The African Development Bank will host an online seminar to encourage African young entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector – or “agripreneurs” – to enter the Bank’s AgriPitch competition. AgriPitch is a platform where the continent’s top agripreneurs vie for a share of $140,000 in seed funding prizes, a slot in the competition’s business development boot camp, as well as receive mentoring and training.
The webinar, scheduled for Monday, 17 October at 11 am UTC, will present the AgriPitch 2022 competition, designed to instill a culture of innovation and nurturing for technology-led agribusiness innovations, to create jobs, and improve youth livelihoods. Bank representatives will explain the application process, take questions from prospective applicants, and will introduce AgriPitch 2022 competition partners, including women-founded and led enterprise support advisory firm Private Equity Support; the Private Financing Advisory Network, a global network of climate and clean energy financing experts; and EldoHub, an education, innovation, and technology organization targeting youth and women.
AgriPitch 2022 operates under the theme, The Role of African Youth within African Food Systems.
“With the increased effects of climate change and the resultant impact on food systems within the continent, this competition serves to showcase timely and scalable youth-led opportunities,” noted Edson Mpyisi, the Bank’s Chief Financial Economist and Enable Youth Coordinator.
The AgriPitch Competition aims to support African agripreneurs by improving their business bankability and ensuring that they are “pitch ready” for potential investors. The 2022 edition of AgriPitch will help competitors identify innovative solutions and develop ideas that contribute to strengthening Africa’s food systems, mitigating the effects of gender marginalization, and enhancing sustainable nutrition across the continent. Held annually, the AgriPitch competition is a key activity of the Bank’s Enable Youth Program and also provides technical capacity-building skills as well as facilitates youth access to financing.
“In response to the youth challenges facing the continent, the Bank developed its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy to create 25 million jobs for young Africans and equip 50 million youth with relevant skills by 2025. The Strategy aims to increase inclusive employment and entrepreneurship, strengthen human capital, and create durable labor market linkages – we’re proud to host the AgriPitch competition that contributes to the Strategy’s goals,” said Martin Fregene, the Bank’s Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry.
This year, AgriPitch will provide coaching and mentorship in an interactive and tailored virtual two-week Bootcamp to applicants who advance in the competition.
“The Bank believes that entrepreneurship is a pathway to a secure job and viable socio-economic growth that is inclusive and promotes sustainable development. Therefore, Africa’s emerging vibrant wave of entrepreneurs must be supported and nurtured for the continent’s prosperity,” said Damian Ihedioha, the Bank’s Division Manager for Agri-business.
AgriPitch 2022 semifinalists will also pitch their business plans to potential investors in the AgriPitch deal room, be eligible for one-on-one mentorship, and have access to post-competition digital expertise.
The AgriPitch competition is open to African youth aged between 18 to 35 years who work within the agriculture value chain. AgriPitch 2022 offers three competition categories: Early Start-ups (0-3 years of operation), Mature Start-ups (3 or more years in operation), and Women-Empowered Businesses (firms with at least 51% share of women ownership or founded by a woman).