Agri-Tech Competition Attracts Youth Innovations

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The AYuTe Africa Challenge awards cash grants to support promising young Agri-tech innovators across Africa who are using technology to reimagine farming and food production across the continent. Each year, Heifer International invests more than US$1.5 million to accelerate digital agriculture entrepreneurship in Africa — a transformative force we call AYuTe.

In 2022, the AYuTe Africa Challenge is expanding its role as an African Agri-tech accelerator. New national competitions in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda are offering young innovators a chance to secure the funding and visibility to scale their ideas and ambitions

The AYuTe Africa Challenge is offering something new for African agriculture. It combines features of prize money and mentorship to help translate the energy and ideas of young innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country.

The challenge is an initiative of Heifer Kenya, which is working closely with E4Impact Foundation (E4I) to run the competition from June to December 2022. E4Impact Foundation will employ its expertise in business acceleration to develop a strategic direction for youth, agriculture, and technology in line with Heifer Kenya’s mission and approach.

Kenya’s agriculture industry is the backbone of its economy. However, young Kenyans, who represent more than half of the national labor force, remain almost entirely excluded from this significant industry. This is due to challenges such as negative perceptions of agriculture, lack of awareness of agribusiness value chains and limited opportunities offered by new technologies and innovative business models.

Young people have the potential to significantly reduce poverty and establish Kenya as one of the key players in agricultural markets. AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya will support the agricultural innovation needed to make this happen.

In view of the above E4Impact Foundation, in this first phase of the project, on a pilot basis is seeking the recruitment of judges for a three-day pitch competition during the first selection phase of 80 Agri-tech innovators from Kenya. The project intents, through a competitive process, to select 30 Agri-Tech innovators who will then move to the final selection stage where 15 enterprises will be selected as the finalists. Individuals representing the 30 Agri Tech enterprises will then attend a 3-day boot camp designed to provide practical training to support the enterprises to prepare viable pitch decks.

After the three-day boot camp, the 30 enterprises are expected to pitch their business decks and afterwards 15 enterprises will be selected, and the top 3 winners awarded with grants.

The 15 top Enterprises can expect to receive the following:

  1. Customized training boot camps at the various levels of the challenge
  2. Technical assistance at the various levels of the challenge to strengthen the minimum viable product and the business and financial model of the start-up
  3. Coaching and mentorship, personalized to unpack training into business implementation
  4. Links to financial and investment opportunities
  5. Networking opportunities to showcase your solution and meet with investors and other stakeholders
  6. Cash prize awards of a total of KES. 1,750,000.00 for the top three winners:
  7. Customized three-month incubation program for top 15 finalists.


By Cicilia Toroitich

Program Officer

E4Impact Entrepreneurship Center

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