Dar, Kigali tech firms win GoGettaz Agripreneur 230m/- cash prize

16Sep 2020
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Dar, Kigali tech firms win GoGettaz Agripreneur 230m/- cash prize

A local startup that links farmers and investors, PhemaAgri and its Rwandan peer, Magofarm Limited are winners of the coveted U$100,000 (over 230m/) GoGettaz Agripreneur cash prize alongside the prestigious Africa Food Prize.

PhemaAgri’s co-founder and CEO, Daniella Kwayu.

The two winners were announced last week during an Africa Green Revolution Forum virtual summit hosted by Rwanda and will share the prize money taking home U$50,000 each. The competition which is part of Generation Africa youth initiative, is aimed at identifying and inspiring young people across Africa to seize opportunities across the value chain of the U$1 trillion agri-food industry on the continent in the decades ahead.

In a statement, Generation Africa said four entrepreneurs were also named winners of a U$2,500 Impact Award. They were identified as: Elizabeth Gikebe, founder and CEO of Mhogo Foods (Kenya), Millicent Agidipo, co-founder and production manager of Achiever Foods (Ghana), Dysmus Kisulu, co-founder and CEO of Solar Freeze (Kenya) and Paul Matovu, founder and CEO of Vertical Farm and Micro-Gardening (Uganda).

These entrepreneurs were selected by the judges for the notable environmental or social impact of their businesses, each striving to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and benefit their communities. All 12 top finalists will receive mentorship, program linkages and other guidance to continue their entrepreneurial journeys, the statement noted.

To make it through to the top-12, each finalist first had to submit a comprehensive online application by the June deadline. The top-24 selected to be semi-finalists then had to produce their own pitch videos and participate in 30-minute online interviews with a panel of judges. Top-12 finalist ventures and entrepreneurs this year hail from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

“Throughout all the COVID challenges of 2020, the GoGettaz Agripreneurs remained focused and driven, caring not only for their businesses and employees but their countries and fellow citizens as well. In the face of the global crisis, they adapted their business models to new demands and challenges,” said Dickson Naftali, Head of the Generation Africa initiative based in Nairobi.

“Our top 12 young finalists this year are already driving forces for growth and transformation in their own communities. Their agribusinesses are each so different, but they are all steering Africa to become a continental superpower in agriculture,” Naftali noted.

Commenting on his firm’s success, PhemaAgri’s Co-founder and CEO, Daniella Kwayu said the agricultural financing gap in Africa is U $150 billion as of 2019. “There aren't any direct competitors for an agriculture crowdfunding platform in Tanzania. We are the first market entries in this sub-sector,” Kwayu said.

“Our key unique differentiator is our ability to apply technology to provide safely structured market curated investment in a convenient way,” the PhemaAgri CEO added. The firm targets to mobilise financing for one million farmers and controlling five value chains in the East African market. The company is currently operating in two value chains (pig and poultry value chains) with the aim of adding other value chains (maize, potatoes, wheat) and training more farmers in these value chains.

“The financial support from the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize will be utilized to secure market contracts and market analysis to structure and connect more farmers to markets,” Kwayu added.

The second annual 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize competition began in April and closed in June. Over 3,000 applicants between the ages of 18 and 35, from 29 African countries, registered to compete.