Fourteen inspiring, young entrepreneurs from across Africa, pitched their innovative agribusinesses to influential judges and delegates at the pitch finale of the Generation Africa GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize competition held at the 2021 AGRF Virtual Summit and broadcast online to an audience of millions on other platforms.
Generation Africa co-founders Svein Tore Holsether, CEO and President of Yara International, and Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, later announced the two winners of the US$50,000 grand prizes while AGRA President Agnes Kalibata announced the winners of four Impact Awards to receive $2,500 each.
Taking top honors in the female agripreneur category was Tracy Kimathi, founder of Tree_Sea.mals in Kenya who developed and introduced Baridi: innovative solar-powered cold rooms and IoT remote access, with vision to reduce post-slaughter loss throughout East Africa’s livestock value chain.
In the male category, Nshimiyimana Alexandre, co-founder of Sanit Wing Ltd in Rwanda, came first for his community-focused, socially conscious avocado processing and manufacturing company which markets oils, cosmetics and soaps.
“I was so moved to see the passion and wide range of exciting agribusinesses these young entrepreneurs have launched in recent years, generating income for themselves and their nations, and also really positive social and environmental impacts through their climate-friendly innovations,” commented Svein Tore Holsether.
“While most businesses everywhere have been forced to pivot to survive during the worst of the COVID pandemic, this year’s Top-14 finalist entrepreneurs focused on ways to innovate, grow their businesses and continue to serve their communities,” said Masiyiwa who also serves as an AU Special Envoy for COVID response.
“With their innovative solutions, business models and agri-technologies across the whole value chain, we call these young entrepreneurs and innovators our ‘Generation Africa GoGettaz’ – the future of food on our continent. We congratulate all 14 finalists and all who took part,” he said.
Beyond the two grand prizes, the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition values and awards contestants through four Impact Social and Environmental Awards, each with a cash prize of US$2,500.
The recipients of the Impact Awards for 2021 are Fily Keita, co-founder and CEO of Agrowomen in Mali; Diana Orembe, co-founder and CEO of NovFeed in Tanzania; Gabriel Eze, co-founder and COO of Rural Farmers Hub in Nigeria; and Costantine Edward, founder of AgriLife in Tanzania.
From its launch in 2019, the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition has quickly become one of the most anticipated events for youth-led agribusinesses across the continent.
During the application window from mid-April to mid-June 2021, the third annual GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition drew applications from 40 African countries and 3,298 eager agripreneurs began the application journey.
The high standard of applications made it impossible to choose a Top 12, as was originally intended so the early round judges opted instead to send 14 change making agripreneurs to face the GoGettaz judges in the final pitching contest, broadcast at the AGRF summit as well as other online platforms.
Among the finalists, “All of the ventures, either focused on or benefited Africa’s smallholder farmers in one way or another,” said Svein Tore Holsether.
“Without a doubt, young entrepreneurs will be at the forefront of the transformation that we need. GoGettaz is much more than just a pitch competition. For me, it is fast becoming a tradition that celebrates the brilliance, the resilience, the audacity, of Africa’s young agrifood entrepreneurs,” exclaimed Ada Osakwe, founder and managing partner of Agrolay Ventures, founder and managing director of Nuli Juices, and Generation Africa Ambassador.
Winners of the US$50,000 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prizes
Tracy Kimathi, founder of Tree_Sea.mals, Baridi, in Kenya
“Imagine living in a world were 30% of the meat produced goes rotten each day. That’s the equivalent of losing 100 million cows across Africa,” said Tracy Kimathi in her pitch to the judges.
This is the problem she is solving with Baridi, an off-grid, solar cold storage innovation to reduce post-slaughter loss in East Africa’s livestock value chain, using an innovative “pay-as-you-cool” revenue model.
Tracy says their solar chillers “guarantee a yearly economic benefit of US$5 000 for a vendor renting one square meter of cold space.”
Additionally, she states, “One Baridi unit has the potential to create a whopping 190 informal jobs, save up to 1500 tonnes of CO2 emissions and, annually, preserve over 280,000 kg of meat.”
Responding to a question from judge Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen, EVP for Scalable Enterprises at Norfund, Tracy explained, “We have two business models currently. We have the B2C model, which is a pay-as-you-go system that we go into the livestock value chains with. Then we have a B2B which is a lease-to-buy production system that we sell to commercial clients.”
Unambiguous, exact, and knowledgeable about every aspect of her business, the judges were impressed by Tracy’s thorough presentation and clear answers to the questions.
Judge Ishmael Sunga, CEO of SACAU commented, “I like the energy and enthusiasm in your presentation. With that kind of mentality, attitude, and foresight, you’ll go places, if you maintain that.”
With one unit already up and running, they are using the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize money to accelerate the production and launch of the second Baridi unit at a meat market in Nairobi, while developing and testing three future business models.
Nshimiyimana Alexandre, co-founder of Sanit Wing Ltd in Rwanda
Over 141,000 metric tonnes of avocado go to waste in Rwanda each year. To tackle this post-harvest waste, 30-year-old Nshimiyimana Alexandre decided to launch a community-based company called Sanit Wing which now successfully processes locally grown, pesticide-free avocados into high-value oils and cosmetics.
Nshimye says, “Five years ago, I realised that Rwanda was spending about US$35 million to import cosmetics. And Rwanda was importing 125 metric tonnes of cooking oil, and Rwanda was ranked 3rd in Africa in avocado production.”
They have turned these numbers into a business that creates jobs and income opportunities for his community.
When judge Thierno Diarra from the African Development Bank asked Nshimye why he didn’t stick to the product with the biggest margin, Nshimye answered: “Why should I only make oil just to make money? I want to reduce import.
I want to solve the hygiene problem that is in my community. And you know how soap has been saving lives during this pandemic? You know how much soap this country has imported? We can make it from this fruit. Think about that,” he said holding up an avocado. “So, if I focus on oil, my people will die of COVID because they do not have soap?”
Sanit Wing has a vision of becoming the leading producer of avocado products and by-products in Africa.
They use the seeds to grow more avocado trees in their community and have planted 2 million trees to date, while conscientiously steering away from environmentally damaging monoculture.
With the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize, Sanit Wing is looking to scale operations on a faster track to create 50 new jobs, and exponentially boost product output to meet eager market demand.
Impact Award Winners
Fily Keita, co-founder and CEO of Agrowomen in Mali. Agrowomen is a local cereals and oilseeds processing start-up which partners with women farmer cooperatives, helping them sell their products through supermarkets, food stores, social media and an e-commerce website. The social mission of Agrowomen is economic empowerment for women and food security for Mali.
Diana Orembe, co-founder and CEO of NovFeed in Tanzania. Diana and her start-up agritech company have developed proprietary, chemical-free biotechnology to upcycle organic waste to produce affordable, sustainable, and a high-quality bacteria-based protein ingredient for the aquaculture market.
Gabriel Eze, co-founder and COO of Rural Farmers Hub in Nigeria. Gabriel and his team have developed a flagship precision management solution called “Capture” which utilizes big data to help improve crop health and soil quality assessment capacity for smallholder farmers, plantations, and industrial out-growers.
Costantine Edward, Founder of AgriLife in Tanzania. Costantine’s company produces insect-based alternative protein utilizing a pioneering waste-to-nutrient technology. Through the use of insects, AgriLife provides sustainable, adaptable and cost-efficient alternative sources of protein for poultry and fish feed.
Full list of the 2021 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Top 14
Emanuel N. Kungu, Afri-EcoFeeds, Tanzania
Recycles waste from the food processing industry such as food peels and trimmings into low-cost animal feed for poultry, pigs and dairy cows (M)
Costantine Edward Herman, AgriLife, Tanzania
Introduced pioneering waste-to-nutrient insect technology using black soldier fly larvae to up-cycle organic waste into eco-friendly protein for animal feed (M)
Michael Ogundare, Crop2Cash, Nigeria
Proprietary technology enables smallholder farmers to receive digital payments and build their financial identity while also making credit accessible (M)
Baraka Jeremiah Chijenga, Kilimofresh Foods Africa Limited, Tanzania
Trades and markets all types of foods, grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, reducing post-harvest losses via cold storage while powering all activities with renewable energy (M)
Nana Yaw Antwi-Boasiako, ProSect Feed Ltd, Ghana
Researches, farms, processes, and markets carefully selected insects as a sustainable and affordable source of protein to feed poultry (M)
Gabriel Eze, Rural Farmers Hub, Nigeria
Provides agricultural services with a core product called Capture which uses a proprietary algorithm and big data to assess crop and soil health, then generates near to real-time farming insights and advice (M)
Nshimiyimana Alexandre, Sanit Wing Ltd, Rwanda
With 90% of his suppliers being local women farmers, Sanit Wing processes and manufactures locally sourced, pesticide-free avocados into high-value oils, cosmetics and soaps (M)
Fily Keita, Agrowomen, Mali
Adds value to local cereals and oilseeds by processing sesame seeds and producing cold press and natural sesame oil, snacks, and tasty rice, working with women farmers’ cooperatives as key partners (F)
Tracy Kimathi, Tree_Sea Mals/Baridi, Kenya
Developed and introduced Baridi – innovative solar-powered cold rooms and IoT remote access, with vision to reduce post-slaughter loss throughout East Africa’s livestock value chain (F)
Sepenica Darko, FarmerTribe Company Limited, Ghana
A one-stop-shop for smallholder farmers in last-mile communities to access quality and improved seed, agrochemicals and fertilizer, agronomic training, extension services and market linkages (F)
Diana Orembe, NovFeed, Tanzania
Uses proprietary technology to up-cycle organic waste into high-protein fish feed and organic fertilizer using bacteria and the black soldier fly, while providing data to fish farmers to help them improve their yield (F)
Evangelista Chekera, Passion Poultry, Zimbabwe
Designed and now manufactures and distributes innovative proprietary poultry equipment for small scale urban farmers (F)
Chidinma Eriobu, Phronesis Foods Nigeria Limited, Nigeria
Organically processes and packages local Ukwa (breadfruit) for sale in both local and global markets (F)
Jolenta Joseph, Sanavita Company Limited, Tanzania
Produces and processes orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, Pro Vitamin A maize, and high iron and zinc beans as well as runs awareness campaigns and nutrition education programs (F).
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