Queen City Forward will launch an innovation challenge competition that educates, creates, and implements new business models and initiatives dedicated to increasing access to healthy food in the community and shifting consumer behavior.
QCF is a social entrepreneurship incubator that operates a startup accelerator called Impact3. QCF is committed to using its resources from the accelerator program to focus on sourcing innovative ideas and businesses to alleviate the issue of food desserts in the Charlotte region.
The program will kick off with a marketing campaign that will include a series of community meetings and town hall discussions to discuss food issues and challenges. These meetings with "affiliate communities" are meant to illuminate the food issues people face and the underlying causes that will need to be addressed by the solutions, and ensure that the affiliate communities are involved in the process of generating and supporting the solutions that may be implemented in their communities. Following these discovery meetings, innovative ideas will be solicited from entrepreneurs using an online application processed and judged by a panel selected by QCF that includes representatives from the affiliate communities and partnering organizations. Participants will be given a series of coaching sessions on pitching and business model development before pitching at a final event in November highlighting the issues addressed by each idea or business.
Our partners will include corporations such as Compass Group, Novant Health, insurance companies, and local grocery store, Johnson & Wales Univ., local government, food councils, farmers, and food entrepreneurs. QCF will work with local media as sponsors of community discussions and to assist in marketing the competition. The corporate partners will contribute financial resources and provide prize money. Local government and food councils will with research and guidance in how to implement ideas that will work.
Planning begins in June. The program launches in August September. The program will kick off with a marketing campaign and series of meetings July-September. Applications will open for ideas. In September, QCF will host PeopleJam: a weekend event bringing up to 60-70 diverse individuals using a human centered design process to build prototype solutions to the challenge in September. In October, after identifying the top ideas and social entrepreneurs, QCF will then provide a 4-6 week program of structured learning, mentors and access to resources to accelerate the growth of the ideas and or businesses. The finalist will then compete for prize money up to $30,000 to fund their startup at a final pitch or demo event in November.
Policylink succinctly states, "Studies throughout the nation demonstrate that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color often struggle to find nutritious, healthy, affordable food. A recent 2009 USDA study found that 23.5 million persons live in low-income communities and lack access to a supermarket within a mile of their home. Increasing access to healthy, fresh, affordable food leads to improvement in diet, better health outcomes, improved economic development, and strengthened communities."
The Mecklenburg Community Food Assessment 2010 found that 72,793 residents are living in food deserts in Queen City Forward's local market. This amounts to approximately 60 food desserts in the Charlotte region.
Queen City Forward is committed to catalyzing and scaling innovative solutions to promote healthy food consumption and reducing the barriers to healthy food in our region.
Corporate partners to provide financial commitments of $75,000 to $100,000 (including $30,000 in prize money).
Foundation partners to sponsor our community engagement activities.
Implementation Partners: 1) Design Thinking consultants or firms to provide facilitation and curriculum; 2) Local government, city, and county; 3) Food Advocates
The 10 to 12 finalists will receive a 4 to 6 week program of structured learning, mentors, and access to resources to accelerate their growth and scale their impact. Participants will be given a series of coaching sessions on business model development and pitching before pitching at an exciting final event in November highlighting the issues addressed by each idea or business. Partners will receive information on best practices for mitigating food insecurity. The new ideas / business models will be available for our corporate and community partners to acquire.