What is the Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award?

The Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award invites student teams from U.S. colleges and universities to propose new and better approaches for providing food for a growing global population. The competition was launched to commemorate Wilbur-Ellis’ 100th anniversary and to continue its legacy of innovation. It directly aligns with Wilbur-Ellis’ purpose to provide the essentials for the world to thrive.

Why should I participate in the Innovation Award?

The Innovation Award is a great opportunity to develop problem solving and team building skills, strengthen your resume for post-graduation job-hunting, and help solve a major challenge facing the world – feeding a growing global population. There is also a cash prize for the winning team of $25,000 USD to be split among team members. And there may be up to 4 honorable mention awards of $5,000 USD per team, as warranted by the quality of submissions.

How do students register for the Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award?

Each team member must complete a Registration Form to participate as a member of a team. You can find the registration form at www.wilburellis.com/innovation-award/innovation-award-registration/. Registration will remain open throughout the competition period (from June 29, 2021, through 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, May 2, 2022 – the deadline for submissions).

Is the competition open to anyone?

Student teams (of two or more individuals) currently enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities are eligible to enter. In the first year, the award competition is open to U.S.-based student teams (undergraduate or graduate), with a goal of expanding to other countries in the future.

Can I enter on my own or must I enter as part of a team?

This is a team competition so you will need to collaborate with your classmates.

How many people can be on one team?

Teams can be of any size of two or more people. Team members must be undergraduate or graduate level students (in any field of study).

Are there age restrictions to enter?

Team members must either be 18 years of age or older, or if younger than 18 notify Wilbur-Ellis at corporatecommunications@wilburellis.com so a parental consent form can be provided. With a parental consent form (signed by the student’s parent or guardian and provided to Wilbur-Ellis), students under 18 may participate in the competition.

What are some potential topics we can explore?

The purpose of this competition is to find innovative approaches to feeding a growing world population. Teams can choose the topic of their proposal from a wide variety of areas. For example, some possible topics might include:

  • More efficient and sustainable ways to produce, distribute, prepare or package food
  • Suggestions for alternative food ingredients for consumer wellness
  • Strategies for reducing food waste
  • New creative ways to alleviate food insecurity and make nutritious food accessible
    for all

These are just some of the possibilities.

What is required in the final submission?

Each proposal submitted must include a title page (if a Word document) or a title slide (if a PowerPoint presentation) 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 does not count in the page/slide limit). Accompanying original photos and videos are welcome.

Where do I go to submit our team entry?

To submit your team entry, go to the Submission Form online at www.wilburellis.com/innovation-award/submission/.

When are final submissions due?

Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, May 2, 2022.

Can one team submit multiple entries?

Each team may submit up to 3 entries.

Can family members of Wilbur-Ellis employees participate?

Yes. The competition is open to family members of Wilbur-Ellis as long as they are current students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities. The competition is not open to Wilbur-Ellis employees.

How are entries judged?

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

When will winners be announced?

Winning teams are expected to be announced in the summer of 2022.

How will winning teams be notified?

Winning team members will be notified by email (to the email addresses provided in the competition registration form). Winning teams will also be posted online.

What are the student prizes?

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

How is the cash prize awarded to teams?

The cash awards will be divided equally among team members who have registered to participate as part of a team. Each registered member of a winning team will receive a check from Wilbur-Ellis representing his/her portion of the team’s award. Students can use their prize money at their discretion.

Why is the competition only open to U.S. students?

In our inaugural year, we are treating this competition as a pilot program. If successful, we hope to expand the program to additional countries in the future.

Where can I go to learn more?

To learn more about the competition, please visit www.wilburellis.com/innovation-award. Our full Entry Guidelines and Rules are available at  www.wilburellis.com/innovation-award/entry-guidelines-rules/.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions about the competition?

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Jeanne Forbis, Vice President, Communications at jforbis@wilburellis.com or (628) 224-3053.