The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA) concluded a five-day Pitch AgriHack final, with the awarding of best startups in the presence of African heads of states and heads of governments, in Kigali, Rwanda.
The initiative was conducted during the 2018 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Suguba Africa and with the collaboration of partners including Impact Hub Kigali.
All 26 finalists involved in the start-up competition (including 14 women-owned companies) participated in a training on investment readiness and financial management organised in collaboration with Suguba Africa.
The objectives of the training were to help finalist start-ups identify key limits of their financial management strategy and identify actions they need to put in place to better manage their finances and improve their readiness to raise capital (grants, loans, equity investments, etc.) from potential investors and development organisations.
The training involved more than 40 young start-ups and other partners, including 5 Tanzanians invited our partner East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, and other start-ups from Rwanda invited as special guests.
The following four winners were announced in the early stage category
s a farming solutions company providing affordable greenhouses equipped with solar powered sensors that automate irrigation; it therefore enables the Internet of Things (IoT) to penetrate and reach the base of pyramid farmers. So far, they have built about 1,200 greenhouses across East Africa, with 5,500 Smallholder farmers using their technology (€7500).
The young company offers AgriPack, an online platform that allows agrofood stakeholders to find and buy the right packaging for their products. It offers a selection of biodegradable bags and advice young agripreneurs on how to pack food in an environmentally friendly way. The company also produces agro-processed food(€7500).
The startup offers Farm Credibly, a platform that allows unbanked farmers in Jamaica to easily access credit. By getting data from suppliers and distributors, a trusted and secure farmer profile is established. FarmCredibly empowers creditors with the means to reduce risk in issuing loans and insurance to farmers by leveraging Blockchain technology. They recently won an IBM hackathon (€5000).
Farmignite gives you the opportunity to fund a farm, empower small-scale farmers and share in the harvest. The system facilitates the aggregation of investors’ requests. Farm Ignite is helping to increase farm output, reduce food importation, and increase revenues for farmers and investors (€5000).
In the advanced stage category, the winners included
Cowtribe is a cloud-based demand aggregation and last mile animal vaccine delivery management platform. On the client side, farmers can place orders for vaccines via a USSD platform or Android app. The system then aggregates these orders by zones and region for optimized deliveries. The mobile app allows service providers to receive job notifications, manage and optimize delivery tasks. More than 9,000 vaccine requests have been fulfilled (€15000).
AgroInnova offers “Akokotakra“, a mobile and web-based management software which helps poultry farmers to record, monitor and keep comprehensive records of their farm operations in real time, both online and offline. More than 100 poultry farms signed up on the platform three months after its launched and they are steadily generating revenues(€15000).
With their product SmartFarm, Ankora Global Services provides commercial farming hub where busy professionals and beginning farmers can get access to land, modern farming facilities, professional management and market. They provide various ICT-enabled services including using drones. They have collaborated among others with the Central Bank of Nigeria to empower farmers (€12000).
CLIN SARLU is an agricultural information system equipped with a call centre in local languages, a USSD, SMS, web and mobile applications. It enables farmers to find new markets for their products. It provides buyers with relevant information to facilitate their purchases. The start-up has just been selected to provide services to government projects in Togo and Côte d’Ivoire(€12000).
The best Pitch AgriHack final ever
“Pitch AgriHack has been fantastic. First of all, just being in Kigali has been an eye-opening experience. Specifically, the investment readiness workshop has been extremely useful for us. We take home a lot of lessons and we will be certainly using them to keep propelling us forward; we’ll definitely make better use of funding having gone through this training” –Varun Baker, CEO of Develop Digitally and winner of Pitch AgriHack 2018.
Prior to the announcement of results, the start-ups pitched their solutions to AGRF participants and a panel of judges on 06 September, in a very lively, fascinating and entertaining day. Before the pitching day, the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to attend a pitching training session delivered by Impact Hub Kigali. They learnt useful tips on how to structure their pitches and were able to practice and receive feedback from mentors and peers.
The 26 entrepreneurs highly valued the Pitch AgriHack experience as they had the opportunity to interact with other young entrepreneurs, network with potential investors and with high-level officials and agribusiness leaders.
14 judges went through 86 semi-finalist applications to determine start-ups which will be named finalists of Pitch AgriHack 2018, a youth e-agriculture start-up support program of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
The judges were composed of industry experts (ICT and Agriculture), entrepreneurs and investors. Assessment criteria were the following: Proposed solution, the Agricultural problem(s) addressed, Unique value proposition, Team composition and added value, Market addressed, Current market traction, Cost structure, Channels/Paths to customers, Revenues stream, Planned milestones and Key performance indicators.
Out of the 26 finalists, 14 were companies led by women founders or co-founders (53%). This is fully in line with the theme of this competition which is: “Women entrepreneurs innovate for agricultural transformation in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific”.
Advanced stage category
Is providing farmers with the basic legal information and services through the use of an SMS based platform. This lowers their cost of access to legal information and increases their knowledge of their rights. Woman-led
Is a young African startup that invests in sustainable solutions for the population. Woman-led
Has a diversified portfolio of businesses and strategic innovative solutions in key economic sectors spanning Manufacturing, green energy, agribusiness and waste management. Woman-led
Is pioneering mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy for rural smallholder farmers, to help them reduce the huge challenge of post-harvest loss in much of the developing world.
Is committed to building innovative products as solutions to add value to agriculture and agribusiness in Africa leveraging on Information and Communication Technologies. Woman-led
Is an ICT driven business with a solution to reduces the cost of feed for livestock animals in Nigeria while reducing cassava peels waste and promoting environmental sanitation. Woman-led
Is an online platform, designed to boost agriculture productivity by allowing a farmer receiving and following crop calendar practices while recording the monetary cost involved through mobile.
Is an agriculture technology company that assists farmers with crop yield optimization through soil analysis and farming recommendations.
Is the e-commerce platform that allows clients to purchase, Order, and receive organic products, vegetables and fruits, in less than 20 min.
Early stage platform category
Is a platform that connects farmers to profitable markets.
Engaging smallholder farmers through technical development, access to improved inputs and technology to attain higher yields and incomes and guaranteed markets using technology
Is an innovative financing company, extending short-term credit facilities to SMEs that supply processors and manufacturers by purchasing their receivables – also called Supply Chain Finance.
Is an online platform which allows agri-businesses to efficiently manage the vast amount of data involved in their day-to-day operations.Woman-led
Is an online platform which allows agri-businesses to efficiently manage the vast amount of data involved in their day-to-day operations. Woman-led
Is a family business, producing fresh fruits and vegetables
Is an agritech startup that uses soil and market demand data to provide soil and crop-specific inputs to increase crop yields and access to markets.
Is a web and mobile platform for renting agricultural equipment between professionals from the agricultural world.Woman-led
Is a digital financial inclusion system that enables smallholder farmers in communities to monitor and manage their savings together.Woman-led
With 6 representatives, Nigeria tops the finalist countries, followed by Kenya and Benin with 5 and 4 representatives respectively. The Caribbean is represented by three young businesses. A total of 325 applications were initially received from 36 countries within the ACP region.
About Pitch AgriHack
Pitch Agrihack is organised by CTA with the support of AfDB and in collaboration with AGRA. Other stakeholders partnering on the activity include the association Women In Tech Africa, the innovation support institution Suguba Africa and several incubation centres. Pitch AgriHack ambitions to help develop business services offered by young e-agriculture start-ups as well as contribute to the acceleration of the adoption of innovations for stronger productivity in the agri-food sector. More information on past editions and results here.
Congratulations to finalists and thank you to all partners.
This article has been produced partly using the content of the article written by Impact Hub Kigali about the competition