Finally, students will present their solutions on November 28 at the Student Innovation Center Launch Pad from 5-8 pm. After the presentations, judges will deliberate and select three winners. A networking reception will follow.



Presentations should be no longer than 4 minutes, be accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, and address:

  • Problem
  • Explanation of solution
  • Market demographic (who will this solution benefit)
  • Timeline for implementation
  • Resources needed

Three cash prizes will be awarded to the winning teams:

1st Place — $5,000

2nd Place — $2,500

3rd Place — $1,500