There are just hours to go until the 23 October deadline to enter the African Development Bank’s AgriPitch Competition. Selected entries by African youth agripreneurs will be invited to showcase their agribusiness startup plans and compete for a share of $120,000 in funding seed prizes, a slot of the competition’s business development boot camp, an audience of online panel of experts and investors to pitch their agribusiness plans, as well as receive post-event mentoring and training.
The AgriPitch competition is part of the African Development Bank’s fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF) – one of the continent’s most exciting platforms for African youth in agriculture start-up scene – to be held online for the first time this 3 -17 November, 2020.
“The African Youth Agripreneurs Forum and AgriPitch Competition has always been a high-energy gathering for young entrepreneurs in agriculture to meet, share experiences – and work the room for that next big investment,” said Edson Mpyisi, Coordinator of the Bank’s Enable Youth Program responsible for the event. “The COVID-19 pandemic may keep us from networking in person in 2020, however, the Bank and partners are gearing up to present a dynamic, knowledge-rich Forum online – as well as the most seed funding AgriPitch has ever awarded competitors,” he added.
In collaboration with partners like UN Women, the African Leaders for Nutrition and the Affirmative Finance Action for Women Africa initiative, this year’s AYAF and AgriPitch competition will have two segments:
- AYAF webinars held on 3, 10 and 17 November.
- The AgriPitch boot camp training from 2 – 13 November, followed by the finalists pitching on 16 and 17 November.
Under the theme Driving sustainable nutrition and gender inclusivity in Africa’s agri-food systems: youth agripreneurs seize the decade, AYAF and AgriPitch 2020 intends to attract hundreds of participants from across the continent including youth agripreneurs and representatives from agribusiness companies, academia, development organizations, financial institutions and government agencies.
“The event highlights how youth agripreneurs address nutrition and gender inclusivity while serving as entrepreneurial leaders within their communities and being involved in the agribusiness sector,” said Bank Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Martin Fregene. “AYAF and AgriPitch aims to provide the knowledge, confidence, financing and networking boosts to grow their startups and make a greater impact,” he added.
The general public is invited to register for the webinars, scheduled to draw speakers and presenters from across the development, nutrition, gender and agriculture landscape. The weekly sessions will address three topics:
- Policies for sustainable nutrition and gender inclusivity (3 Nov).
- Empowering youth and women in agricultural value chains to address nutrition (10 Nov).
- Strategic partnerships for Equity in Agriculture: Financing Women, Youth and Nutrition (17 Nov).
The AgriPitch competition is open to youth aged 18 to 35 who hold African nationality or citizenship and who submit their application online by 23rd October.
Competition organizers will select agripreneurs with promising proposals to participate in the AYAF/AgriPitch online training platform. In this ‘business development boot camp’, AgriPitch competitors can attend sessions on product development, revenue channel identification, logistics, marketing, business management, investment readiness, financing and other issues, led by coaches, mentors and investors.
At the end of the boot camp, selected agripreneurs will pitch their business proposals to a panel of judges. Competition winners will be named in three categories: early start-up, mature start-up and women-empowered businesses.
In addition to receiving seed funding prizes and post-competition mentoring, winners will be invited for the AYAF online DealRoom. The DealRoom connects expansion-ready, youth-led African businesses with global investors (debt, equity and/or grant).