By Temitope Ponle
Abuja, Oct. 22, 2020 The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) AgriPitch Competition for African youth agripreneurs would hold online from Nov. 3 to Nov. 17, Edson Mpyisi, Coordinator of the Bank’s Enable Youth Programme, has said.
In a statement from the bank on Thursday, Mpyisi said that the competition was part of the bank’s fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF).
The coordinator further added that the COVID-19 pandemic could not prevent the competition from holding.
“The African Youth Agripreneurs Forum and AgriPitch Competition have always been a high-energy gathering for young entrepreneurs in agriculture to meet, share experiences – and work the room for that next big investment.
“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 said.
According to the Mpyisi, selected entries by African youth agripreneurs will be invited to showcase their agribusiness start-up plans and compete for a share of $120,000 in funding seed prizes.
The coordinator also stated agripreneurs would compete for a slot of the competition’s business development boot camp, an audience of online panel of experts and investors to pitch their agribusiness plans.
He further said that they would compete to receive post-event mentoring and training.
Also, Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry, AfDB said the event would showcase how the youths would address “nutrition and gender inclusivity’’.
Fregene added that the showcase would be done while the youths are serving as entrepreneurial leaders within their communities and being involved in the agribusiness sector.
“AYAF and AgriPitch aim to provide the knowledge, confidence, financing and networking boosts to grow their start-ups and make a greater impact,” he added.
According to him, the competition is open to youth aged 18 to 35 and hold African nationality or citizenship and who submit their application online by Oct. 23.
The director also said the theme was: “Driving sustainable nutrition and gender inclusivity in Africa’s agri-food systems: youth agripreneurs seize the decade’’.
The 2020 AYAF and AgriPitch competition would have segments which are the AYAF webinars to hold on Nov. 3, 10 and 17.
The other segments are the AgriPitch boot camp training to hold from Nov. 2 to Nov. 13, followed by the finalists pitching on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.
In the ‘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.
The competition would be in collaboration with partners like United Nations Women, the African Leaders for Nutrition and the Affirmative Finance Action for Women Africa initiative.
“Competition organisers will select agripreneurs with promising proposals to participate in the AYAF/AgriPitch online training platform.
“Competition winners would be named in three categories which are early start-up, mature start-up and women-empowered businesses,’’ Fregene notes.
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).
The AYAF and AgriPitch 2020 aims to attract hundreds of participants from across the continent including youth agripreneurs and representatives from agribusiness companies, academia, development organisations, financial institutions and government agencies.