GAIN Agribusiness Innovation Challenge awards day recognises promising startups in Nasarawa State
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) hosted the Agribusiness Innovation Challenge (AIC) awards day, recognizing the most promising and impactful agribusiness startups across Nasarawa state. The program aimed to strengthen the supply chain efficiency within the state and help the agribusiness to have access to funding and important information to boost their operations.
The Challenge, which started in September 2022 with a call for application, was designed to identify and support early-stage agribusinesses that are improving the supply chain efficiency in the agricultural sector. This year’s competition received over 70 applications from eight different locations within the country, showcasing the global interest and need for innovative solutions in agriculture. The winners of this Challenge were Rural Farmers Hub, Maina Rice, Topcity and Agromarket square.
The first place winner was Rural Farmers Hub, a business founded on the vision to encourage sustained economic development of smallholder farmers by achieving higher levels of productivity through innovative information technology (IT). Their proprietary technology leverages modern scientific methodology and makes them backward-compatible with ordinary mobile phones.
The first runner up was Maina Rice who produces home grown Nigerian rice to reduce the effect of toxic food supply into the county. Thereby improving health and nutrition of consumers. The rice is long grain and stone-free packed in 25kg and 50kg pack sizes and it’s being delivered across Nigeria at an affordable rate.
Coming third place was Topcity, a business community of over 200 women passionate about eliminating intermediaries by taking control of the supply chain of crude palm oil using technology and improving the palm oil supply chain efficiency in Nigeria to be more organised and reduce losses. The team is led by Jummai Victor Tella and she happened to be the last woman standing in the competition.
Agromarket Square was the fourth business to win the AIC’s cash prize from GAIN. Their specialty is to break down the barriers facing smallholder farmers and provide access to a fair system of trade. With their strategic partnerships, they also give their members access to a seamless supply chain process to ensure efficient and effective movement of products. They are bridging the gap between farmers and buyers through online technologies for smallholder farmers to clearly identify the value chain operators associated with their crop of interest.
In addition to receiving a cumulative amount of five million Naira cash prize, the winners will also have the opportunity to receive mentorship and support from GAIN’s network of industry experts as well as access to potential investors and partners.
“We are thrilled to see the level of dedication and perseverance these businesses put into getting all the information needed to fill in the designs of their respective solutions and for that entrepreneurs will always have my respect,” said Chinwe Owhorji-Arowolo, GAIN representative.
In the closing remarks of Mr Yakubu, “Agriculture remains one of Nigeria’s major contributors and Nasarawa state government is open to the possibilities of investments and economic growth through the improvement of livelihoods of smallholder farmers, increase food security, and promote sustainable agriculture practices. We look forward to supporting them as they bring their ideas to fruition.”
The GAIN Agribusiness Innovation Challenge was implemented by Ventures Park, an enterprise support organisation that provides support to startup businesses that are solving Africa’s most important problems through accelerator, incubation, and capacity building programs. For more information, visit www.theventurespark.com.
The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is a Swiss-based foundation launched at the United Nations in 2002 to tackle the human suffering caused by malnutrition. Working with governments, businesses and civil society, we aim to transform food systems so that they deliver more nutritious foods for all people, especially the most vulnerable. Visit https://www.gainhealth.org for more information.