Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition

Published on 9th September 2015

The USAID Trade and Investment Hub, Syngenta and IREN Launch Second Edition of Agribusiness Competition for Youth in East Africa.

The USAID-supported East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Syngenta and the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN), have launched the second edition of the agribusiness competition dubbed “Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition.” This follows last year’s successful Agribusiness competition that attracted over 800 participants from sub-Saharan Africa. Out of the 35 youth finalists, ten have gone on to win other prizes in the energy and agribusiness sectors; ten have expanded and retained their agro-related enterprises and 15 are employed or pursuing higher education.

This year’s competition is open to East African youth aged 18-35 years, who reside in the East African Community, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Mauritius or Madagascar, and have a start-up or small and medium sized enterprise (SME) involved in the agricultural value chain. Businesses should be in the second year of operation with a defined business model (beyond idea stage).The 12 months competition process will involve training and mentorship for the top 120 entries (60 start-ups and 60 SMEs). Trainings will be carried out at the Toyota Kenya Academy, located three kilometers southeast of Nairobi. Representatives from the top 120 entries will participate at the 2015 Africa Green Revolution Forum and the top 30 finalists will receive entry to participate in   the Agribusiness Innovation and Trade Fair  conducted by IREN and its partners, in May 2016 at Kigali in Rwanda. The top six finalists will receive seed capital amounting to USD 20,000.

The “Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition” will promote the establishment and strengthening of existing start-ups and SMEs. It will demonstrate the interconnectedness of players along the agricultural value chains for purposes of promoting investment, job creation and productivity in the agribusiness sector.

The overall goal of the competition is to enable participating youth owned start-ups and SMEs to stimulate sustainable enterprises that attract potential investors and stakeholders through competition. Deadline for submission is September 15, 2015.

Application forms, competition guidelines, and awards information will be available on the competition website, www.younginnovatorsinagribusiness.com   and availed to interested youth who submit their email and cellphone contact details to info@younginnovatorsinagribusiness.com.

Background

The African Union declared 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security and calls on governments, farmers, industry players and development organizations to re-double efforts to transform African agriculture into a vibrant sector that will provide food security, incomes and jobs. Today however, sub-Saharan Africa spends an estimated USD 150 billion on importing staple food and an estimated 310 million Africans face food insecurity annually despite Africa holding 60% of world’s untilled arable land. Tapping into the continent’s youth dividend is critical not only to achieving food security but also in catalyzing agriculture to play a pivotal role towards industrialization and the creation of millions of meaningful jobs.

About the partners

The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub: The Hub is the U.S. Government’s flagship project under the presidential Trade Africa initiative, launched in 2013 to boost trade and investment with and within Africa. The goal of the Hub is to deepen regional integration, increase the competitiveness of select regional agriculture value chains, promote two-way trade with the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act  and facilitate investment and technology that drives trade growth intra-regionally and to global markets.  www.eatradehub.org

About Syngenta: Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 28,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life.  http://www.syngenta.com/.

About IREN: The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) is a leading independent African think tank that promotes ideas and strategies geared towards causing prosperity in Africa through free enterprise and sound public policy. IREN's key focus areas include targeted events, trainings, research, consultancy, communication and its flagship magazine: The African Executive - published in English every Wednesday. IREN hosts the Enactus Kenya which has managed university undergraduate business competitions for the last 13 years. IREN and Enactus Kenya successfully managed last year’s Agribusiness Competition that attracted 800 participants across Sub Saharan Africa. www.irenkenya.com

Toyota Kenya Academy (TKA) Toyota Tsusho Corporation Group Company -Toyota Kenya Limited opened its human resources training center, Toyota Kenya Academy, on July 16, 2014 at the Toyota Kenya Business Park (total area of 60,000㎡) located three kilometers southeast of Nairobi.  Toyota Tsusho has operated an automotive training center at Toyota Kenya to nurture its own technical staff. The training center since relocated, expanded and now reopened as the Toyota Kenya Academy to provide learning opportunities that develops the skills, knowledge and attitudes of our staff, customers, stakeholders and communities.  Toyota Kenya Academy offers courses on automobile & autotronics technology, entrepreneurship, agri-prenuership and agri-mechanization.

Through partnering with various recognized institutions in the provision of skills development, the Academy will achieve its overall objective of being a learning Centre of Excellence within the region in relevant training, and as part of Company’s corporate social responsibility, it will partner with various recognized institutions in the provision of skills development.  https://www.toyotakenyafoundation.org


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