Pitch AgriHack announces winners for 2023
The six winners of this year's Pitch AgriHack competition, which sought youth-led African businesses with technological solutions to food security concerns, were crowned in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, yesterday.
Jointly organised by the African Food Systems Forum, Heifer International, and Generation Africa, the annual pitch competition announced the top performers for 2023, saying candidates from 39 African countries went through a tough evaluation process.
South Africa’s Watson Matsa, co-founder and CEO of eSusFarm Africa, took first place in the early stage category, followed by Morocco’s El Mahdi Aboulmanadel, founder and CEO, DeepLeaf.
The organisers selected Nigeria’s Tunde Adeyemi, founder and CEO of D-Olivette, for first place in the mature and growth-stage group, with Egypt’s Reem Nafea, co-founder and business development director of BioMasr, coming in second.
Kenya’s Priscilla Wakarera, co-founder and CEO, Rhea, was the winner of the women-led agribusiness category, and Nigeria’s Solape Akinpelu, co-founder and CEO of HerVest, was the runner-up.
The competition awarded a total prize pool of $45,000 to the winners.
According to organisers, this year's Pitch AgriHack candidate pool reflects Africa's youthful dynamism. Early-stage businesses made up 79.3% of the total, with mature/growth-stage agritech ventures accounting for 20.5%.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, president of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and former special envoy to the UN Food Systems Summit, remarked: “The technologies presented demonstrate the power of youth to drive practical and sustainable solutions, paving the way for a resilient and prosperous tomorrow."
“The multi-faceted technologies, environmentally-aware approaches, and thorough business models we saw here indicate that our youth entrepreneurs are building more resilient businesses with more comprehensive offerings that in turn help their farmers become more resilient, too,” said Dickson Naftali, head of Generation Africa.
“It is exactly the type of transformation we need, at scale, for the responsible development of the African food system.”