Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) has on Tuesday announced its second installment of the Khazanah Impact Innovation Challenge(KIIC) 2023, with this year’s theme focused on “Tackling the Climate Challenge for Malaysia’s Food Security”.

Khazanah said in a statement that KIIC is a business challenge aligned with Khazanah’s Dana Impak value creation objectives, aiming to address pervasive problem statements and drive socio-economic resilience and growth potential for the country.

Organized under the Khazanah Dana Impak initiative, a MYR 6 billion ($1.32 billion) commitment over five years, the KIIC 2023 intends to attract innovative agri-food start-ups and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that are actively tackling problems arising from the impact of climate change on the agri-food sector.

Additionally, KIIC 2023 will provide support to the selected participants to enhance their readiness and knowledge in securing and raising funds to take their businesses to the next level of growth.

Ultimately, the program seeks to strengthen the profile of Malaysia-based agri-food start-ups and MSMEs, with the aim of creating socio-economic value for the country.

KIIC 2023 is co-organized with Khazanah program partner, Plug and Play, outreach partners Impact Circle and Cradle Fund’s MYStartup, and funding partners Gobi Partners, 500 Global and Agrobank.

The challenge aims to seek innovative solutions such as alternative animal feed sources, alternative fertilizers, on-farm technologies, financing, and supply chain solutions to enhance efficiency and productivity in the agri-food industry.

The ten KIIC finalists will receive an award of up to MYR 500,000 ($109,589) each in the form of grants and the opportunity to pitch for potential equity investments and/or debt funding from Khazanah and its funding partners.

It is noted that this year’s challenge theme was derived from escalating concerns about climate change and its potential threat to food security.

According to Khazanah, climate change poses an imminent threat to the agri-food sector, globally.

It said that prolonged dry spells, heatwaves, intense rainfall, and floods are already ruining food production across continents, leading to plummeting crop yields and the destruction of livestock and food stocks.

Cited intergovernmental panel on climate change, it projected 5 percent to 32 percent decline in crop yields due to climate change by 2050, which is further exacerbated by an estimated 60 percent increase in global food demand by the same year, driven by population growth as modeled by the Food and Agriculture Organization.

KIIC 2023 is now calling for applications from impactful Malaysian businesses that have developed innovative and commercially viable solutions to address the challenges posed by climate change on Malaysia’s food security.

The online application opens today and will end on 4 September 2023.

“Dana Impak is pleased to bring together partners from various sectors to explore opportunities to collaborate with, and tap into the wealth of talent and expertise among Malaysian startups and MSMEs within the agri-food space,

“As climate change poses an increasing threat to food security in our country, we hope that through this challenge, we can offer the necessary support and a wide-reaching platform to attract capital for innovative and sustainable solutions for the identified theme, which is aligned with our long-term strategy of Advancing Malaysia,” said Khazanah Managing Director Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir.

The competition is open to all Malaysian-based business entities.

All applications will be carefully assessed, and only successful applicants will be selected to participate in KIIC 2023.

Shortlisted applicants will receive an invitation for Demo Day and finalists will be announced in October 2023.

Khazanah is the sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia entrusted to deliver sustainable value for Malaysians.

In line with its long-term strategy of advancing Malaysia, Khazanah aims to deliver its purpose by investing in catalytic sectors, creating value through active stewardship, increasing its global presence, as well as building capacity and vibrant communities for the benefit of Malaysians.

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