The African Development Bank (AfDB) has shortlisted 25 startups for the next round of the AgriPitch competition.

The 25 finalists were selected from over 600 applications. And they will be pitching to a panel of experts and investors at the virtual AgriPitch finals and winners' ceremony that will take place on November 16—17, 2020. The startups selected as winners by the panel would receive between $10,000 and $40,000 in grant, as well as post-competition training and mentorship.

The finalists are grouped into three categories: Startups, Mature Startups, and Women-empowered Businesses. They will be participating in a three-day virtual boot camp, which started on November 3, where they learn about product development, revenue channel identification, logistics, marketing, business management, investment readiness, and financing.

AgriPitch is part of the AfDB's fourth African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF), which kicked off with a boot camp and will run through to the AgriPitch winners’ ceremony. The AYAF is an annual event of the AfDB's Enable Youth Programme. And the theme for this year is Driving Sustainable Nutrition and Gender Inclusivity in Africa's Agri-Food Systems: Youth Agripreneurs Seize the Decade.

Out of the 25 finalists, six of them are Nigerian startups. Farmspeak Technology, One Kiosk, and Refleaf are in the startup category; Foodlocker is in the mature startup category; and Baby Grubz and Farmz2U are in the women empowered businesses category.

Six out of the 25 finalists for AgriPitch competition are Nigerian startups

Farmspeak provides smallholder farmers with tools to manage their operations and increase profitability. It was co-founded by Adaeze Akpagbula, Peter Okonmah, Israel Alabi, and James Akomu.

One Kiosk describes itself as the "Instacart for Africa". It uses marketplace approach to connect local and medium scale retailers and customers based on location and preference. One Kiosk promises its users one hour and same day delivery cycle. It was co-founded by Adeshina John (CEO) and Oluwatomisin Adewumi-John (COO).

Releaf says it uses hardware innovation to sell high-quality raw materials to food factories in Africa, starting with the Nigerian vegetable oil market. Founded in 2015 as a non-profit, Releaf pivoted to become a for-profit business-to-business marketplace connecting agricultural demand to supply. Its co-founders are Ikenna Nzewi (CEO), Uzoma Bailey Ayogu (CTO), and Isaiah Udotong (Chief Growth Officer).

Founded in 2017, Foodlocker is on a mission to address the logistical and infrastructural gap in the food value chain by becoming the one-stop shop for fresh foodstuff and grocery items in Africa. Foodlocker was co-founded by Olufemi Aiki (CEO) and Jennifer Okoduwa (CMO).

Baby Grubz is on a mission to change how babies are fed in Africa. Founded in 2013 by Seun Sangoleye, Baby Grubz produce and package different homemade cereals, grains, fruits, vegetables and condiments that serve as a base to make fast meals for babies.

Founded in 2013, Farmz2U is empowering farmers with tech tools to help them farm better. Its co-founders are Aisha Raheem (CEO) and Timi Akogun (CTO).

The other finalists of AfDB's AgriPitch Competition

The other finalists shortlisted for the next round of the AgriPitch competition across the three categories are from Benin (1), Cameroon (1), Côte d'Ivoire (1), Ghana (2), Guinea (1), Kenya (6), Malawi (1), Mozambique (1), Rwanda (2), Uganda (2),  , Tanzania (1)

Startups Matured Startups Women-empowered Businesses
Agripoa Company Limited (Tanzania) Agwenda Investments Limited (Malawi) AquaFarms Africa (Guinea)
Bringo Fresh (Uganda) Bee Happy Enterprises Limited (Kenya) INVXT Agro Investimentos (Mozambique)
Digifarms Africa (Cameroon) Carl Group (Rwanda) Mhogo Foods (Kenya)
Farm Kiosk (Uganda) Dasfarm Limited (Ghana)
Premium Hortus (Benin) Herdy Limited (Kenya)
Solar Freeze Limited (Kenya) Lono (Côte d'Ivoire)
Tropic Coffee Company (Rwanda) Stawi Foods (Kenya)
Tilaa Limited (Ghana)
Lentera Limited (Kenya)

"It is encouraging to see that almost 62% of all AgriPitch 2020 applicants self-described as being women-led businesses or having women make up at least 50% of their management", said Wambui Gichuri, AfDB's Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

"Word is spreading that AgriPitch is the competition where all qualified agripreneurs can get the training and support to grow their businesses", she added.

According to AfDB, the general public can also attend the webinar series alongside the finalists. The first session that was held on November 3 addressed Policies for sustainable nutrition and gender inclusivity.

The remaining webinars are scheduled for November 10: Empowering youth and women in agricultural value chains to address nutrition; and November 17: Strategic partnerships for equity in agriculture: Financing women, youth and nutrition.

Register to attend the webinars.

In addition to receiving seed funding prizes and post-competition mentoring, AgriPitch winners will be invited for the AYAF online DealRoom. The DealRoom connects expansion-ready, youth-led African businesses with global investors. Companies selected for the AgriPitch competition shortlist, but who didn’t make it to the competition also qualify to join the AYAF/AgriPitch online DealRoom.