Prizes & Awards

Three Nigerian start-ups win AfDB AgriPitch contest.

Three Nigerian entrepreneurs have emerged winners in the African Development Bank’s AgriPitch competition.

They are Femi Aiki of Foodlocker, Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf and Oluwaseun Sangoleye of Baby Grubz.

The competition, according to a statement by Aoudi Alkassoum from the Department of Communication and External Relations at AfDB, offered young entrepreneurs in Africa’s agricultural sector the opportunity to pitch their agribusiness proposals to a panel of experts and investors.

At the end of the competition held virtually, six winners emerged in the ‘early start-up’, ‘mature start-up’ and ‘women-empowered businesses’ categories.

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Sangoleye was a runner-up in the women-empowered businesses category and went home with $10,000 cash prize; Ikenna was rewarded with $20,000 as a winner in the early start-up category while Aiki got $40,000 for emerging as winner in the mature start-up category.

Other winners from other countries include Noel N’guessan of Lono from Côte d’Ivoire ($20,000); Elizabeth Gikebe of Mhogo Foods from Kenya ($20,000) and   David Matsiko of Bringo Fresh from Uganda ($10,000).

Nzewi said  Releaf, a food pre-processing technology company, was started by Nigerian-American graduates from MIT, Yale, and Duke universities, who set up shop in Uyo, Nigeria.

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“We are very confident about the work that we are doing to catalyse industrialisation in food processing. It is excellent to see the African Development Bank with its High 5s focus – one of them being industrialisation – to also be supporting us,” Nzewi added.

The winner of the $40,000 mature business category prize, Aiki, said the seed funding provides ‘a lot of fuel for the road’ for his business.

Foodlocker supports smallholder farmers with technologies for the production of foods such as tomatoes and chicken.

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“Now we can afford to buy more inputs. We can now afford to bring on board more experts in those value chains who can support smallholder farmers more remotely. That money will support the company to get results,” he added.

The oragnisers said the AgriPitch competition was part of the bank’s fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum, which kicked off on November 3 with weekly webinars and ended with the AgriPitch winners’ ceremony.

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