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Kenya’s Mhogo Foods and Two Nigerian Start-Ups Bag AfDB AgriPitch Competition

Two Nigerian agritech startups, Releaf and Foodlocker, along with Kenya’s Mhogo Foods have emerged winners at the finals of the $120,000 African Development Bank (AfDB) AgriPitch Competition.

After two unsuccessful attempts in the African Development Bank’s Agripitch Competition, Elizabeth Gekebe, the founder of Mhogo Foods has finally won Kshs. 2.2 million ($20,000) seed capital as the competition came to a close.

AgriPitch organisers had received over 2,500 applications and evaluated 605 proposals from 30 African countries. 25 finalists from across 12 countries were eventually shortlisted for the prize. After qualifying for a two-week business development boot camp, the top 9 startups selected pitched their solutions to a panel of judges and investors at a virtual event.

Femi Aiki’s Foodlocker won the $40,000 prize for mature startups while Ikenna Nzewi’s Releaf was awarded $20,000 as the winner of the early startup category. Among the women-empowered businesses, Elizabeth Gikebe’s Mhogo Foods received $20,000 in funding.

The early start-up category saw Nigeria’s Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf win $20,000 in seed capital.

Six Kenyan start-ups made it to the final list of 25 which was announced by the bank two weeks ago.

They include Mhogo Foods, Bee Happy Enterprise Limited, Herdy Limited, Lentera Limited,  Stawi Limited and Solar Freeze.

“Through the AgriPitch competition, the Bank is committed aGto supporting youth who are ambitious, creative, technology-savvy, and who have an entrepreneurial spirit to establish profitable small and medium-sized enterprises for a prosperous and inclusive Africa,” said Edson Mpyisi, AfDB Coordinator for Enable Youth Program.

The AgriPitch competition offered young entrepreneurs in Africa’s agricultural sector the opportunity to pitch their agribusiness proposals to a panel of experts and investors who selected winners in “early start-up,” “mature start-up” and “women-empowered businesses” categories.

The $120,000 AgriPitch competition received more than 2,500 applications and 605 proposals from 30 countries shortlisted down to 25 finalists from 12 countries.

The finalists qualified for a two-week business development boot camp, and then a select top 9 AgriPitch competitors made their final pitches to an online panel of judges and investors.

In addition to receiving seed funding prizes and post-competition mentoring, AgriPitch winners will be invited to the AYAF online DealRoom, which connects expansion-ready, youth-led African businesses with global investors.