NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rabobank, the global financial services leader focused on the food and agribusiness (F&A) sectors, is sponsoring the MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Plan Competition, a new student innovation contest to be run by the MIT Food and Agriculture Club during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Rabobank is gifting a total prize package of $25,000 to J-WAFS, MIT's Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab, to create what is intended to be a premier food and agribusiness business plan competition for university and graduate students in the Boston area and, by invitation, outside Boston.
The competition is focused on early-stage ideas touching all aspects of the F&A market that Rabobank serves – from farm gate to fork, and maintaining an alignment with Rabobank's corporate values regarding sustainability. The prize is distinct from other competitions because of its specific focus on food and agribusiness, the access it will provide successful entrants to leaders in the broader business community, and the insights Rabobank will be positioned to bring back to the business community.
"Rabobank and MIT will both benefit from fostering innovative and sustainable thinking about food and agribusiness products and services," said Rajiv Singh, CEO of Rabobank North America Wholesale. "We hope and believe that the ideas this competition generate will have a significant and lasting impact on the sector."
The competition will take place in two stages. In the first stage, finalist teams, selected by a committee of judges in January 2016, will be matched with a mentor. Mentors are volunteer industry or academic professionals with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise, who will work with teams for up to three months to help them develop the final business plan submissions and presentations.
In the second stage, finalists will present their business plans at a public event hosted at MIT in May. This stage will culminate in the awarding of $25,000 in prize money to be distributed across three winning teams.
Interested students can find eligibility criteria and the competition schedule on the MIT Food and Agriculture Club website.
Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, real estate, and renewable energy project financing. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank is one of the largest and safest banks in the world, with nearly $1 trillion in assets and operations in more than 40 countries. In the Americas, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, agribusiness, and beverage industry, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel, and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain, including crop input, industrial production, manufacturing and processing, trade, distribution, retail, and food service segments.
J‑WAFS was launched in 2014 to coordinate and promote water and food research at MIT, emphasizing the deployment of effective technologies, programs, and policies that will have a measurable and international impact as humankind adapts to a rapidly expanding and evolving population on a changing planet.
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