Written by Marqui Mapp for CNBC.
Ending world hunger is a lofty goal with a United Nations’ estimate of 870 million people being uncertain of their food supplies. One start-up is poised to tackle this challenge head-on after winning the 2013 Hult Prize and its $1 million capital investment. The game-changing idea? Bugs.
It’s called Aspire.
“Aspire is about empowering people living in peri-urban slums to provide food security to people who live in [those] urban slums. We do so by providing them with insect farms, which are farming units that will allow them to farm insects,” said CEO Mohammed Ashour, a McGill University MBA candidate.
Today, 2 billion people consume protein-rich insects, but only when they’re in season. The company’s business model is to harvest a variety of insects year-round through their network of rural and peri-urban farmers. It will then process the insects into foodproducts, like insect-fortified flour or lime cricket chips, and sell them to local distributors. This kind of innovation is what Hult Prize Founder and CEO Ahmad Ashkar hoped for when he first began challenging the world’s brightest MBA students to address global issues through a social entrepreneurship competition.
“We need ideas. We need disruption. We need new social businesses. We’re looking at the business-minded students to do that,” said Ashkar, a former management consultant and Hult International Business School MBA graduate.
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