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Platform Zero wins Kickstarter Challenge for supermarket food waste solution

Platform Zero, a digital platform that links supermarkets with small businesses as a means to deal with food waste and provide cost of living relief, has emerged as the winner of the 2023 Kickstarter Challenge organised by the Accelerator for Enterprising Women.

Founded by Alexandra Cannizzaro, Platform Zero diverts tonnes of food from landfills, provides discounted produce to restaurants, cafes and small businesses, and links supermarkets to various food charities. The platform also ensures that farmers get paid for their produce instead of the fruits of their labour being thrown away.

Cannizzaro conceived the platform after establishing a chain of juice shops in Adelaide that led her into fruit and vegetable distribution, soon realising the scale of the food waste problem and the environmental impact.

“If a major supermarket receives 38,000 tonnes of cherry tomatoes, but don’t have enough room on their shelves, now they can sell it on to a food distributor through Platform Zero rather than reject the order,” Cannizzaro said. “The distributor then uses Platform Zero to advertise that they’ve got a glut of cherry tomatoes selling for less than half price. So, businesses like the local grocer can buy discounted produce to sell on and the local restaurant can put on a pasta special while saving money on their weekly food order.”

As the winner of the challenge, Platform Zero will receive $30,000 in equity-free funding. Four runners-up will also receive $7500 each in funding. These start-ups are:

  • Liz Lea’s Showgo: An audio description service and app for theatre, dance, museums and film (STEM and technology category).
  • Desiree D’Cruz’s Acegirl: Produce soft, wearable breast pumps (Women’s economic equality category).
  • Esther Oh’s Agili8: Virtual healthcare using XRAI vision (Health, wellbeing and care)
  • Danielle Arrebola’s Employi: Creators of a mobile dashboard to recognise employees and boost morale (winner of the popular vote).

Cannizzaro said she was honoured to receive the recognition and plans to use the prize money to employ sales representatives to grow her business.

“At the moment it’s just me doing everything,” she said. “So, the more hands on deck, the more businesses on board and the more stock we can move to keep reducing food waste.

The Kickstarter Challenge’s organiser, the Accelerator for Enterprising Women, aims to support and empower Australian women aged 18 and above to create self-made career paths and pursue entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.

“It is a sobering fact that only a third of Australian startups are female-led and women receive less than a quarter of all private seed capital investment in Australia,” the Accelerator for Enterprising Women’s spokesperson, Miriam Rizvi, said. “Initiatives like this Kickstarter Challenge, and the Accelerator for Enterprising Women support and empower female entrepreneurs to shatter glass ceilings, solve society’s problems with smart solutions and embrace their potential as successful business owners.”

The program was also delivered in partnership with the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia. COSBOA CEO Luke Achterstraat said COSBOA wanted to ensure anyone who wanted a future in entrepreneurship could create that career path.

“Australia’s entrepreneurial spirit has been behind some of the world’s most valuable and transformative ideas and we know there are so many more to come,” Achterstraat said.

This story was originally published on Inside Small Business

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