Two visionary agripreneurs clinched top honours in the fifth annual GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition Finals held at the Africa Food Systems Forum Summit 2023. During an exciting Youth Town Hall event attended by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Generation Africa awarded two grand prizes of $50,000 to Hasina Andriatsitohaina, Founder and Manager of Mad’Arom in Madagascar, and Ikenna Nzewi, Co-Founder and CEO of Releaf Africa in Nigeria.
Four more inspirational Impact Award Winners were announced at a separate youth celebration on the final day of the summit, receiving a US$2,500 prize each. Recognising the extraordinary contributions of all the GoGettaz Finalists, Generation Africa partner USAID dedicated a further US$1,000 each to the remaining finalists. The Gogettaz winners were lauded for their diligent preparation, expertly crafted on-stage presentations, and transformative businesses that embody the best ideals of the summit.
“This year’s summit theme is ‘Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation.’ Far from being a distant hope, these GoGettaz have demonstrated to everyone at the summit that they are Africa’s Solutions,” said Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA. “I hope the investors were paying attention, because I can clearly see how some of these businesses have the potential to impact millions of lives across the continent in the next decade.”
Amath Pathe Sene, Managing Director of the Africa Food Systems Forum, underscored the significance of amplifying youth-led businesses at the AGRF Summit, “We bring together policymakers and industry leaders, so conversations can evolve into actionable solutions. Youth-led business like these impressive Gogettaz finalists belong in the conversation, because their innovative ideas are pivotal to shaping the future food system.”
Innovative ideas are exactly what propelled the two grand prize winners to victory in the Gogettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition. Among the women-led businesses, grand prize winner Hasina Andriatsitohaina from Mad’Arom came out top. Their team in Madagascar produces essential oils and aggregates spices for wholesale for local and international markets. By encouraging diversified agroforestry among their 2000 small-scale growers, Mad’Arom boosts their resilience and helps them achieve a year-round income. This agronomic approach also yields the highest quality produce.
The second grand prize went to Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf Africa. Their value-proposition is lowering food costs through efficiency, which they achieve with both software and hardware solutions, ensured victory among the male-led businesses. Their multi-pronged approach features geospatial software to find viable farms and a mobile platform to purchase oil-palm fruit from rural small-holders. To process the palm nuts, Releaf constructed the world’s most advanced palm nut de-sheller, named Kraken.
Beyond the grand prizes, Generation Africa recognised four Impact Award Winners who each received a US$2,500 prize at the Youth Innovation Awards on the final day of the summit. Pelkins Ajanoh of CassVita in Cameroon impressed with a strong presentation and their proprietary process using microbes to drastically extend the shelf-life of cassava from 3 days to 18 months. Margaret Wanjiku of Pollen Patrollers in Kenya developed an IoT smart device to track beehive metrics that are analysed by AI to create actionable insights and precision pollination maps. Hailing from Sierra Leone, Martin Dainbaquee of Eco-friendly Incubator Company is reinventing the egg and poultry industry with high-capacity solar-powered incubators, their own chicken breeds, and quality feed. And Crescentia Mushobozi of Tanzania Vijana Agribusiness Enterprises is making an impact with a superior potato strain, engineered with Africa’s largest gene bank, to solve malnutrition and food insecurity.
These GoGettaz Impact Award winners were celebrated were alongside the agritech-focussed Pitch AgriHack Awards and the AYute Africa Challenge. The Youth Innovation Awards highlighted the diverse solutions from youth-led business who are on a quest for a better food system.
Generation Africa founding member, Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara International, emphasized the urgency of youth efforts in food systems transformation and the essential role of young entrepreneurs, stating, “In the face of mounting food security challenges, it is imperative to revolutionize our food systems. Young entrepreneurs are the torchbearers of sustainable solutions. We are proud to support their endeavours in reshaping the future of food.”
The twelve finalists in the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize travelled from all over Africa to present their businesses to the Gogettaz Judges. This year’s top contestants included the first finalists from the island nations of Madagascar and Mauritius. Along with online coaching and support to craft their presentations, finalists enjoyed in-person pitch training at the summit. Additional networking sessions and facilitated participation in the AGRF Agribusiness Deal Room gave the youth-led businesses a chance to connect with future partners, investors, and collaborators.
Generation Africa founding member, Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group and Cassava Technologies, expressed his admiration for the innovative spirit of young minds: “The energy and passion exhibited by these young agripreneurs are a testament to Africa’s potential. Their determination to build a healthier society through sustainable agribusiness resonates deeply with our shared vision.”
Echoing the sentiment, Dickson Naftali, Head of Generation Africa called on the youth to follow the example set by the Gogettaz agripreneurs, “If you want to make a real difference, to help people and build a healthier planet, the agrifood industry is where your energy will find purpose. The truth about our future is that we need an African food system that is African-owned and African-led. And we want to reach as many young Africans as we can with this message.”
The 2023 GoGettaz campaign reached almost 7 million people, bringing half-a-million visitors to the Generation Africa website and GoGettaz community platform. The fifth annual GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition received completed applications from 43 African countries, with 9 countries represented in the Top 12. Application data also shows an increase in female applicants this year. This is a very encouraging shift in an industry that is perceived as male dominated, while the reality of African food production is very much in the hands of women small-holder farmers.