By George Munene
The AYuTe Kenya Challenge has set up a Sh1.75 million cash grant to upscale innovative agri-tech startups that respond to the needs of smallholder farmers across the agri-value chain.
The challenge which runs from June to December 2022 is an initiative of Heifer Kenya and E4Impact Foundation.
The winner will receive Sh1 million funding, the first and second runners-up will get Sh500,000 and Sh250,000 respectively.
The top 15 finalists will be housed in a three-month customized incubation program.
They will also get links to financial and investment opportunities; networking opportunities to showcase their solution and meet with investors and other stakeholders; customized training boot camps at the various levels of the challenge; technical assistance to strengthen the minimum viable product and the business and financial model of the start-up; coaching and mentorship.
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AYuTe supports young Africans who are using technology to reimagine farming and food production by offering prize money (US$1.5 million so far) and mentorship. This helps translate their energy and ideas into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the continent.
The start-up needs to be focused on improving the incomes of small-scale farmers by solving issues across the following levels of the agriculture value chain; production, aggregation, post-harvest losses, value addition, marketplace, financing, etc.
The business should be registered in Kenya and at its early stages (fewer than three years old) and has a strong potential to scale.
Previous AYuTe Africa winners include ColdHubs; a Nigerian start-up that helps smallholder farmers access affordable and sustainable ways to keep their produce fresh and cool. The business founded by Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu has upscaled to dozens of compact, walk-in, solar-powered coolers at rural produce markets in central Nigeria.
Another, Hello Tractor, founded by Jehiel Oliver, harnesses the power of technology to enable African farmers in 13 countries to access the machinery needed to boost productivity and sustain their livelihoods.
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Priority will be given to start-ups with a minimum viable product and no prior experience in an enterprise support program (incubation or acceleration programs etc.)
The 1st stage of the challenge will run between July to mid-August 2022 to identify the top 80 Agri-tech innovators. The 2nd stage will be in August 2022 to identify the top 30 Agri-tech innovators. The 3rd stage from August to September 2022 will help to identify the top 15 Agri-tech innovators. The top 3 enterprises will be awarded cash prizes at an awards ceremony.
The application date closes on July 14, 2022
Apply here: AYuTe Kenya Challenge