__Let’s grow entrepreneurs and transform food!
A year ago this week I was in Davos, Switzerland to hold a fireside chat about innovative ways to support and inspire young entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector. We also shared ideas of how to improve the whole ecosystem in which agribusinesses operate, across the African continent. We called our emerging start-up vision: “Generation Africa”.
Fast forward to Davos last Friday where some of the Generation Africa team took part in a breakfast meeting to discuss empowering youth in Africa: employment and entrepreneurship in the food sector; I wasn’t there this year but I am thrilled to say that in the past 12 months our “Generation Africa” seed of an idea has grown, and its roots have both expanded and deepened:
# Corteva AgriScience and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have joined Econet and Yara International as Generation Africa’s strategic founding partners.
# The Syngenta Foundation and SACAU (Southern Africa Congress of Agricultural Unions) have joined as technical partners.
# The Generation Africa secretariat will be hosted in Nairobi by the African Green Revolution Forum.
# The interim management team has just finished interviews to hire the first head of Generation Africa, and there’s more to follow… Wow!
For those of you who want to compete to win this year, you have a few months left to continue #Innovating, #fine-tuning your business plans, #honing your pitching skills, #launching or #scaling your agri-food ventures. And don’t forget about your website, social media and digital marketing!
__Remember: Generation Africa is not just for farmers (primary producers) who know how to work the land directly; it’s also for agri-techies, foodies, designers, transporters, app developers… agri-food visionaries of all kinds who are #ReImaginingRural and #Revolutionizing agriculture!
Last year’s Gogettaz competition campaign reached 50+ million people across the continent. From about 2,000 young entrepreneurs who started the application process from 39 countries, we had 11 finalists hailing from Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Who will be the winners in 2020? What kind of #Innovations will they pitch?
If you have an agri-food venture or idea, I want you to start preparing now. I won’t be one of the judges this year so I can tell you straight: I really hope at least one winner is from this platform!
When you’re preparing, keep in mind the 2019 finalist ventures were judged based on:
# Market presence and traction
# Inspiration and presentation (think pitches)
# Social and environmental impact
# Scalability and financial sustainability of the business model.
For decades the African continent has been importing billions of US dollars of food each year… more than $35bn annually and it’s estimated to hit $110bn annually in the next five years! Why?! Why continue to send our precious foreign exchange to food growers overseas and deny our people jobs and prosperity? It makes no sense. Let’s #EntrepreneurIt!
The fact is, in the not-too-distant future (in your lifetimes) it will be Africa’s turn, not just to feed itself, but the world. It’s imperative.
Yes, you heard me right. We must keep our eyes on the emerging opportunities for ourselves and for the younger generations of entrepreneurs in the $1Tn agri-food market projected for ten years from now. There are huge profits to be made for those with the vision and we must help support them.
Let’s get focused.
Image caption: One of the two 2019 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize winners, Bonolo Monthe, co-founder and Managing Director of Maungo Craft, Botswana
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa