The African Development Bank (AfDB) has awarded winners of its AgriPitch competition with cash prizes worth $120,000. This is according to a statement issued by the bank and made public by the News Agency of Nigeria.
What you should know
The AgriPitch competition offers young agripreneurs in Africa the opportunity to pitch their agribusiness proposals to a panel of experts and investors who select winners in “early start-up,” “mature start-up,” and “women-empowered businesses” categories.
The competition was part of the bank’s fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF). It was launched on November 3, and started with a weekly webinar.
Some of the major highlights of the competition are:
- The AgriPitch competition, which was held virtually, saw more than 2,500 applications and 605 proposals from 30 countries shortlisted down to 25 finalists from 12 countries.
- Some of the key partners of the competition include UN Women, African Leaders for Nutrition, and the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative (AFAWA).
- According to the bank, the founder of a cassava processing business in Kenya, a co-founder of a novel food processing technology start-up, and the owner of a smallholder farmer food procurement company in Nigeria, won the top cash prizes.
- Winner for the mature start-up category, Femi Aiki of Foodlocker, Nigeria, was awarded $40,000, while runner-up Noel N’guessan of Lono, Côte d’Ivoire got $20,000.
- For the Women-empowered businesses, the winner, Elizabeth Gikebe of Mhogo Foods, Kenya won $20,000, while runner-up Oluwaseun Sangoleye of Baby Grubz, Nigeria won $10,000.
- For the early start-ups, Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf, Nigeria won $20,000, and David Matsiko of Bringo Fresh, Uganda won 10,000 dollars as runner-up.
What they are saying
Commenting on the recent development, winner of the mature business category and Chief Executive Officer of Foodlocker, Aiki, said the seed funding provides “a lot of fuel for the road” for his business.
He said: “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.”
Another beneficiary and winner of the earlier start-up category, Nzewi, who represented Releaf, a food pre-processing technology company, said the company planned to save the $20,000 competition prize for future investment.
“To be chosen from such a qualified list of businesses is always exciting.
“We are very confident about the work that we are doing to catalyse industrialisation in food processing.
“It is excellent to see the AfDB with its high fives focus – one of them being industrialisation, to also be supporting us,” Nzewi said.