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The Search is On for the Next Big Idea with Industrial Hemp

The Hemp Innovation Challenge Returns for the Second Year; Entrepreneurs Encouraged to Apply

By Heather Collins

Organizers for the Hemp Innovation Challenge (HIC) want to hear from entrepreneurs, visionaries, and business leaders who think they have the next big concept in hemp.

Back for its second year, HIC is now accepting applications for unique, untested, or market-proven hemp-related successes that will continue to drive the industry forward. The competition is designed to accelerate the future of hemp and support those who aspire to launch the world’s most disruptive innovation for people, profit, and the planet.

Inspired by NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars, the founders of HIC are encouraging hemp innovators to think outside of the box this year and believe anything is possible.

According to a recent press release, Mike Reid, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Hemp Innovation Challenge, said, “The HIC is designed to discover, amplify, and celebrate the wide range of hemp innovation from many industries globally. We have big plans to accelerate the future of the hemp industry by supporting entrepreneurs, researchers, and students who are launching the most disruptive hemp innovations in the world.”

The competition is open to the public, and the judges urge applicants to connect technology, software, and services to food, fuel, medicine, health, fiber, waste, and sustainable development.

Victory is Sweet
In 2020, the HIC received more than 65 submissions spanning a dozen countries on five continents with the judges narrowing the award down to one company.

The top prize went to Victory Hemp, a food company that makes American grown hemp ingredients for manufacturers and brands who create plant-based products.

Chad Rosen, CEO of Victory Hemp, indicated that the award provided his company with endless opportunities. “Participation in the 2020 Hemp Innovation Challenge helped Victory Hemp raise capital, validate current customers, and find new customers. It was a competitive process where industry experts vetted us. Our win was a real validation for us.”

Last year’s judges included Morris Beegle, Co-founder of WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) and Let’s Talk Hemp Media; Joy Beckerman, Hemp Ace International; Chris Boucher, CEO of Farmtiva; and Garry Meier, Canada’s leading hemp agriculture expert. This year’s judges will be announced soon.

How to Apply
HIC applications are open to for-profits, non-profits, and early-stage concepts or impact projects. According to the HIC website, organizers encourage companies who apply to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs).

The competition’s winners will be announced at the Southern Hemp Expo in Raleigh, NC, in September. In addition to cash prizes, the HIC champion will receive strategic feedback about their innovation, business model, and go-to-market strategy.For more information or to apply, visit www.hempinnovation.space.

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Heather Collins is an Account Manager for Compass Natural Marketing and has been working in communications and marketing in the natural products industry for the past twenty years. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo. Collins serves as a Contributing Writer of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact heather@compassnaturalmarketing.com.

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