For a young agripreneur, it must be exciting enough to have your business acumen, innovation and vision praised in front of just one national leader.
So think what it must have been like for the nine winners of the ‘PitchAgriHack 2018’ competition whose businesses were presented to not just one – not even two – but to a total of four African leaders: H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda; H.E. William Samoei Arap Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President, Republic of Ghana; and H.E. Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet, Prime Minister, Republic of Gabon.
Saturday 8 September 2018 will be a day to cherish forever by the rising business stars behind the winners of this competition, organised by CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation) to reward young agricultural entrepreneurs building viable businesses that boost innovation for a more sustainable agricultural sector.
The theme for the 2018’s competition was “Women entrepreneurs innovate for agricultural transformation in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific”. Of the 325 young AgriTech start-ups that applied, 26 (14 of which are led by women) were selected to take part in the final ‘pitch-off’ in front of potential investors and an illustrious judging panel.
The 2018 winners are:
Category 1: early stage (each receiving grants between €5,000 and €7,500):
- Illuminum Greenhouses Kenya, Kenya
- Fenou Packaging, Benin
- Develop Digitally, Jamaica
- Farmignite Company, Nigeria.
Category 2: advanced (each receiving grants between €12,000 and €15,000):
- CowTribe Africa, Ghana
- Agro Innova, Ghana
- Ankora Global Services, Nigeria
- CLIN SARLU (e-agribusiness), Togo.
In addition, Fenou Packaging from Benin received a special prize presented by Suguba Africa to the best Francophone start-up led by a woman.
Praise for the participants was heartfelt and deserved. According to Michael Hailu, Director, CTA: “These are entrepreneurs who have been inspired to make a difference – to help transform agriculture for future generations and to encourage young people to see the potential in farming and agribusiness. They are showing a pathway to enable the modernisation of agriculture. They are shining a light on the hope that will greatly improve rural lives and make agriculture attractive and profitable to youth who are too often migrating to cities in search of better opportunities.”
Edson Mpyisi, Chief Financial Economist and Coordinator ENABLE Youth at the African Development Bank (AfDB), emphasised the economic benefits to had from encouraging the innovation of women and young people. “AfDB is committed to working with youth and women to catalyse entrepreneurship, facilitating access to technologies and networks that will create a thriving agribusiness sector in Africa, increasing rural jobs and improving livelihoods,” he said. “We believe that PitchAgrihack offers a value step-up for young entrepreneurs and we are a proud partner in the initiative.”
Fayelle Ouane, Managing Director of Suguba, expressed how proud her company was to offer investment readiness training to the finalists and a number of additional start-ups. “We were impressed by their energy and their innovative solutions that will help promote agriculture in African, Caribbean and Pacific markets,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the finalists and to strengthening our relationship with CTA.”