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Photo Credit: Alison Hathaway / Clinton Global Initiative
Tuesday
Aug 12
2014
August 12, 2014

Entrepreneur-Driven Innovation to Ensure Affordable, Healthy Food for All

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My home, Charlotte, N.C., is also home to 60 food deserts—food challenged expanses of the city and surrounding metropolitan area where over 73,000 residents are living with difficult access to fresh, healthy food. 

At CGI America 2014, Queen City Forward—a social entrepreneurship incubator with the mission to accelerate the growth of social entrepreneurs and change makers in the Charlotte region—announced the new Innovation Challenge: Food Commitment to Action to 1) increase access to affordable, healthy food, 2) build the local food ecosystem, and 3) educate and incentivize consumers to make healthier food choices. The competition will source original solutions and galvanize new business models and initiatives from entrepreneurs to strengthen food production, distribution, and consumption.

The competition will source original solutions and galvanize new business models and initiatives from entrepreneurs...
 
This fall, our community and corporate partners will judge the top ideas based on their impact and scalability, and will provide invaluable feedback, connections, and resources to the semifinalists chosen from this group. Queen City Forward will then provide a 4-6 week program of structured learning, mentorship, and access to resources to accelerate the growth of the ideas and/or businesses. The winning entrepreneur will receive funding, continued support from Queen City Forward, professional in-kind services, and access to our corporate partners to assist them in scaling or replicating their plan.
 

Attending the CGI America Meeting in Denver this June gave us a critical opportunity to share our commitment efforts with other attendees of the Entrepreneurship Working Group, representing support organizations from across the country and the federal government. It was refreshing to sit at a table with other socially conscious incubators from across the region to discuss best practices, swap “war” stories, and identify ways to advance our sector through collaboration. Several organizations committed to assist Queen City Forward in implementing the innovation challenge this fall, and the new, national connections made at the meeting will be essential to our ability to grow and expand our work throughout the Southeast region.

It was refreshing to sit at a table with other socially conscious incubators from across the region to discuss best practices, swap 'war' stories, and identify ways to advance our sector through collaboration.
 
Our Commitment to Action is an opportunity for Queen City Forward to deepen our mission by serving as a catalyst for social innovation in our region. We look forward to sharing the results of our work in the near future with other organizations and communities looking to alleviate food insecurity in their own areas.
 
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In June of 2014, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton hosted the fourth meeting of CGI America, an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. For more information, visit cgiamerica.org.