Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is the scope of the Soy Innovation Challenge?
Soybean oil demand is increasing as a feedstock for renewable energy, creating new markets for soybean farmers. This increase in oil demand presents an opportunity, including additional crush capacity and more availability of a high-quality premium protein source, U.S. soybean meal. The Soy Innovation Challenge aims to source innovations, solutions and technologies that will create new and novel and value to soybean meal.
2. What types of innovations, solutions and technologies are you looking for?
We are looking for innovations, solutions and technologies in the following categories: petrochemical, industrial, cosmetics, materials, mining, semiconductors, biopharma, renewables, CPGs and many more applications.
3. Who is eligible for the Soy Innovation Challenge?
Agtech startups, scientists, researchers and research groups, teams, innovators and entrepreneurs are all eligible. We are looking for early-stage ideas, research, innovations and ventures working on soybean meal solutions and technologies in the above categories.
4. Does the applicant’s innovation, solution or technology have to be all of the listed categories?
No, it does not. For example, if a scientist is working on a petrochemical replacement that utilizes soybean meal, that innovation is eligible to apply. If a startup is working on a biorenewable CPG technology that utilizes soybean meal, the startup is eligible to apply. If a team has an innovation around soybean meal content that enhances human food consumption and applications, they are eligible to apply.
5. The application form asks a lot of questions, particularly oriented towards startups. Are all questions required to be answered to apply? And should that discourage non-startups from applying?
No, not all questions are required to be answered to apply. Required questions are indicated with an asterisk. Non-startups should not be discouraged from applying based on the questions listed. We ask the applicant to answer the question as best as they can as no individual question nor response will be held against them during the evaluation process.
6. When is the deadline to apply?
December 1, 2023, at midnight CST is the deadline to apply.
7. What happens after I apply? What are the next steps?
The Yield Lab Institute, the United Soybean Board, AWS and our industry partners and judges will perform an internal review of the application pool and arrive at a final cohort. The final cohort will be announced in 1Q 2024 (tentatively January 2024). Then the program will run where the finalists will be paired with a mentor and work with our partners for the next 4-6 months in an accelerator-type program with 2-3 anchor, outward-facing public events to showcase the challenge, the finalists and announce the winner of the prizes.
8. Where can I go if I have a specific question about the challenge?
You can submit an inquiry via the Contact Us button at the bottom of the challenge site.