A total of seven African startups who can be thought to be making significant strides in the area of fostering developments in the agritech sector, were rewarded with various cash prizes after they emerged with most of the spoils in the finals of the 2018 AgriHack Pitch which took place in Rwanda.
Pitch AgriHack is an extension of the AgriHack Talent Initiative of the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). By design, it is a program whose focus is the acceleration of agritech enterprises with a view to triggering all-encompassing growth and development in the agricultural sectors of African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) regions.
The latest edition of the competition is believed to have drawn participation from a total of 26 startups from 9 countries. The startups that made it to the final round of the competition – of which fourteen of them have female founders – are believed to have been sifted out from an initial phase which drew applications from up to 325 agritech startups.
The winners in the early-stage category were selected from a category of startups that are just launching and are adjudged to hold significant potential in the areas of scalability and impact. On the other hand, advanced-stage category winners were subjected to thorough scrutiny in such areas as problem(s) addressed, market addressed, unique value proposition, revenues, and current market traction.
Winners in the early-stage category were awarded cash prizes to the tune of between USD 5.8 K and USD 7.5 K. Such startups as Kenya’s Illuminum Greenhouses, Benin’s Fenou Packaging, and Nigeria’s Farmignite, were amongst African winners in this category.
In the advanced-stage category, Ghana’s duo of CowTribe Africa and Agro Innova were amongst the numbers, including Nigeria’s Ankora Global Services, and CLIN SARLU from Togo. These advanced stage startups took home between USD 14 K and USD 17.5 K in cash prizes. Also worthy of mention is the interesting bit that the earlier mentioned, Fenou Packaging – one of the female-founded startups – also received a special prize as the best Francophone startup.
Amongst the dignitaries who were present during the award of cash prizes to the winning startups were African Leaders – Paul Kagame; President of Rwanda, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; President of Ghana, Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet; Prime Minister of Gabon, and William Samoei Arap Ruto; Kenya’s Deputy President.
With regard to the development, Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, remarked that the winning startups were deservedly recognized on account of their commitment to transforming the agricultural sector through innovation and technology. He also hinted at their efforts serving as paving stones that will encourage further youth participation in the African agricultural scene – which according to him, will empower people, improve lives, and curb the spate of unhealthy rural-urban migration.
The just-concluded edition of Pitch AgriHack can be considered the result of concerted efforts between the African Development Bank (AfDB), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and Suguba Africa. Women in Tech Africa and Wennovation Hub are also known to be collaborators in the program.
Since coming into existence, the AgriHack Talent Initiative from CTA claims to have served as a platform for the development of various applications, products, and services, that have gone on to serve up 1 million farmers and stakeholders in the agricultural sector. The cash prizes awarded to these seven African early-stage and advanced startups are expected to do a solid to their growth and expansion plans.
Image Source: VC4A