“Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award” Entry Guidelines and Rules

Wilbur-Ellis invites teams of college / university students based in the United States to participate in the “Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award” competition, which will identify creative and effective ways to feed a growing world population.

Potential Topics

The purpose of this competition is to give teams of college / university students based in the United States the opportunity to propose innovative approaches to feeding a growing world population.

Since the focus is on food, teams could explore a wide variety of topics. For example, topics could include (but are not limited to) more efficient and sustainable ways to produce, distribute, prepare or package food. Teams could explore alternative food ingredients, reducing food waste, or finding new ways to alleviate food insecurity. These are just some of the possibilities.

Competition Period

The competition begins on or about Tuesday, June 29, 2021, and continues until midnight Pacific time on Monday, May 2, 2022.

Competition Sponsor

The Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award is sponsored and coordinated by Wilbur-Ellis, with corporate headquarters at 345 California St., 27th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104.

Team Composition

Teams (two or more people) should be comprised of U.S.-based college / university students. Teams can be of any size, undergraduate or graduate level, and in any field of study. Any team member under the age of 18 must notify Wilbur-Ellis so a parental consent form can be provided. Without a parental consent form signed by the student’s parent or guardian, students under 18 may not participate in the competition.

Register to participate

Each team member must submit a completed Registration Form to participate. Registration will remain open throughout the competition period (on or about June 29, 2021 through midnight Pacific time on Monday, May 2, 2022 – the deadline for submissions). Each team member must register and agree to the terms set forth in the Registration Form to enter the competition.

Guidelines for Proposal Submissions

Each proposal submitted must include a title page / slide with the name of the team (and a list of the team members), the college / university attended, name of class and teacher / advisor (if none, say N/A), the title of the submission, and a brief “abstract” (500 words or less) summarizing the key points and conclusions of the submitted proposal.

Written submissions (presented in a Word document) must not exceed 20 type-written pages. Submissions presented in a PowerPoint Presentation must not exceed 25 slides. (The title page/slide is not included in the page/slide limit). Accompanying original photos and videos are welcome.

Text must be typed, in English, and submitted through the online submission tool. Each team may submit up to 3 entries.


Submissions will be evaluated and awards determined by a panel of Wilbur-Ellis executives. The submissions will be judged on the basis of:

  • 40% – Relevance to the challenge of feeding a growing world population
  • 30% – Creativity, originality
  • 20% – Quality of thought reflected
  • 10% – Potential for proposed approach to make an impact / be further developed


The college / university team that submits the most outstanding proposal will receive a top award of $25,000. There may also be up to 4 honorable mention awards of $5,000 per team, as warranted by the quality of submissions.

Winning team members will be notified by email (to the email addresses provided in the competition registration form). The cash awards will be divided equally among team members who have registered to participate as part of a team. Winners are expected to be announced in the summer of 2022. Each registered member of a winning team will receive a check from Wilbur-Ellis representing his/her portion of the team’s award.

General Rules

Entrants agree to be bound by the terms of the Registration Form and these Entry Guidelines and Rules and by the decisions of the judges, which are at the sole and absolute discretion of the judges and are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this competition.

This competition is governed by the laws of the United States. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. No purchase is necessary to participate. This competition is void where prohibited. All federal and state taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the winners.

The Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award rules are subject to modification by Wilbur-Ellis at Wilbur-Ellis’ sole discretion. Wilbur-Ellis reserves the right to verify the qualifications of each entry and to disqualify ineligible entries.

Wilbur-Ellis is not responsible for lost, late, damaged, incomplete, or illegible entries, or for human error or any computer, online, telephone, or technical malfunctions that may occur.

All entries become the property of Wilbur-Ellis and will not be returned.

Any failure to adhere to these Contest Rules may result in disqualification from the competition.

Return to the Innovation Award Overview page.