The African Development Bank (AfDB) has listed 25 youth-led agriculture sector companies from 14 African countries that have advanced to the final round of the bank’s 2022 AgriPitch Competition.
In a statement issued on the website of the AfDB on Tuesday, the bank announced the 25 finalists for the competition.
According to the statement, the finalists will be awarded $140,000 in grants and business skills training.
It made the announcement in collaboration with the implementing lead Private Equity Support and partner organisations Eldohub and the Private Finance Advisory Network.
The 25 finalists include 17 women-owned or led small and medium enterprises.
Thirteen of them are from francophone countries, while the other 12 are from anglophone countries.
The competition targets African youths aged between 18 to 35 years working in the agricultural value chain.
Edson Mpyisi, the Chief Financial Economist and ENABLE Youth Coordinator, AfDB, said the youths showed potential and innovation that existed in Africa.
“These young agripreneurs show great potential and are a testament to the level of innovation that exists across Africa.
“The bank’s support, through the AgriPitch Competition, will boost the bankability of these projects and provide a tangible step toward enhancing agribusiness and food security on the continent,” Mr Mpyisi said.
Furthermore, Diana Gichaga, Managing Partner at Private Equity Support, said it was to evaluate potential from across the region.
“Its reassuring to see and evaluate hundreds of great potential investment opportunities from across the region.
“It reaffirms the crucial role that the agricultural sector plays in the African economy and the continued efforts to bring these initiatives to the fore through platforms such as the AgriPitch Competition,” Ms Gichaga said.
The competition received more than 1,000 applications from African “agripreneurs,” including about 250 entries from women-owned or led small and medium enterprises.
The 25 finalists would receive training to build business skills capacity with the requisite tools and knowledge to bolster their investor readiness, financial management, and help them pitch bankable business proposals.
The AgriPitch competition is a central and recurring activity of the AfDB’s ENABLE Youth Programme, sponsored by the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Trust Fund of the bank.
The 2022 edition is expected to award three start-up categories.
They are: Early start-ups (zero to three years of operation), and mature start-ups (three or more years in operation).
Also included are women-empowered businesses (firms with at least 51 per cent share of women ownership or founded by a woman).
The finalists are expected to pitch their business plans to potential investors in the AgriPitch deal room and be eligible for one-on-one mentorship, as well as access to post-competition digital expertise.