Press and News The CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge is Live

The CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge is live

Bogotá, July 3, 2024 – The CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) launches the latest of its science-driven and market-oriented innovation challenges - CircularEconomy4Colombia – with an open call for ambitious innovators. 

Colombia is facing a waste management crisis. Over the past decade the country has seen a 28% increase in solid waste generation; however, the have been minimal efforts to implement efficient recycling systems, and the resulting increase in greenhouse gas emissions has positioned the country as the 35th highest emitter worldwide in 2022. To tackle this, the Colombian government has set ambitious targets that advocate for circular economy practices, green growth strategies, and sustainable agriculture. In this context, the CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge emerges as a catalyst for the development and deployment of innovative solutions that transform the country’s waste into valuable resources, reduce deforestation, drive sustainable development in the agri-food sector, and foster a circular economy mindset through the integration of cutting-edge technologies and scientific advancements.  

Are you an innovator working on a solution applicable to the agri-food sector in Colombia? Applications are open until August 12, 2024. 

Apply here     

Visit the CircularEconomy4Colombia website

CircularEconomy4Colombia is designed for national and global innovators with cutting-edge solutions to the overlooked areas of Colombia’s agri-food sector. Eligible candidates include individuals (e.g., entrepreneurs, practitioners, PhD/post-doc students, researchers, scientists, etc.) representing innovative startups, small and medium-sized companies, non-profit organizations (NGOs), and/or social collectives. Innovative solutions must be at least in in an early stage (pre-seed/seed stage) and have a minimum viable product or a proof of concept (PoC). 

The challenge invites solutions in the following priority areas:  

  • Waste valorization for soil health and agricultural productivity 
  • Advanced wastewater treatment and reuse 
  • Innovative waste conversion for livestock feed 
  • Renewable energy generation from agri-food waste 
  • Repurposing waste into functional materials and inputs 


Implemented as a part of the CGIAR initiative Nature-Positive Solutions in Colombia, the CircularEconomy4Colombia Innovation Challenge is led by the CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP), co-organized with CGIAR centers – the Alliance Bioversity International-CIAT and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) - with support from Rockstart.  

Selected participants will receive extensive support, including:  

  • A fully sponsored bootcamp in Cali, Colombia, providing technical guidance, business mentorship, and pitch training
  • A 3-month sponsored acceleration program offering business training, technical assistance, and access to on-the-ground experimentation with value chain actors
  • Opportunities to showcase solutions to leading corporations and investors
  • Connection with CGIAR's global network of scientists for individualized technical assistance
  • Continued post-acceleration support, including mentorship and market introductions

CircularEconomy4Colombia will follow six phases of A4IP’s established innovation challenge methodology: 

  • Call for Applications (July 3 - August 12, 2024): A global call for circular economy innovations, inviting applications from early-stage innovators
  • Selection (August 13 - September 3, 2024): A committee of experts will shortlist 20 teams based on the selection criteria
  • Bootcamp (October 2024): An in-person 3-day bootcamp in Cali, Colombia with expert talks, mentorship and pitch training
  • Acceleration Program (October 2024 - February 2025): A 3-month program offering business training, technical assistance, on-the-ground experimentation and market access opportunities
  • Demo Day (February 2025): Teams will present their solutions to scientists, industry experts, agribusinesses, and investors
  • Post-Acceleration Support (February 2025 onwards): Continuous support with strategic guidance and access to networks


The official launch of CircularEconomy4Colombia was held during the  “Business Lessons Portfolio - Circular Economy in Business” event in Bogotá on July 5 2024, organized by Uniandinos – Alumni Association of The University of the Andes. The project was presented by Guillermo Peña Chipatecua (Senior Research Associate at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) and Maria Camila Rueda (Program Director at Rockstart).  

The challenge organizers will host a virtual Q&A session on July 30 2024 to answer questions and provide detailed information about the challenge process. For the latest updates on this session - and to follow the CircularEconomy4Colombia challenge - make sure to visit the project webpage, contact A4IP at [email protected], and connect on LinkedIn

More about the Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) 

The CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is the venture space that leverages CGIAR’s legacy in research and innovation to co-design, accelerate, and de-risk the development and deployment of science-based solutions for sustainable agriculture and climate action. A4IP entrepreneurs pioneer models to bridge research products from lab to market, create demand for CGIAR science, and strengthen its role in the innovation ecosystem. The initiative plays a catalytic role for entrepreneurial scientists, startups, and other strategic partners driving innovation that will make our agri-food systems healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable. A4IP is an initiative led by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT - a CGIAR research center. Learn more here