Femi Aiki, CEO of Foodlocker comments on winning first place in the category of mature business category prize.
“The seed funding provides “a lot of fuel for the road” for his business. Now we can afford to buy more inputs. We can now afford to bring on board more experts in those value chains who can support smallholder farmers more remotely…That money will support the company to get results.”
The ADB AgriPitch competition awarded a total of $120 000 in prizes to African youth agripreneurs at this year’s awards. With three categories in this year’s awards; early startup, mature startup, and women-empowered startups, the competition offers young African entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their agribuisiness proposal to a panel of experts and investors.
With over 2500 applications and 605 proposals submitted from over 30 countries across Africa, only 25 finalists were selected from 12 countries. The finalists selected took part in a two-week virtual business development bootcamp. At the end of the bootcamp, nine participants were selected and made their final pitch to an online panel of judges and investors.
The AgriPitch competition forms part of the ADB’s fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF), which began on 3 November 2020.
This year’s winners
Within each category, a winner and runner-up were selected. All the winners will be provided post-competition mentoring an invitation to the AYAF DealReam that connects African youth-led startups with global investors.
Foodlocker, founded by Femi Aiki won $40 000.A Nigeria-based agritech startup that supports small holding farmers with technologies for the production of foods such as tomatoes and chicken.
Lono was founded by entrepreneur, Noel N’guessan in 2016 Lono is a biotech agritech startup that converts organic waste into electricity and fertilizer. Lono is located in Côte d’Ivoire and won $20 000.
Founded by Elizabeth Gikebe, Mhogo Foods, a Kenya-based agritech startup, adds value to cassava production by processing the abundant product into gluten-free flour, cassava snack and animal feeds. This innovative startup won $20 000.
Oluwaseun Sangoleye, Baby Grubz, a Nigeria based startup focused by Oluwaseun Sangoleye is committed to providing affordable and homemade consumable goods for infants. The women-empowered agritech startup won $10 000.
Founded by Ikenna Nzewi, Releaf is a food pre-processing technology company based in Nigeria. Winning first place in the early startup category, Releaf won $20 000.
Uganda based, Bringo Fresh won $10 000 in the prestigious agritech competition. Founded by David Matsiko, the startup sources fresh quality produce from local small-holder farmers and delivers it to clients.
According to reports from the ADB, SME’s in Africa account for 90% of all businesses and generate 70% of all the jobs. This makes SMEs an integral driver of economic growth and long-term sustainability.
Edson Mpyisi, Coordinator of the Bank’s Enable Youth Program responsible for the event comments on the importance of supporting SMEs in Africa.
“Through the AgriPitch competition, the Bank is committed to supporting youth who are ambitious, creative, technology-savvy, and who have an entrepreneurial spirit to establish profitable small and medium-sized enterprises for a prosperous and inclusive Africa,” Mpyisi added.
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“Business is always a struggle. There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success has always been achieved by fight, every winner has scars. The men who succeed are the efficient few –they are the few who have the ambition and will-power to develop themselves. So choose to be among the few today.”– Chris Kirubi, Centum Investment, Kenya