Kenya: Heifer International Opens Applications for the 2023 Ayute Africa Challenge

Nairobi — Heifer International Kenya has opened applications for young entrepreneurs for the 2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya.

AYuTe which stands for Agriculture, Youth, Technology aims to offer young entrepreneurs in Kenya the opportunity to pitch for investment in their agritech solutions to boost the incomes and productivity of smallholder farmers.

“This competition provides an opportunity for young innovators in Kenya to secure the funding and visibility they need to scale up their agritech solutions to reach millions of farmers across Africa,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President of Africa Programs at Heifer International.

“There is huge potential for economic growth and employment in agriculture across Africa, but new ideas and technologies are urgently needed. It’s time for Africa’s tech-savvy youth to use their innovation skills to transform the sector.”

Funding, training, and access to agricultural technology remain three key areas that the youth can be supported in to encourage them to embrace agriculture as a desirable career.

Through the AYuTe Africa Challenge, Heifer seeks to address these needs in partnership with key stakeholders such as County Governments, innovation hubs, academic institutions, and development partners among others.

“We are partnering with these actors because we strongly believe that at the heart of agriculture, transformation is constant innovation. Young agritech innovators require a combination of significant investment, motivation, and mentorship,” said Esta Kamau, Country Director, Heifer International Kenya.

Through the competition, Heifer aims to translate the energy and ideas of young Kenyan agri-tech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country and support the winners to grow their businesses.

The awards for the competition include a cash prize of up to Sh2 million for the top three winners.

Through the E4Impact Accelerator, the top 24 innovators will undergo a 2-month incubation program among other benefits such as linkage to investment, networking, training, coaching, and mentorship opportunities

The deadline for applications is March 21 2023.

In 2022, national competitions were held in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda awarding up to USD20,000 in each country.

In Kenya, Optimerce Consulting Ltd, a business that digitizes the process of produce collection at farm-gate through mobile apps was announced as the AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya Winner; RafikiPay, a company that deals with the processing of sunflower, groundnuts, soya, and canola oil from the hybrid seeds was announced as the 1st runner up.

Agrodiverse Ltd Kenya, a business that coverts insects, earthworms into sources of protein in animal feed and high-quality organic fertilizers, emerged as the 2nd runner up.

In addition, the top 15 finalists underwent personalized mentorship and incubation with the support of E4 Impact Accelerator.

At the continental level, the AYuTe Africa Challenge awards up to USD1.5 million each year with Hello Tractor from Kenya (East Africa) and ColdHubs from Nigeria (West Africa) emerging as inaugural winners in 2021. Digicow from Kenya (East Africa), Brastorne from Botswana (South Africa), and ThriveAgric from Nigeria (West Africa) won the 2022 edition.

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