Agri challenge to boost youth innovation launched

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Heifer International Kenya has officially launched the 2024 Agriculture, Youth, Technology (AYuTe) Africa Challenge, aiming to create opportunities for young entrepreneurs to transform agriculture, catalyse ground-up innovation from the youth, and make agriculture a desired career for the future.

Through AYuTe, youth-led agritech innovations in Kenya get the opportunity to pitch for investment in their businesses to boost the income and productivity of smallholder farmers.

The 2024 edition marks the third iteration of the AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya. The theme of the competition is “Reimagining the Future of African Agriculture,” a bold call to action for young innovators to acquire the skills and resources necessary to thrive in their businesses.

Since its inception in 2022, the AYuTe Africa Challenge in Kenya has registered over 400 applications. Over 230 youth-led agritech innovations have received coaching and mentorship, and more than 10 startups have been awarded cash prizes worth over $40,000 to implement aggressive business expansion strategies that impact smallholder farmers.

“This competition provides an opportunity for young innovators in Kenya to secure the funding and visibility they need to scale up their agritech solutions to reach millions of farmers across Kenya,” says William Matovu, Country Director of Heifer International Kenya.

He adds, “AYuTe is a very innovative vehicle that can identify agritech with transformative solutions that can change the face of the agricultural sector. We look forward to receiving applications, and even more so, to seeing many young women participating in the competition.”

One of the 2023 edition winners is Maryann Gichanga, CEO and founder of AgriTech Analytics. Her business provides farmers with precise, real-time data on soil health, crop conditions, and weather forecasts.

“The AYuTe Africa Challenge provided me invaluable training that taught me how to run my enterprise efficiently, connected me with key partners, and provided me with the much-needed funding to upscale it,” she says.

The 2024 edition will focus on enterprises with innovative agri-tech solutions responding to the needs of the agri-value chain such as production, aggregation, post-harvest loss management, value addition, access to markets, and financing.

Source: The Standard