One of the actions in the NICHE Action Plan for South Ostrobothnia was to implement the Food Business Challenge innovation competition for students as part of the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences’ (SeAMK’s) curriculum. The competition seeks especially ideas for new sustainable business in the food sector. The action was completed in early 2019 when the competition was carried out first time as part of SeAMK’s curriculum.

The competition was offered for student’s all over Finland as an online Moodle-course. During the course the student’s received information about sustainable business ideas and innovation methods.
The deadline for submitting new business ideas in the competitions was in the end of February and altogether eight ideas was submitted. The jury then selected three best ideas to be further developed and pitched during the Food Business Summit, that was organised in Seinäjoki in the end of March.
The three ideas for final phase were:
1.    Open Commercial Kitchen – a concept of renting kitchen and/or restaurant space for new restaurant start-ups to test their new business ideas. The idea was presented by James McDade, a student from Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.
2.    The Circle: from imperfections to perfections with a whirl of a blender – a concept for a Foodwaste Smoothie Café. The idea was presented by Anna Paunisaari, a student from University of Vaasa.
3.    HeViGo – a mobile application for collecting and transporting food waste fruits and vegetable. The idea was presented by Ilja Amnell and Kristina Zasenko, students in Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.

The first prize went for Open Commercial Kitchen and the two other ideas shared the second prize. The Jury was happy with the ideas and how all of the ideas could support each other. The Foodwaste Smoothie Café concept could be tested in the Open Commercial Kitchen and the ingredients for the café could be supplied from the HeViGo mobile application.