The two winners of the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize were announced last Friday at the Africa Green Revolution Forum Virtual Summit in Rwanda: Moses Katala co-founder and CEO of Magofarm Limited (Tanzania) and Daniella Kwayu co-founder and CEO of Phema Agri (Tanzania). Each winner will receive US$50,000 to support and expand their agribusiness operations. Part of the Generation Africa youth initiative, the aim of this prize is to identify and inspire young people across Africa to seize the opportunities across the value chain of the $1Tn agrifood industry on the continent in the decades ahead.
Four entrepreneurs were also named to receive a $2,500 Impact Award: Elizabeth Gikebe, founder and CEO of Mhogo Foods (Kenya), Millicent Agidipo, co-founder and production manager of Achiever Foods (Ghana), Dysmus Kisulu, co-founder and CEO of Solar Freeze (Kenya) and Paul Matovu, founder and CEO of Vertical Farm and Micro-Gardening (Uganda). These entrepreneurs were selected by the judges for the notable environmental or social impact of their businesses, each striving to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and benefit their communities. All 12 top finalists will receive mentorship, program linkages and other guidance to continue their entrepreneurial journeys.
The second annual 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize competition began in April and closed in June of this year. Over 3,000 applicants between the ages of 18 and 35, from 29 African countries, registered to compete. Although their diverse ventures spanned the entire agrifood value chain from primary production to innovative digital technologies, all six young men and six young women entrepreneurs from nine African countries who made it to the Top-12 shared at least one thing in common: they saw problems and made bold plans to solve them by launching new companies in the agrifood sector across Africa.
Top-12 finalist ventures and entrepreneurs this year hail from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
At the finale pitch competition earlier this week, each finalist presented a live online three-minute pitch to eight judges who then had two minutes to ask questions. Here’s a link to view the pitch competition which was broadcast globally at the AGRF Summit and on social media on 8 September 2020.1
This year the eight judges (see below) evaluated both the business founder and the venture based on five criteria:
- Business Model
- Social & Environmental Impact
- Market Potential and Traction
- Management Team.
To make it through to the Top-12, each finalist first had to submit a comprehensive online application by the June deadline. The Top-24 selected to be semi-finalists then had to produce their own pitch videos and participate in 30-minute online interviews with a panel of judges.
“Throughout all the COVID challenges of 2020, the GoGettaz agripreneurs remained focused and driven, caring not only for their businesses and employees but their countries and fellow citizens as well. In the face of the global crisis, they adapted their business models to new demands and challenges,” said Dickson Naftali, Head of the Generation Africa initiative based in Nairobi. “Our Top 12 young finalists this year are already driving forces for growth and transformation in their own communities. Their agribusinesses are each so different, but they are all steering Africa to become a continental superpower in agriculture”.
2020 GOGETTAZ US$50,000 AGRIPRENEUR PRIZE WINNERS
Daniella Kwayu, co-founder and CEO of Phema Agri in Tanzania. Phema Agri is a digital agriculture platform connecting investors looking to grow their money with smallholder farmers looking for working capital solutions. Via their crowdfunding platform, Phema Agri matches de-risked, vetted, trained and market-linked farmers looking for investors. In return, farmers share their profits with their investors. The platform is a B2B2C business model linked directly to bank payments and mobile network operators for ease of transactions.
“The Agricultural financing gap in Africa is US $150 billion as of 2019,” stated Daniella in her online application. “There aren’t any direct competitors for an agriculture crowdfunding platform in Tanzania. We are the first market entries in this sub-sector. investments in Agriculture. Our key unique differentiator is our ability to apply technology to provide safely structured market curated investment in a convenient way.”
Phema Agri aims to achieve its goal of financing 1m farmers and controlling 5 value chains in the East African market. They are currently operating in 2 value chains (pig and poultry value chains) with the aim of adding other value chains (maize, potatoes, wheat) and training more farmers in these value chains. The financial support from the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize will be utilized to secure market contracts and market analysis to structure and connect more farmers to markets.
Moses Katala, co-founder and CEO of Magofarm Limited in Rwanda. Magofarm Limited aims to solve the problem of rising costs of animal feeds and the increasing demand for sustainable, eco-friendly and nutrient rich protein ingredients. According to the UN Food and Agriculture organization (FAO), commercial poultry farmers in Africa have experienced a 20% increase in the price of animal feeds containing soybeans and fishmeal as protein ingredients. The current protein ingredients in the market are not only expensive to produce, but their production cycles can have a strong negative impact on the environment, noted Katala in his Stage 1 application.
“We are also on a mission to reduce food losses in the developing world,” Katala said. “Food losses represent a waste of resources in terms of land, energy, water and inputs, and leads to unnecessary CO2 emissions. According to the FAO, if food wastage were a country, it would be the third largest CO2 emitting country in the world after China and the USA. The world urgently needs a sustainable solution to tackle food waste. The yearly cost of global food waste is estimated to be $990 billion”.
“By breeding black soldier fly larvae, Magofarm acquires tremendous waste reduction capabilities. For every 1 tonne of black soldier fly larvae we breed, we contribute to upcycling 3 tons of food waste from the environment, which we use as a raw material. For each ton of fishmeal or soymeal replaced by our insect-derived protein (magomeal), an environmental saving of between $2,500 and $3,200 per ton is achieved in the form of avoided fossil fuel consumption, land usage and carbon emission”.
$2,500 – IMPACT AWARD WINNERS
Elizabeth Gikebe, co-founder and CEO, Mhogo Foods Ltd in Kenya: Mhogo Foods is a socially conscious cassava processor making gluten-free flour, crisps, starch and animal feeds while also training and supporting women smallholder farmers.
Millicent Agidipo, co-founder and CEO of Achiever Foods Limited in Ghana: Achiever Foods is on a mission to save lives through indigenous and organically grown Turkey Berries that help promote blood health and a strong immune system, especially amongst pregnant women.
Paul Matovu of Vertical and Micro Gardening (VMG) in Uganda: VMG builds autonomous farm towers to make urban farming a viable micro-enterprise for low- and middle-income households.
Other top-12 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize finalists:
Fadja Dijou Barry
GOGETTAZ AGRIPRENEUR PRIZE TOP-12 JUDGING PANEL
Founder & Chief Happiness Officer, bluMoon
Generation Africa Ambassador
Founder & CEO, Agrolay Ventures Nigeria
Generation Africa Ambassador
CEO, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions
Generation Africa Ambassador
Ellen Cathrine Rasmussen
EVP for Scalable Enterprises, Norfund
Chief Financial Economist & Coordinator of ENABLE Youth Program, African Development Bank
Managing Director for Africa, Convergence Finance
Co-founder/President, Visiola Foundation
Lead Agriculture Sector, Mastercard Foundation
Group CEO, Delta Philanthropies, Zimbabwe