After two unsuccessful attempts in the African Development Bank’s Agripitch Competition, Elizabeth Gekebe, the founder of Mhogo Foods has finally won Kshs. 2.2 million ($20,000) seed capital as the competition came to a close.
Gekebe’s firm was the only woman enterprise from Kenya to advance to the final under the Women Empowered Business category.
Gikebe says she entered Mhogo Foods, a company which adds value to cassava production by processing the tubers into gluten-free flour, cassava snacks and animal feeds.
“With a lot of persistence, you can get what you are looking for. It showed me that everything has its time,” said Gikebe.
Nigeria’s Femu Aiki won $40,000 under Mature Start-ups category with his farm Foodlocker which provide various technologies to farmers.
The early start-up category saw Nigeria’s Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf win $20,000 in seed capital.
They include Mhogo Foods, Bee Happy Enterprise Limited, Herdy Limited, Lentera Limited, Stawi Limited and Solar Freeze.
“Through the AgriPitch competition, the Bank is committed aGto supporting youth who are ambitious, creative, technology-savvy, and who have an entrepreneurial spirit to establish profitable small and medium-sized enterprises for a prosperous and inclusive Africa,” said Edson Mpyisi, AfDB Coordinator for Enable Youth Program.
The AgriPitch competition offered young entrepreneurs in Africa’s agricultural sector the opportunity to pitch their agribusiness proposals to a panel of experts and investors who selected winners in “early start-up,” “mature start-up” and “women-empowered businesses” categories.
The $120,000 AgriPitch competition received more than 2,500 applications and 605 proposals from 30 countries shortlisted down to 25 finalists from 12 countries.
The finalists qualified for a two-week business development boot camp, and then a select top 9 AgriPitch competitors made their final pitches to an online panel of judges and investors.
In addition to receiving seed funding prizes and post-competition mentoring, AgriPitch winners will be invited to the AYAF online DealRoom, which connects expansion-ready, youth-led African businesses with global investors.