Ten startups are in Africa4Future Aerospace Accelerator 2020 cohort. They were unveiled in a virtual showcase organised by CcHub, BizLab and GIZ.
Four of the ten startups in the Africa4Future 2020 cohort are from Nigeria. The Nigerian startups are Agrorite, Crop2Cash, EPINEC and Rural Farmers Hub. The other six startups are Grow For Me (Ghana), AgriEdge (Morocco), DMM.HeHe (Rwanda), XY Analytics (South Africa), Fastagger and Flamingoo Foods (Kenya).
Now in its third year, the 2020 Africa4Future theme is how to use remote sensing for precision agriculture and infrastructure development.
Africa4Future said it received 212 applications. But only these 10 startups addressed two key questions in their applications. How can the remote sensing used for precision agriculture help in responding to food shortages? How can satellite technology ensure sustainable development of infrastructure across Africa?
BizLab and Make-IT in Africa jointly coordinate Africa4Future Aerospace Accelerator programme. BizLab is Airbus' aerospace accelerator, while Make-IT in Africa is the accelerator programme of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Africa4Future Aerospace Accelerator programme aims to promote technology partnerships between Airbus and African startups. It has accelerated 14 startups since 2017.
Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) executed this year's Africa4Future as the implementation partner. The pan-Africa innovation centre also provide the startups with strategic support in their engagement with relevant stakeholders.
Also, UP42 is technology sponsor of Africa4Future. UP42 gave each of the ten startups 25,000 credits to use on its platform and marketplace for Earth data and analytics.
At the end of the three-month acceleration of Africa4Future, all the ten startups in cohort would have an opportunity to present a project to Airbus and GIZ leadership for possible collaboration.
The Showcase: Meet the 10 startups in Africa4Future Aerospace Accelerator 2020 Cohort
CcHUB organised the first virtual showcase for Africa4Future on June 11. Over 600 people were in attendance.
Online conferences and events have become a trend since the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier in April, Ventures Platform hosted an online Demo Day for the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge. While Ventures Platform used Zoom for the demo, CcHub used Hopin for its Showcase. Some people also host their events on Periscope, Instagram, Youtube, or other streaming platforms.
The Africa4Future Showcase featured a panel discussion on the role of technologies in unlocking business opportunities across multiple sectors. The panellists were Ndidi Nwuneli, Managing Partner at Sahel Consulting, and Marcus Muller, Lead Data Science Engineer at UP42.
"We need to find a way to transfer technology to farmers", Nwuneli said. She added that more extension workers must be engaged as they play the critical role of connecting farmers with technology.
Earlier in February, the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono, had said the federal government plans to train 50,000 extension agents over the next three years.
"We have to train our extension officers", Nanono said. "Most of our problem is not [only] the issue of organisation, but [also] the issue of extension workers guiding the farmers on how to plant".
Nwuneli added that Sahel Consulting and other partners have developed a platform for agri-food entrepreneurs. The platform, "Nourishing Africa", would help agri-entrepreneurs to accelerate their work, celebrate their success, and connect them with funders, markets, talents.
The 10 Startups in Africa4Future 2020 Cohort
The Nigerian startups are Agrorite, Crop2Cash, EPINEC and Rural Farmers Hub.
1. AgriEdge: AgriEdge is a Moroccan startup that provides precision agriculture services to smallholder farmers to improve their profitability. Its co-founders are Mohammed Hmimou and Faissal Sehbaoui
2. Agrorite: Agrorite is a Nigerian startup that connects farmers to small, medium and large organisations through its agricultural commodity trading and logistics platform. The Agrorite team is led by Toyosi Ayodele (CEO), Babatunde Saliu (CTO) and Genevieve Makata (Operations).
3. Crop2Cash: Crop2Cash is a two-year-old Nigerian startup led by Michael Ogundare. It has three products, namely Crop2Cash, CashCard and SupplyBase.
Crop2Cash connects smallholder farmers to banks, thereby giving them access to credit products and ensuring oversight for banks. CashCard enables smallholder farmers in rural Nigeria to receive digital payments and build their financial identity. And SupplyBase helps agro-processors to manage their relationship with farmers and other suppliers in the value chain of food crops.
4. DMM.HeHe: DMM.Hehe is a Rwandan startup developing an end-to-end logistics solution that connect farmers to customers. It provide smart logistics and e-commerce solutions. The team is led by Clarisse Iribagiza as CEO.
5. EPINEC: EPIC Nigeria Limited is working on a project management tool to give farmers real-time visibility of what's happening on their farm. Obi Ibeto, a Microsoft cloud solution provider, is the CEO of EPINEC.
6. Fastagger: Fastagger is a Kenyan startup providing image annotation services to artificial intelligence-driven companies. Its co-founders are Mutembei Kariuki (CEO) and Stephanie Njerenga (COO). The aim of Fastagger is to provide access to high-quality data enhanced by human interaction.
7. Flamingoo Foods: Flamingoo Foods is a Kenyan startup creating a tool to predict food shortages and surplus in East Africa. Its co-founders are Adrian Weisensee, Andreas Schlueter and Leonard Lusaganya.
8. Grow For Me: Grow For Me is a Ghanaian startup connecting smallholder farmers with investors and individuals to grow specific crops. The team is led by Nana Opoku Agyeman-Prempeh as the CEO
9. Rural Farmers Hub: Rural Farmers Hub is a Nigerian startup providing e-extension service. Its e-extension software is called capture. It uses remote sensing to provide "near" real-time, data-driven and personalized advisory and extension service to farmers remotely via SMS, robocall, in-person, village agent. Its co-founders are Segun Adegun and Gabriel Eze.
10. XY Analytics: XY Analytics is a South African startup working on a herd management tool to enable the monitoring of health, movement, reproductive status and location of livestock. Its co-founders are Thulani Nyandeni (CEO) and Kearabetswe Nyandeni (COO). XY Analytics has two solutions: Simply Graze and Melusi Connect.