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Vijana na AgriBiz top prizes up for grabs by 10 agribusiness innovations

Ten agribusiness innovations are set to compete for the Vijana na AgriBiz top three prizes after pitching their ideas and impressing the Vijana na AgriBiz panel of judges during the competition’s semi-finals round. The Vijana na AgriBiz judges-Wilson Karimi, Rebecca Amukhoye and Monicah Kotut- unanimously agreed that the pitches presented were great innovations within the agribusiness space. 

“We have had an opportunity to listen to very innovative ideas from young entrepreneurs who are creative within the different aspects of agribusiness and I look forward to seeing their growth and working with some of them as well,” said the lead judge Rebecca Amukhoye.

During the virtual ceremony hosted by Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) with the support of KCIC Consulting Limited (KCL), 20 agribusiness innovations were each given a chance to pitch their ideas and present their innovations to the panel of judges as well as answer follow up questions to help expound their ideas to the audience. The participants were selected from an application pool of more than 300 participants and were taken through a four-day intensive bootcamp and received guided training on how to pitch their innovations during the semi-finals. 

KCIC rolled out the call for applications for the Vijana na AgriBiz competition in 2020, intending to identify viable-high growth innovative agribusiness ideas among the youth aged 18-35. Through this competition, KCIC is keen on supporting these agri-prenuers to establish sustainable businesses through capacity building, mentorship, linkages to market and financing.

“Through these platforms and competitions such as Vijana na AgriBiz, we are looking to build youth-led agribusiness innovations and support these agri-prenuers establish sustainable agriculture and food security within the country,” said Dr. Edward Mungai, CEO KCIC Group.

Below are the top 10 agribusiness innovations that could stand out and qualify for the Vijana na AgriBiz final competitions round which will be held on May 31st 2021.

  1.     Agri Hub Soko- The innovation is a mobile app that helps source and aggregate potatoes from smallholder farmers registered on the platform. The app will help farmers market their products and allow the farmers to share the transportation costs.
  2.     Freshfarm-The startup uses an e-commerce platform to connect smallholder farmers and consumers. The innovation looks forward to bridging the gap between sellers and buyers to increase profit margins.
  3.     Automated Greenhouse- The start up’s business idea is to construct an automated greenhouse controlled using an application or USSD code to minimise the human workforce.
  4.     Afri Agrimark- This is an app and USSD integrated agricultural marketplace that brings all agricultural vendors into one market. The idea is to improve the agricultural food chain and enable farmers, suppliers and transporters to get everything on one large virtual platform.
  5.     Call-Main Hatchery- The startup sells solar-powered digital egg incubators. Their primary target market is low income and marginalised communities.
  6.     Closed-Loop Agricultural System- The agribusiness idea looks forward to having a closed-loop agricultural system that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. The closed-loop agricultural system aims to promote climate resilience and sustainability. 
  7.     Mkulima na Website- The idea is that of a financing model that makes it easy for farmers to own personal e-commerce websites to sell their produce.
  8.     Entobin- The venture is an innovative black soldier fly portable self-harvesting bin that converts organic waste into protein-rich animal feed and organic fertilisers from kitchen food waste.
  9.     Crop Scanning Application Technology- The technology uses artificial intelligence to detect pests and diseases. The technology also advises farmers on the best farming practices.
  10. Domestic cooking fuel- The business processes excess sugarcane, banana and orange peels into cooking fuel. The fuel can also be used as a mosquito repellant.

“Today, we have been able to see great business ideas from the pitches presented today by the 20 innovators. They have done an amazing job based on our judging criteria in terms of the business market potential, job and social impact potential of the business, the innovation technology potential, team strength, quality of the pitch, and compliance with the competitions format,” said  judge Wilson Karimi.

The ten finalists are moving to the next stage to compete for the top three awards, Ksh. 1,000,000 for the first prize, Ksh. 750,000 for the second prize and Ksh. 500,000 for the third prize. Through these awards, the innovations can scale up their ideas, boost their innovations, and promote sustainable agriculture and food security in Kenya.  

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