Generation Africa Awards US$116,000 to Winners in the 2023 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition hosted at Africa Food Systems Summit in Tanzania. The Africa Food Systems Forum Summit 2023 (https://apo-opa.info/3sVizMP) hosted the fifth annual GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition Finals, where two inspirational agripreneurs took top honors. Generation Africa presented two major awards of $50,000 to Ms. Hasina Andriatsitohaina, the founder and CEO of Mad’Arom in Madagascar, and Mr. Ikenna Nzewi, the co-founder and CEO of Releaf Africa in Nigeria, during an exciting Youth Town Hall event presided over by H.E. President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania.
At the Youth Innovation Awards Celebration’s conclusion the next day, four GoGettaz Impact Award winners were also revealed. A US$2,500 award was given to each Impact Award recipient. The Generation Africa partner USAID gave an additional US$1,000 to each of the remaining six finalists in recognition of the outstanding contributions made by the twelve GoGettaz young entrepreneurs who traveled to Tanzania to participate in the live pitch competition from all over the continent. All of the Gogettaz winners were praised for their unique new ventures they have individually started in Africa’s agrifood industry as well as their entrepreneurial vision, thorough preparation, and skillfully crafted on-stage pitches.
“Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation” is the theme of this year’s conference. These GoGettaz have shown that they are Africa’s solutions to everyone at the Summit, proving that they are not just some distant hope, according to Dr. Agnes Kalibata, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). I sincerely hope the investors were paying attention, as I can clearly see how some of these firms have the potential to have a significant positive impact on millions of people’s lives around the continent in the upcoming 10 years.
Hasina Andriatsitohaina of Madagascar, a food technology expert engineer with backgrounds in agricultural and environmental sciences, won this year’s top honor in the female-led category. Hasina’s business, Mad’Arom, promotes the agroforestry system with about 2,000 farmers in rural areas of Madagascar, collects the products, transforms them into essential oils, and then wholesales them to the food, cosmetics, and fragrance industries on the domestic and international markets. The agroforestry system in Madagascar not only protects and restores the soil and biodiversity, but it also provides small-scale farmers with year-round income. Processing spices after harvest is a significant endeavor that provides employment opportunities for women and young people in rural areas.
Due to these initiatives, small-scale farmers are better equipped to withstand natural calamities like the cyclones that often hit Madagascar’s eastern region.
Ikenna Nzewi, a computer scientist with Releaf Africa in Nigeria, won the top prize in the category for men. Its value offer is to increase efficiency, which it does by using both software and hardware solutions to reduce the cost of food. Nzewi, who was born and raised in the United States and returned to Nigeria six years ago, uses geospatial tools to locate productive farms and a mobile application to buy oil palm fruit from rural small-holders.
The most cutting-edge palm nut de-sheller in the world, called “Kraken,” was created by Releaf to process palm nuts sustainably and with consideration for the environment. Releaf has worked with 5,600 farmers so far, with an 86% retention rate, and has given them an extra $500,000 while doing away with child labor, giving them access to finance, and enhancing traceability with artificial intelligence. In the following five years, Releaf intends to hire 20,000 more farmers.
Strive Masiyiwa, Chair Emeritus of AGRA and a founding member of Generation Africa, praised the inventiveness of all the young businesspeople present at this year’s AGRF Summit: “The youthful agripreneurs on our continent are proof of Africa’s inventive vision in action. I congratulate each and every one of our African-born entrepreneurs. Whether they were awarded a trophy on stage or not, the young men and women who participated in the live pitch events at the AGRF Summit this year are all winners for our continent. These incredible young individuals, the majority of whom developed cutting-edge technological solutions to address issues with the food system and the environment while establishing new businesses and jobs, must continue to be honored and supported. Agripreneurs from Generation Africa are driving the transformational change necessary for Africa’s agrifood sector.
The Africa Food Systems Forum’s managing director, Amath Pathe Sene, emphasized the importance of supporting youth-led businesses at the AGRF Summit, saying, “We bring together policymakers and industry leaders so conversations can evolve into meaningful solutions. The future of the food system will be shaped by youth-led companies like these remarkable GoGettaz finalists, so they must be included in the discussion.
Winners of the GoGettaz Social and Environmental Impact Awards
CassVita’s founder in Cameroon, Pelkins Ajanoh, a biotechnology entrepreneur, won over the judges with his innovative method for extending cassava’s shelf life from three days to 18 months. Specialist in community development In order to help farmers more effectively pollinate their fields, Margaret Wanjiku, the founder of Pollen Patrollers in Kenya, designed an IoT smart device to track beehive metrics that are analyzed by AI to produce actionable insights and precision pollination maps. Electrical engineer Martin Dainbaquee, founder of Eco-friendly Incubator Company and a native of Sierra Leone, created an innovative, high-capacity solar-powered incubator as well as its own breeds of chickens and premium feed to address a variety of needs in the egg and poultry industries, including an over-reliance on imports from other countries.
This year’s Impact Award winner Crescentia Mushobozi of Tanzania Vijana Agribusiness Enterprises (VIABLE), a biotechnology specialist with experience in plant tissue culture, was the youngest finalist. In order to address malnutrition and food poverty, her business created a superior potato strain using the continent’s largest gene pool. In the process, VIABLE “makes agriculture fun” by involving thousands of Tanzanian youth.
At Friday’s Youth Innovation Awards presentation, GoGettaz Impact Award recipients were recognized alongside those of the agritech-focused Pitch AgriHack Awards and the AYute Africa Challenge, both supported by the Heifer Foundation.
Svein Tore Holsether, a founding member of Generation Africa and the president and chief executive officer of Yara International, emphasized the necessity of youth involvement in the transformation of food systems and the crucial function of young entrepreneurs, saying, “In the face of mounting food security challenges, it is imperative to revolutionize our food systems. Young businesspeople are carrying the sustainable solutions banner. We are honored to assist them in their efforts to reshape the food industry.
The twelve finalists for the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize came from all around Africa to present their companies live on stage to the GoGettaz Judges. The Grand Finale Pitch competition featured renowned worldwide choreographer Sherrie Silver from Rwanda for the fifth consecutive year. She wowed the audience on stage with young dancers from Tanzania and all over Africa.
Silver, an IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth, oversaw the week’s events as Generation Africa’s Master of Ceremonies.
The twelve finalists also received two days of in-person pitch training at the Summit in addition to online coaching. The youth-led firms had the chance to network further through organized participation in the AGRF Agribusiness Deal Room as well as additional networking events.
The GoGettaz agripreneurs create an inspiring example for young people to follow, according to Dickson Naftali, Head of Generation Africa: “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 reality is that we require an African food system that is led and owned by Africans. And we want to spread this message to as many young Africans as we can.
Nearly 7 million people were exposed to the 2023 GoGettaz campaign, and 500,000 of them visited the Generation Africa website and the GoGettaz community platform. 43 African nations submitted complete applications for the fifth GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition, and 9 of those nations were represented in the Top 12. The number of female applicants this year has increased, according to application data. This is a highly positive development in a field that is thought to be controlled by men, despite the fact that small-scale female farmers in Africa produce the majority of the continent’s food.
The Africa Food Systems Summit is conclusion also marks the end of the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition for the current calendar year. Applications for 2024 will reopen in April or May of the following year. The world-class partners and sponsors of Generation Africa are honored by the remarkable creativity, commitment, and leadership shown by each young entrepreneur who took part in this year’s process. Mentorship programs like the Generation Africa Fellowship Program and the crucial task of reforming national policy for improved support of youth and women in agriculture will come into focus for the remainder of 2023. At the Summit this week, the brand-new Generation Africa Online Academy was also unveiled in a fascinating collaboration with Microsoft, which created the platform.
2023 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Judges
- Marisa Soares – Senior Vice President Innovation & Impact – Yara International
- Dr. Kelley Cormier – Food Safety Division Chief – USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security
- Jean Muthamia-Mwenda – Global Lead, Youth Employment & Entrepreneurship – SNV Netherlands
- Mildred Nadah Pita – Head Public Affairs Science & Sustainability Africa – Bayer AG
- Agnes Asiimwe Konde – Vice President – PID – AGRA
- Jubilate Lema – Senior Investment Analyst – Africa Opportunity Fund
- William Nyaoke – Regional Director East-Africa – Norfund
- Paul Newnham – Director – SDG 2 Advocacy Hub
- Wambui Chege – Director, Agriculture, PANA – The Mastercard Foundation
- Generation Africa Co-Founders:
- African Development Bank Group: https://www.AfDB.org/
- Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa: https://AGRA.org/
- The AGRF (Africa Food Systems Forum): https://AGRF.org/
- Bayer: https://www.Bayer.com/en/agriculture
- Corteva Agriscience: https://www.Corteva.com/
- Econet Group: https://www.EconetAfrica.com/
- Heifer International: https://www.Heifer.org/
- Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation: https://www.norad.no/
- Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions: http://www.SACAU.org/
- Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture: https://www.SyngentaFoundation.org/
- U.S. Agency for International Development: https://www.USAID.gov/
- Yara International: https://www.Yara.com/
Full List of the 2023 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Top 12: Female Agripreneurs
- Jannifer Muthike, Dudu Masters Limited, Kenya,
- Patience Ben, Farmavi Agro, Nigeria
- Hasina Andriatsitohaina, Mad’Arom, Madagascar
- Patrice Wachira, Patvention Recycling Enterprise, Kenya
- Margaret Wanjiku, Pollen Patrollers, Kenya
- Crescentia Mushobozi, Tanzania Vijana Agribusiness Enterprises, Tanzania
- Pelkins Ajanoh, CassVita, Cameroon
- Tafadzwa Ron Chikwereti, eAgro, Zimbabwe
- Martin Dainbaquee, Eco-friendly Incubator Company, Sierra Leone
- Imani Bora, Hatch Plus, Rwanda
- Ikenna Nzewi, Releaf Africa, Nigeria
- Yohan Gallet, Sealife Organics, Mauritius