David Matsiko, an agripreneur of Bringo Fresh yesterday was announced as a runner-up in the Early-age Startup category of the AgriPitch Competition Awards —receiving a cash prize of USD$10,000 (roughly UGX37 million). Matsiko was among the 25 youth agripreneurs that were selected to pitch their agribusiness proposals online to a panel of selected experts and investors for a chance to win a share of USD$120,000.
The overall winner in the Early-stage category that Bringo Fresh was nominated in was won by a Nigerian agripreneur; Ikenna Nzewi. In the same category even if they didn’t win was Farm Kiosk which prior announcing the winners was also selected to pitch their agribusiness.
Bringo Fresh is an eCommerce solution behind farmers accessing an organised market for their fresh produce. They only deal in produce —allowing customers order for a box containing fresh fruits via the Bringo Fresh App or website and have it delivered to them. A classic fruit box worth UGX63,650 contains 5 apples, 6 oranges, 5 tangerines, 2kgs of passion fruits, one pack of grapes, one pineapple and 4 mangoes.
Held virtually, the competition received more than 2,500 applications and 605 proposals from 30 countries where only 25 were shortlisted finalists from 12 countries. The finalists qualified for a two-week business development boot camp, and then a select top 9 AgriPitch competitors made their final pitches to an online panel of judges and investors.
The overall winners were Femi Aiki (Nigeria), Elizabeth Gikebe (Kenya), and Ikenna Nzewi (Nigeria) —emerging from Mature Startup, Women Empowered Businesses, and Early-stage Startup categories respectively. Aiki received a cash prize of USD$40,000 while Gikebe and Nzewi each received USD$20,000.
“To be chosen from such a qualified list of businesses is always exciting,” said Nzewi. He added that, “We are very confident about the work that we are doing to catalyze industrialization in food processing. It is excellent to see the African Development Bank with its High 5s focus one of them being industrialization to also be supporting us.”
Aiki CEO of Foodlocker said the seed funding provides “a lot of fuel for the road” for his business. Foodlocker supports smallholder farmers with technologies for the production of foods such as tomatoes and chicken.
Aiki said one of the major areas where Foodlocker needs support is working capital. “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,” he added.
AgriPitch Competition Awards is part of the African Development Bank’s fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF); a platform for African youth in the agriculture startup scene. They categorized the startups in three sections; Mature Business, Women-Empowered Business, and Early-Stage categories.
Edson Mpyisi, Coordinator of the Bank’s Enable Youth Program said the awards aim to empower youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain by harnessing new and innovative skills, technologies and financing approaches, so that the youth can establish viable and profitable small and medium-sized enterprises
In Africa, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 90% of all businesses and create 70% job opportunities as well as being the drivers of economic growth and long-term sustainability.
“Through this 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 said.
This year’s awards were collaborated with partners, including UN Women, African Leaders for Nutrition and the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative (AFAWA).
In addition to receiving seed funding prizes and post-competition mentoring, all winners will be invited to the AYAF online DealRoom, which connects expansion-ready, youth-led African businesses with global investors.
Watch the final AYAF webinar and AgriPitch finals: https://bit.ly/3nAHWM4