NIGERIA – Nigeria based social enterprise ColdHubs has secured US$2,600 in prize money after emerging the winner of the FCMB Agritech EPIC Pitch 2020 competition.

Apart from a monetary prize, the startup that specializes in developing solar powered walk in refrigerators, will also benefit from access to workspace and networks for innovation and collaboration.

Other benefits that the winners of the competition will get include mentor support, access to market as well as access to Passion Incubator’s resources, partner organisation support, and business development services.

The 2020 FCMB Agritech EPIC Pitch competition was launched by FCMB (First City Monument Bank) in partnership with Passion Incubator.

The application phase saw close to 2,000 agri-tech startups from over 16 countries around the world apply, with 10 startups named semi-finalists.

After two days of semi-final pitches, six of those companies – all from Nigeria – progressed to the final.

ColdHubs, which designs, installs, commissions and operates solar-powered walk-in cold rooms, was named overall winner.

AgroHive, an HR-tech startup that helps agribusinesses access a consistent supply of skilled agricultural staff, came second and banked NGN500,000 (US$1,300).

The other finalists were Farmz2U, which helps farmers access tailored agricultural expertise using data and market access via system integrations and Beat Drone, which uses drones for spraying, crop health assessment and farmland mapping.

“We are passionate about supporting Nigeria’s tech ecosystem and this initiative is one of the ways through which we are building and accelerating the growth of the agri-tech startups in Nigeria, as well as the larger African continent.”

Rolayo Akhigbe- Head of Transaction Banking at FCMB.

Home to Lagos, Africa’s largest city and the most valuable startup ecosystem on the continent, Nigeria is one of the top three countries driving the growth of technology in West Africa and Africa as a whole.

Last year Nigerian startups raked in $663.24 million in investments, the highest amount of venture capital money secured by an African country in the year, according to a 2019 Africa Venture capital report.

Lack of access to capital and proper mentorship of many of Nigeria’s promising startups however, continues to remain a key hindrance in the growth and expansion of these startups.

Fintech challenges and startup competitions such as the ones spearheaded by FCMB and Ecobank are however contributing towards supporting startups and helping them overcome the challenges of navigating the treacherous Nigerian business environment.

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