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Heifer International Launches Competition For Agritech Startup, Offers $20,000 Prize

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Heifer International’s AYuTe Africa Challenge today launched a new national competition, offering young entrepreneurs in Nigeria the opportunity to pitch for investment in their agritech solutions to boost the incomes and productivity of Africa’s smallholder farmers.

“This competition provides an opportunity for young innovators in Nigeria to secure the funding and visibility they need to scale up their agritech solutions to reach millions of farmers across Africa,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President of Africa Programs at Heifer International.

“There is huge potential for economic growth and employment in agriculture across Africa, but new ideas and technologies are urgently needed. It’s time for Africa’s tech-savvy youth to use their innovation skills to transform the sector.”

The national competition represents a new phase of Heifer International’s AYuTe Africa Challenge, established in 2021 to award cash grants annually to the most promising young agritech innovators from across Africa.

Like the Regional Champions competition, the AYuTe National Champions competition offers prize money and mentorship, helping translate the energy and ideas of young Nigerian agritech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country, and supporting winners to grow their businesses and profile.

The new AYuTe National Champions competition focuses on youth-operated local startups that have launched an agritech business in the last three years. Companies must also:

Be based in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda or Zambia
Have developed a tech solution to address smallholder farmer challenges with strong potential to scale.

The National competition in Nigeria has been initiated as an “enterprise development program to further identify, nurture and support innovative, relevant and technology-driven agriccentric enterprises to grow, scale and thrive”, Heifer’s Country Director, Rufus Idris made this remark at the official launch of the Challenge which held in Lagos on Wednesday, August 17, 2022.

“We are excited to announce and kick-start the AYuTe Africa Challenge Nigeria with a starting cash grant of $20,000 to the most promising young agritech innovator in Nigeria. This is in line with Heifer’s strategic goal of unleashing the hidden agricultural treasures among African youths.

“Through this challenge, we hope to further inspire the Nigerian youth population to continue to embrace agriculture as a career option of choice while promoting creative professionals that are using technology to re-imagine farming and food production across the country. The winner of this challenge will also be the Nigerian Champion (flag-bearer) for the 2022 AYuTe Africa Challenge”, Rufus said

The launch event also brought together stakeholders within the ecosystem including government representatives, tech hubs and agripreneurs, who are relevant to supporting the development and scale-up of innovative, commercially viable and sustainable agricultural technologies, capable of transforming Nigeria’s agricultural sector and her food security.

Speaking earlier at the launch event, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abiola Olusanya commended Heifer International for the great initiative of assisting to drive growth and development of Agriculture across Africa and particularly in Nigeria, by encouraging innovation and supporting programs geared towards accelerating agritech startups, youth-owned agribusinesses, and other business stakeholders along the agriculture value chain.

She expressed optimism that the initiative will serve as a catalyst for economic development in Nigeria and secure a greater future for the Nation.

The Challenge Competition, opened on Wednesday, August 17 for entry applications and will close by September 16, 2022. Interested participants are expected to register through the AYuTe Challenge portal.

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