Ventures Industry Challenge

Use your entrepreneurial skills to help halve Australia's national food waste by 2030.

UQ students across all disciplines are encouraged to join our Ventures Industry Challenge. Work with our innovation partner to develop a real-world solution to a real-world challenge. This year's challenge focuses on the problems and opportunities surrounding Australia's national food waste. Teams will compete for multiple prizes worth $11,000. 

In collaboration with OzHarvest, this year's mission will look to improve farming practices, efficient logistics and retail, and positive consumer behaviours around food waste. 

Solve a problem

How might we achieve Australia's national target of halving food waste by 2030, in-line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 12.3, to become a more environmentally sustainable, economically resilient, and food secure society? Choose a problem you’d like to tackle with your team.

Improved farming practices
What opportunities are there in food production to improve supply-demand efficiencies, rescue excess currently being sent to landfill or ploughed in, or better connect with supply chains?
Efficient logistics and retail
How can we improve technologies, practices, and behaviours along the supply chain, including in wholesale, retail, and hospitality markets, to enable better utilisation, access, rescue (diversion from landfill), and distribution of quality food in a timely manner?
Positive consumer behaviours
How could we embed proven waste reduction behaviours into households, individuals, and communities to make lasting, sustainable change?

How it works

This challenge will run across four stages.


Understand your problem

In Stage 1 your team will be working on understanding your chosen problem. 
Make sure to register for the upcoming sessions.

24 August
Check-in sessionFor this session, bring your idea that you are working on for an initial discussion. 
Self-pacedVideo content

Videos part 1-3 will help you to understand the problem you are working on and to empathise with your customers. 


Test your solution

During Stage 2 your team will use your learnings on problem discovery
and begin to test your market. Make sure to register for the upcoming sessions. 

7 September
Check-in sessionFor this session, we'll discuss how teams are going with testing their solutions. 
Self-pacedVideo content

Videos part 4-8 will help you to test your market by rapid prototyping, perform market validation
and trialing business models.


Pitch practice

In the last stage of the challenge, your team will be busy preparing and practicing your pitch ahead
for the submission deadline on 6 October. Make sure to register for the upcoming sessions. 

21 September
Check-in sessionFor this session, you'll be refining your solution ahead of pitch practice.
Self-pacedVideo content

Videos part 9-10 will help your team to refine and develop a compelling online pitch.


Pitch your solution

Your team will need to submit a pitch video by 6 October 2021 to enter the challenge.

6 OctoberSubmit pitch

If your solution is shortlisted, your team will be invited to present your solution at our pitch presentation. 

Teams will compete for a prize pool of $11,000 in front of judges and an audience. At least one team member must participate in the virtual pitch. 

Why tackle food waste?

In Australia, 7.6 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted every year, over a third comes from our homes. Yet, according to Foodbank, one in six people haven't had enough to eat in the past year.

If we combine the landmass used to grow wasted food in Australia, it is larger than Victoria, which is over 25 million hectares. This food waste costs the economy around $36.6 billion per year and accounts for 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

This is where the Ventures Industry Challenge comes in to innovate new ideas to facilitate more opportunities for Australia to become a more environmentally sustainable, economically resilient, and food secure society. 

In collaboration with OzHarvest




Founded by Ronni Kahn AO in 2004 after noticing the huge volume of food going to waste, OzHarvest has quickly grown to become Australia's leading food rescue organisation.

Why participate

By participating in the challenge, you will:

  • showcase your entrepreneurial skills to industry,
  • build your networks,
  • strengthen your entrepreneurial skills,
  • work with students outside your discipline
  • address a real problem worth solving, and
  • have the chance to win a cash prize!


All shortlisted teams have an opportunity to pitch their solution at the Ventures Annual Showcase. Dates to be announced.

Winning team: $5,000 cash

Second place: $3,000 cash

Third place: $2,000 cash

People's Choice Award: $1,000 cash

Judging criteria

  • Value proposition (30%) – how well does the proposed solution meet a need and deliver benefits? Outline the value proposition, i.e.: who will be the beneficiaries, what benefits will be generated by the solution, and how will the benefits be validated?
  • Solution Viability (30%) – demonstrate how the proposed solution is feasible in terms of resources required for successful development and implementation. Identify and address any financial, technology, legal, market or other issues and how they could be overcome to enable this innovation to be further developed and implemented.
  • Level of innovation (30%) – present a design concept, minimal viable product or prototype and outline why this a new or significantly different approach to what is already available. 
  • Presentation (10%) – to what extent does the pitch tell a succinct, yet detailed and compelling proposal to take action and support the proposed solution?

Support available

Check out the support available for your teams as you progress through the challenge.

Check out more of Ventures upcoming hackathons and events to participate in along side the Ventures Industry Challenge.

As part of the Ventures Industry Challenge you have access to the Ventures self-paced video content to help you through each stage of the challenge.

Have a question?

For more information about the Ventures Industry Challenge, please contact Ventures.