AYuTe Africa Challenge, an initiative to support young entrepreneurs in developing affordable technology innovations, announced the winners of the 2022 challenge recently. The three winners, ThriveAgric, DigiCow, and Brastorne Enterprises, will receive USD 1.5 million in grants and ongoing support from experts.
ThriveAgric provides small-scale farmers in Africa with access to finance, technical advice, business skills, and market opportunities through its Agriculture Operating System. The system aims to empower small-scale farmers to grow their businesses and increase their income. With ThriveAgric’s support, farmers can access the resources they need to succeed and thrive.
Uka Eje, the CEO and co-founder of Thrive Agric, stated that they had established the technologies, strategies, and partnerships necessary to create the largest network of productive and profitable farmers Africa has ever seen. Thrive Agric already supports 500,000 farmers, outpacing the average Nigerian farmer in production and earnings. According to Eje, this positive response from investors and the recent recognition from Heifer International through a prestigious award will further fuel their expansion plans across Africa.
DigiCow, on the other hand, helps small-scale African dairy operations increase productivity with its mobile technology. The platform provides farmers with the tools to manage their operations efficiently and effectively, from tracking cow health and production to selling their dairy products in local markets. As a result, DigiCow’s innovative technology has helped many African dairy farmers increase their productivity and profits.
According to Peninah Wanja, the founder of Nairobi-based DigiCow, she witnessed her mother’s difficulties in increasing milk production from their cows. Having worked for 15 years with small-scale dairy farmers, Wanja clearly understands the challenges they face. This motivated her to create DigiCow, which 60,000 farmers have adopted, including many women, to improve their profitability and productivity. With the recent support received from Heifer International, Wanja is confident in her ability to extend the reach of DigiCow and provide assistance to small-scale dairy farmers throughout Africa.
Brastorne Enterprises provides farmers access to farming information, markets, and short-term finance through its feature phone apps. The platform helps farmers connect with the resources they need to grow their businesses, from finding the right seeds and fertilizers to accessing short-term loans to finance their operations. With Brastorne Enterprises, farmers can access the information and resources they need to succeed, no matter where they live.
According to Martin Stimela, the CEO and co-founder of Brastorne, roughly 80% of Africans lack the means to purchase smartphones or expensive data. However, despite this, most of them have access to feature phones. Brastorne is taking advantage of this by connecting farmers, youth, and women in Africa to the resources they require through these phones. Stimela expressed his excitement at collaborating with Heifer International to offer the rural poor fair access to markets, information, and community.