The United Nations Food Systems Summit has launched a competition to find the best small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from around the world that are transforming food systems for the benefit of future generations.
The Summit has launched a unique contest called “Best Small Business: Good Food for All,” in which 50 small and medium-sized enterprises from around the world will be recognized for their work that best exemplifies the Summit’s goal of achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing safe, sustainable food and livelihoods for all.
The competition recognizes those who have played a critical role in “recovering” from the pandemic while also highlighting the obstacles they have faced.
Smaller companies, especially those led by women, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic around the world.
According to one study, the revenues of European SMEs fell by as much as 70%, while the World Bank reports that companies in developing countries were particularly hard hit, with revenues falling by 70% at the height of the crisis, compared to just 45% in OECD countries.
The Summit will acknowledge those who are helping to change the way small businesses grow, consume, and dispose of food through innovation, while also providing lessons on how to create greater economic resilience and sustainability.
“Leaders all over the world must pay attention to the ‘hidden’ contribution of smaller companies that are feeding communities, creating employment, and regenerating nature,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the UN Secretary-Special General’s Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.
“These small businesses and their workers are at the forefront of attempts to improve our food systems, and the small business competition aims to recognize and celebrate their efforts. We invite those businesses to lift their voices and help us understand what support they need in order to thrive, in keeping with the Summit’s mission of welcoming people from all walks of life and leaving no one behind.”
The competition will give the Summit the opportunity to highlight the best small businesses at the Pre-Summit in Rome in July 2021.
The Summit process for identifying bold, creative ideas for improving food systems includes listening to the diverse voices of small businesses – from veterinary surgeries to cafes, producer cooperatives, and digital start-ups.
The competition will reveal not only which small businesses are leading the charge towards more safe, equitable, and resilient food systems, but also how they can be helped to scale up their businesses in a sustainable way.
Companies from all over the world are encouraged to apply and share ideas and solutions about how their countries and economies can increase their positive impact by providing nutritious food to their communities and creating job opportunities.
All applicants will be invited to upcoming Food Systems Summit events, and each submission will help global leaders understand the goals and services these businesses need to succeed.
More information on the competition and the application process can be found here.