Kenya Top Stories



by Ronald Njoroge

Heifer International Kenya has officially launched the 2024 AYuTe Africa Challenge.  AYuTe which stands for AgricultureYouthTechnology aims to create opportunities for young entrepreneurs to propel agriculture transformation, catalyze ground-up innovation from the youth, and make agriculture a desired career for the future. Through AYuTe, youth-led agritech innovations in Kenya get the opportunity to pitch for investment in their businesses to boost the income and productivity of smallholder farmers.

The 2024 edition marks the third iteration of the AYuTe Africa Challenge Kenya. The theme of the competition is “Reimagining the Future of African Agriculture”, a bold call to action for young innovators to acquire the skills and resources necessary to thrive in their businesses. 

Since its inception in 2022, AYuTe Africa Challenge in Kenya has registered over 400 applications, over 230 youth-led agritech innovations have received coaching and mentorship while over 10 startups have been awarded cash-prize worth over $40,000 to translate aggressive business expansion strategies that impact smallholder farmers “This competition provides an opportunity for young innovators in Kenya to secure the funding and visibility they need to scale up their agritech solutions to reach millions of farmers across Kenya,” says William Matovu, Country Director of Heifer International Kenya. “AYUTE is a very innovative vehicle that can identify innovative agritech with transformative solutions that can change the face of the agricultural sector, we look forward to receiving applications, and even more so, to seeing many more young women participating in the competition,” he adds.

One of the 2023 edition winners, Maryann Gichanga, CEO and Founder of AgriTech Analytics, is encouraging young aspiring agritech entrepreneurs to apply for this year’s challenge. Her business provides farmers with precise, real-time data on soil health, crop conditions, and weather forecasts. “The AYuTe Africa Challenge provided me invaluable training that taught me how to run my enterprise efficiently, connected me with key partners, and provided me with the much-needed funding to upscale it” she says.

The 2024 edition will focus on enterprises with innovative agri-tech solutions responding to the needs of the agri-value chain at various levels, such as production, aggregation, post-harvest loss management, value addition, access to markets, and financing. In addition, four regions will be targeted to ensure comprehensive national representation. These regions include Nairobi, the Central Regional Economic Bloc, the Lake Region Economic Bloc, the North Rift Economic Bloc, and Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties.

The awards for the competition include a cash prize of up to KSh 3.5 million for the top winners. Through the E4Impact Accelerator, the top 20 innovators will undergo a one-month incubation program among other benefits such as linkage to investment, networking, training, coaching, and mentorship opportunities. Additionally, the winners will be integrated into the E4Impact Alumni community which will provide them with valuable networking opportunities and ongoing support even after completion of the program.

Applications will be received through an online platform in two categories. The first category, Track 1, is for enterprises at the idea, proof of concept, and prototyping stages. The second category, Track 2, is for enterprises at the product stage, and aiming to scale up their businesses. The deadline for applications is 7th, July 2024, 11.59 PM EAT.

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