KENYA – Heifer International Kenya, a non-profit organization that works with Kenyan smallholder livestock farmers and business owners, invites young Kenyan entrepreneurs to take part in the third edition of the AYuTe Africa Challenge.
The competition is powered by E4 Impact Accelerator and is an agriculture competition that offers young Kenyan entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch for investments in their Agri-tech solutions.
The yearly AYuTe Africa Challenge aims to accelerate the development of digital agriculture entrepreneurship in Kenya and help boost the incomes and productivity of smallholder farmers.
According to the organization, of the participants, the top winners stand a chance to get cash prize awards of up to Ksh 2,000,000 as well as have access to incubation and mentorship opportunities.
The opportunity ultimately links the top contenders with financial, investment and networking opportunities.
For a business to be eligible, it has to be established and registered in Kenya and be an early-stage start-up of less than 3 years with a strong potential to scale.
The business should have an innovative agri-tech solution orientation that will respond to the needs of the agri-value chain at various levels with a focus on impacting the lives of smallholder farmers.
In the earlier years, the organisation expanded the competition to new national participants from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda offering a wide scale of young innovators a chance to secure funding and visibility to scale their ideas and ambition.
The 2021 champions of the inaugural AYuTe challenge were ThriveAgric of Nigeria, Kenya’s DigiCow and Botswana-based Brastorne Enterprises.
“We believe that the AYuTe Africa challenge showcases African talent, and we are excited to be a part of it,” said Naledi Magowe, co-founder of Brastorne Enterprises in Botswana, which came second in the challenge in 2021.
Brastorne helps farmers access farming information, markets, and short-term finance through their phones.
The rural poor without smartphones get localized farming information and ask questions through mobile phone text messages, and all people on the platform can create profiles, groups, chat, send in-person messages, or broadcast messages, as explained by the co-founder.
“It has given us a confidence boost,” said Peninah Wanja, founder of Kenya-based DigiCow.
Over 80,000 dairy farmers are now using DigiCow as it helps them make data-driven decisions and access service providers including veterinary service providers.
Wanja disclosed that she plans to scale the platform within Kenya and outside Kenya.
The 2023 applications for the AYuTe Africa challenge Kenya opened on February 23rd and have a deadline of 23rd March.
Kenyan founders or co-founders, aged 18-40, of technology-based and digital services businesses in the agriculture sector, are eligible and encouraged to enter the 2023 competition.