Ghanaian agribusiness entrepreneur Jeffrey Appiagyei of SAYeTECH Company Limited has won the Early-Stage Category Award at the Pitch AgriHack 2021 competition.
SAYeTECH and five other youth-led agribusinesses are walking away with a share of the US$45,000 Pitch AgriHack 2021 package. They will also have an opportunity to attract new investments via the Alliance for Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Agribusiness Deal Room. The winners were announced at the AGRF in Nairobi – Kenya.
Jeffrey’s company designs and manufactures climate-smart agricultural machinery that increases productivity of smallholder farmers. SAYeTECH is a product and service-oriented company that designs and builds smart agricultural machinery suited for African conditions and use. SAYeTECH also provide fabrication training and computer-aided design services to impact the manufacturing industry and organizations.
The company says it is working to increase productivity of farmers and lessen food loss. It also aims at improving the quality of farm produce with minimal manual labour. Its vision is to increase smallholder’s access to agri-machinery by 25% in five years to liberate children from undue hard labour and save them critical school going days during farming season.
The Pitch AgriHack competition, aimed exclusively at youth-led African businesses bringing technological innovation to the agriculture sector, is sponsored by Heifer International and hosted by Generation Africa, a thematic platform of the AGRF. “Pitch AgriHack is a wonderful initiative that awards youth-led innovative agricultural businesses. At the intersection of technology and agriculture, new innovations have the capacity to enable and uplift smallholder farmers, and drive agricultural transformation across Africa,” Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA and Special Envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit observed. The six winning companies, were competing in three categories: Early-stage, Mature/Growth-stage, and Women-led.
The runner-up in the category won by SAYeTECH was Gabriel Eze of Rural Farmers Hub in Nigeria. Gabriel’s company provides agricultural services with a core product, called Capture™.
The Mature-And-Growth Stage category was won by Mahmud Johnson of J Palm in Liberia. Mahmud’s company has created innovative labour-saving technology for Liberia’s smallholder farmers, helping them to produce wild palm oil more profitably and efficiently, while not contributing to deforestation or animal habitat destruction. Gladys Amiandamhen of Farmcrowdy Limited in Nigeria was the runner up in this category. Farmcrowdy has developed a technology ecosystem called Farmgate with various innovative software products, to help farmers maximize their output and increase their profits.
Ore Alemede of GrowAgric in Kenya won the Women led agribusiness category. Ore’s company provides a full technology end-to-end solution that optimizes the entire agriculture value chain, providing small and medium-scale farmers with training, marketing linkages and accessible working capital. The runner-up was Nomaliso Musasiwa of Fresh In A box in Zimbabwe. Nomaliso’s company offers an innovative e-commerce platform that connects smallholder and urban farmers of fresh local produce.
In a fourth, invitation-only category, known as the AYuTe Africa Challenge, US$1.5 million in grants were awarded to two youth-led agritech businesses that are increasing access to emerging technologies for smallholder farmers across Africa to grow their businesses and incomes.
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, founder and CEO of ColdHubs, a Nigerian business that provides solar-powered, walk-in coolers for smallholder vegetable farmers and Jehiel Oliver, founder and CEO of Hello Tractor, a Kenyan company that has become known across Africa as the “Uber of tractors,” were selected today as the winners of the inaugural US$1.5 million Heifer International AYuTe Africa Challenge.
The Pitch AgriHack 2021 winners will receive continued support as they develop and grow their enterprises. Nearly 600 business owners from 37 African countries applied to the competition. Countries represented at the finals at the AGRF Summit were Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
“Pitch AgriHack and the AYuTe Africa Challenge support youth-led technological innovation in the agriculture sector. We believe that the agricultural sector has the potential to provide future jobs for Africa’s growing youth population, while advancing the continent’s food security agenda,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President for Africa Programs at Heifer International.
“Generation Africa is proud to be the host of Pitch AgriHack 2021. Competitions like this, and the entrepreneurial communities that are shaped around them, give young agripreneurs access to the tools and expertise they need to make their businesses successful,” said Head of Generation Africa, Dickson Naftali.