AgroInnova Wins at Pitch AgriHackRecently, the AgriTech community gathered in Kigali, Rwanda for Pitch AgriHack, part of the African Green Revolution Forum. Organized by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Pitch AgriHack aims at accelerating e-agriculture entrepreneurship for improved livelihoods in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries.
MEST Portfolio Company through the Kosmos Innovation Center AgroInnova was one of the startups selected to compete in the Advanced Platform category at Pitch AgriHack 2018.The team walked away as a winner, receiving a 15,000 Euro grant. Not only this, but AgroInnova will now receive promotional support, additional capacity building, and networking opportunities through CTA and AfDB.
We spoke to AgroInnova CPO Kelvin Kotey Ashie to learn more about the team’s takeaways from AgriHack 2018 as well as why they believe AgriTech is so important.
[caption id="attachment_7327" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The AgroInnova Team at Pitch AgriHack 2018.[/caption]
Why do you believe AgriTech is important?
Agriculture in itself provides employment to over 60% of Africa’s labour force. Africa’s agricultural sector and food systems must rapidly and sustainably transform to deliver incomes, food security, nutrition, and wider economic opportunities. With the knowledge and technology available, it has never been a better time for young people to get involved in agriculture. AgriTech is important because it allows youth to apply what they already love doing to one of the most important sectors for African economies.
How will winning at Pitch AgriHack impact AgroInnova?
Winning Pitch Agrihack will provide us with more exposure as a company to continue to grow and strengthen our core products and services. This means that there is extra responsibility on us to execute and continue delivering value for the partners, stakeholders, and clients that continue to believe in us. The partnership with CTA will also help in strengthening business management capacity for young startups, which is critical.
What are your takeaways from participating in Pitch AgriHack 2018?
Participating in the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda exposed us to the largest gathering of public and private sector stakeholders within Africa’s agricultural sector. AGRF was an eye opener for us as we connected to many of the key players who are working collaboratively to transform the state of Africa’s agriculture.
For Pitch AgriHack, one major take-away was the bootcamp training session, which was organized with a focus on investment readiness for e-agriculture startups. The session was organized by Suguba Africa in partnership with CTA and Impact Hub Kigali.
Being selected as one of the 26 finalists for the competition, which even included three startups from the Caribbean, was a huge boost for us. To be a part of the top two winners together with CowTribe from Ghana was amazing. It was a huge honour to have Ghana’s President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,who congratulated us and urged us to continue to make Ghana proud, present at the award ceremony and Presidential Summit.
[caption id="attachment_7328" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Kelvin Ashie with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Addo and the founder of CowTribe.[/caption]
Another one of my big highlights in Kigali was the Youth Town Hall Meeting held by Strive Masiyiwa. This was titled Youth Town Hall Rwanda : Unlocking Agripreneurship. In one of his major comments, he spoke on the state of Africa’s poultry industry and what the youth were doing to tackle the major problems faced by the industry across Africa. This was particularly important to us because Mr. Masiyiwa and Saul Singer, author of Startup Nation, spoke about how entrepreneurial mindsets of Africa’s burgeoning youth are a wealth of resource that need to be tapped into to transform Africa’s agricultural ecosystem.
Interested in learning more about the transformative power of AgriTech? Check out this article!
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Due to COVID-19, MEST postpones training program to next year and doubles down on growing portfolio companies
At MEST, we continue to be deeply concerned about COVID-19 and have been closely monitoring developments locally and globally. Our number one priority remains the health and safety of our community and we will continue to follow local authority and health official guidelines.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic and the uncertainty that the future of travel holds, we have been unable to conduct in-person interviews and host recruitment around Africa for our next cohort. For this reason, we have taken the decision to postpone the Training Program to next year.
While these circumstances are indeed unfortunate, we see this as an exciting opportunity at MEST to double down on providing support and mentorship to our existing portfolio companies and the African ecosystem.
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