The Food Entrepreneurship Challenge (FEC) is a yearly competition organised by the Department of Food Business and Development, Cork University Business School. The Competition is for final year students of the BSc Food Marketing and Entrepreneurship Programme and has been running for the last number of years. It has evolved into one of the flagship student entrepreneurship events in CUBS. Student groups enter the Competition with their fully developed concepts and business plans for new food products.
This year's products included halloumi and seaweed crisps, a turmeric milk drink, a healthy hummus snack for kids, dark chocolate for the elderly, an innovative insect-based snack bar, plant-based puddings, an avocado-based ice cream range and healthy energy drinks. The FEC 2020 was sponsored by the Cork Local Enterprise Office (LEO). As we are facing a new normal, this year's FEC had to go through some changes. In order to maintain the Competition's key features, the event was hosted online on Wednesday 27th of May 2020.
A total of nine student groups prepared their 'voice over presentations' and summaries of their ideas and designs ahead of the day. This allowed the judges to carefully review all submissions and come up with thought-provoking questions. The FEC 2020 culminated in an online session where each group faced a number of questions from the judges and tried their best to convince them that their product was needed, unique and market-ready.
Despite these turbulent times, all groups demonstrated incredible resilience, enthusiasm, dedication and perseverance, which is in fact very important for the entrepreneur's mindset. The judges awarded three prizes: Best Overall Business and Marketing Plan; Best Overall New Food Entrepreneurship Idea; and Best Overall Branding, Visual Identity and Communications.
It was important to deliver the FEC this year for many reasons, but most importantly to give our students an opportunity and platform to showcase their hard work, and to lead by example in overcoming current limitations using creativity, open-mindedness and innovative digital tools.