By Precious John
The US$100,000 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition 2020 launched on April 14, 2020 amidst the coronavirus pandemic to give hope and support to the agripreneurs on the African continent. Bringing on board influential co-founders, members and ambassadors, the 2020 competition aims to grow the pan-African GoGettaz entrepreneurial community and pave the way for new businesses embracing technology and innovation in the agrifood and agritech sectors.
The US$100,000 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition 2020 is back for its second year. The competition aims to inspire young people throughout the African continent to launch and grow innovative or technology-driven businesses in the agrifood sector, from “seed to fork” and beyond.
The 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition will acknowledge two innovative ventures, one led by a man and one led by a woman who founded or co-founded businesses in the agrifood sector in Africa. The winners each awarded a grand prize of US$50,000 along with an industry-leading support network to take their businesses to the next level.
The competition launches as the coronavirus pandemic is having a severely negative impact on health, well-being, and livelihoods of billions of people throughout Africa and the world. While the ultimate costs of this crisis are unknown, tremendous effort and innovation is needed to keep agribusiness going and ensure the health crisis does not translate into also a severe food crisis. Leadership and coordinated action are required at global, national, and local levels to find solutions for agrifood systems that are responsive to, and supportive of, health measures. Africa’s youth agripreneurs have a huge role to play.
“We have decided to go ahead with the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition. Not despite the coronavirus, but because of it,” says President and CEO of Yara International, Svein Tore Holsether. “Now, more than ever, we need to support African agrifood entrepreneurs and the small and medium agribusinesses on the continent. They are the people who produce food and get it to the people who need it. They will be the people who help to rebuild our economies after the pandemic is over.”
In 2019 pan-African telecommunication, technology and renewable energy group Econet together with global crop nutrition leader Yara, co-catalysed Generation Africa and the inaugural US$100,000 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize which was awarded in September at the annual Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit in Accra, Ghana.
The success of the 2019 campaign attracted industry leaders in the global and African agriculture sectors. In 2020 the Generation Africa initiative adds four inspirational co-founders to their ranks. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) strives to grow agriculture on the continent to feed Africa and the world. Corteva Agriscience harnesses cutting edge science to build flourishing farms. The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) represents the common interest of regional farmers. The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture links small-holder farmers to agri-services, insurance and quality seeds.
“Agrifood is more than an essential business in this global pandemic, it is urgent for survival,” said Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, Strive Masiyiwa. “Our African agribusinesses must stay strong and innovate to meet growing food needs locally, across the whole value chain. With forex income impacted by COVID-19, our nations can no longer rely on imports to feed our people. Now is the time for Africa’s entrepreneurs to see and seize new opportunities.”
Generation Africa aims to inspire and nurture young entrepreneurs in Africa’s agrifood sector, from sapling businesses to companies that have already taken root firmly. On top of this, it will provide the framework to build a support ecosystem that connects these agripreneurs with the tools, knowledge, mentors and investors they need to grow from ideas or start-ups to full-scale businesses. This network will allow them to spot fertile new opportunities or be forewarned about continental developments that could necessitate business pivots.
Launched on April 14, 2020, the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition is open to young, agrifood entrepreneurs, aged 18 – 35 from across Africa. Applications can be submitted to the competition via http://gogettaz.africa. 10 Finalists will be invited to compete in a live or virtual (online) pitching contest at the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit between September 8-11 , 2020. The two GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize winners will receive their US$50,000 awards alongside the prestigious Africa Food Prize. All 10 finalists will be awarded mentorship, programming linkages and other guidance to continue their entrepreneurial journey.