Heifer International Kenya announces the 2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya

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The competition aims to translate the energy and ideas of young Kenyan agri-tech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers

By Murimi Gitari, February 24, 2023, Heifer International Kenya has announced a call for this year’s AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya. AYuTe (Agriculture, Youth, Technology) aims to offer young entrepreneurs in Kenya the opportunity to pitch for investment in their agritech solutions to boost the incomes and productivity of smallholder farmers.

Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President of Africa Programs at Heifer International has said that the 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 Africa.

“There is huge potential for economic growth and employment in agriculture across Africa, but new ideas and technologies are urgently needed. It’s time for Africa’s tech-savvy youth to use their innovation skills to transform the sector,” she added

Funding, training, and access to agricultural technology remain three key areas that the youth can be supported in to encourage them to embrace agriculture as a desirable career. Through the AYuTe Africa Challenge, Heifer seeks to address these needs in partnership with key stakeholders such as County Governments, innovation hubs, academic institutions, and development partners among others.

According to Esta Kamau, Country Director, Heifer International Kenya, Heifer is partnering with these actors because they strongly believe that at the heart of agriculture, transformation is constant innovation.

“Young agritech innovators require a combination of significant investment, motivation, and mentorship. AYuTe is our vehicle to reward and drive innovation in the agriculture sector not just in Kenya but in other African countries where we are working with smallholder farmers,” said the Country Director.

Through the competition, Heifer aims to translate the energy and ideas of young Kenyan agri-tech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country and support the winners to grow their businesses.
“Today we have opened the call for applications for the 2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya, and we want to encourage young agri-tech innovators in Kenya with early-stage start-ups that have developed tech solutions that address challenges facing smallholder farmers to apply” she added.

The awards for the competition include a cash prize of up to KSh 2 million for the top winners. Through the E4Impact Accelerator, the top 24 innovators will undergo a 2-month incubation program among other benefits such as linkage to investment, networking, training, coaching, and mentorship opportunities.

The E4Impact Centers Director David Cheboryot said, “As E4Impact, we are excited to build on the experience and lessons of the 2022 challenge by being part of the 2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya to offer our expertise in its co-creation, supporting all the agri-tech innovators in their application process with enriching info sessions, coaching and mentoring them in the various stages of the competition and later on incubating the top candidates so that a real and meaningful impact is realized in the agricultural sector of our country.”

The deadline for applications is 21st March 2023, 11.59 PM EAT. Applications will be received through an online platform.

In 2022, national competitions were held in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda awarding up to $20,000 in each country. In Kenya, Optimerce Consulting Ltd, a business that digitizes the process of produce collection at farm-gate through mobile apps was announced as the AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya Winner; RafikiPay, a company that deals with the processing of sunflower, groundnuts, soya, and canola oil from the hybrid seeds was announced as the 1st runner up while Agrodiverse Ltd Kenya, a business that coverts insects, earthworms into sources of protein in animal feed and high-quality organic fertilizers, emerged as the 2nd runner up.

In addition, the top 15 finalists underwent personalized mentorship and incubation with the support of E4 Impact Accelerator.

At the continental level, the AYuTe Africa Challenge awards up to US$1.5 million each year with Hello Tractor from Kenya (East Africa) and ColdHubs from Nigeria (West Africa) emerging as inaugural winners in 2021. Digicow from Kenya (East Africa), Brastorne from Botswana (South Africa), and ThriveAgric from Nigeria (West Africa) won the 2022 edition.


Tags: #2023 AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya, #Adesuwa Ifedi, #Agrodiverse Ltd Kenya, #David Cheboryot, #Digicow, #Esta Kamau, #Heifer International, #Heifer International Kenya, #Optimerce Consulting Ltd, #RafikiPay, #ThriveAgric, #YuTe Africa Challenge Kenya

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