A Kenyan greenhouse farming technology company emerged a clear winner of early stage category during the just concluded Pitch AgriHack 2018 in Kigali Rwanda.
Illuminum Greenhouses Kenya, were rewarded grants of between €5000 and €7500. ‘Pitch AgriHack 2018’ is a competition organised by Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) – a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU) – to support young agricultural entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) build viable businesses and boost innovation for a more sustainable agricultural sector.
Pitch AgriHack 2018 is organised with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Suguba Africa. Other collaborators include Women in Tech Africa and Wennovation Hub.
The two categories of start-ups, early stage, those just launching and advanced stage, were judged on criteria including problems addressed, unique value proposition, market addressed, current market traction and revenues.
Other winners in this category included Fenou Packaging, Benin; Develop Digitally, Jamaica and Farmignite Company, Nigeria while in the advanced category, CowTribe Africa, Ghana; Agro Innova, Ghana; Ankora Global Services, Nigeria; CLIN SARLU (e-agribusines), Togo received grants between €12000 and €15000.
A special prize offered by Suguba Africa to the best Francophone start-up led by a woman was awarded to Fenou Packaging, Benin.
— CTA (@CTAflash) September 6, 2018
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 said, “AfDB is committed to working with youth and women to catalyse entrepreneursip, facilitating access to technologies and networks that will create a thriving agribusiness sector in Africa, increasing rural jobs and improving livelihoods. We believe that Pitch Agrihack offers a value step-up for young entrepreneurs and we are a proud partner in the initiative.”
The theme for 2018’s competition was “Women entrepreneurs innovate for agricultural transformation in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific”. 26 start-ups, 14 of which are women led, from 9 countries were selected out of 325 young AgriTech start-ups that applied.
The finalists were shepherded through a boot camp process before pitching their innovations to potential investors and a judging panel.
The panel of judges comprised: Professor Ruth Oniang’o; former winner of the African Food Prize; Ethel Cofie; Founder of EDEL technology also named as one of the Top Five Women impacting IT in Africa; Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, Managing Director of the African Innovation Foundation; Chiji C Ojukwu, former Director of the Department of Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank and Thomas Festerling; CFO and Managing Partner of GreenTec Capital Partners.
Since the launch of CTA’s AgriHack Talent Initiative, at least 1 million farmers and agricultural stakeholders have been reached by services provided through the use of applications developed in the process. Start-ups, mostly information and communications technologies (ICT) based innovations, have raised more than two million Euros from other investors and partners.