Bernhard Kowatsch

Bernhard Kowatsch
United Nations World Food Programme

Bernhard Kowatsch is the Head of the Innovation Accelerator at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which he founded in 2015. The Accelerator has been awarded the “Best workplace for innovators and innovative team of the year 2020” and also made it to 2nd place of Fast Company's “Most Innovative Not-For-Profit organizations” for 2021. The Accelerator sources, nurtures and scales start-ups and non-profits that disrupt global hunger. In 2020, the innovation and startup portfolio positively impacted the lives of 3.7 million people (+160% vs. 2019) and has raised a total of $118M of grant funding. 

The Accelerator has supported more the 90 innovations with funding, runs programmes for external partners such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Humanitarian Grand Challenges and other UN Agencies, and just celebrated its 5-year anniversary. The now-60+ member team represents over 30 countries and speaks more than 20 unique languages. 

Bernhard is a regular speaker at tech conferences and global events on tech for good, blockchain, artificial intelligence, social entrepreneurship and technologies disrupting global hunger, e.g. Mobile World Congress, AI For Good XPRIZE Global Summit, SXSW, UN General Assembly events, World Economic Forum, XPRIZE Visioneering and numerous UN and government events. 

Prior to starting the Accelerator, Bernhard co-founded the award-winning ShareTheMeal app that crowdsources funding for WFP. This leading innovation has raised over 110 million meals ($50M+) for hungry families worldwide (as of February 2021), and was named as an App of the Year for 2020 by both Apple and Google. 

Bernhard also build up WFP’s Business Innovation unit based in Rome, and was previously a Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for global tech and industrial goods companies. He holds three Masters’ degrees from HEC Paris and Vienna University of Business and Economics.