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Young entrepreneurs urged to pitch for business capital

Heifer International’s AYuTe Africa Challenge has launched a new national competition, offering young entrepreneurs in Uganda the opportunity to pitch for investment in their agritech solutions to boost the incomes and productivity of Africa’s smallholder farmers.

Adesuwa Ifedi, the senior vice president of Africa Programs at Heifer International, said the competition provides an opportunity for young innovators in Uganda to secure the funding and visibility they need to scale up their agritech solutions to reach millions of farmers across Africa,

“There is huge potential for economic growth and employment in agriculture across Africa, but new ideas and technologies are urgently needed. It’s time for Africa’s tech-savvy youth to use their innovation skills to transform the sector,” he said.

The national competition represents a new phase of Heifer International’s AYuTe Africa Challenge, established in 2021 to award cash grants annually to the most promising young agritech innovators across Africa.

Like the regional champions competition, the AYuTe national champions competition offers prize money and mentorship, helping to translate the energy and ideas of young Ugandan agritech innovators into meaningful impact for smallholder farmers across the country, and supporting winners to grow their businesses.

William Matovu, the country director of Heifer International Uganda, appealed to all youths nationwide to get involved in the agribusiness competition that aims to find innovative solutions to critical challenges of the smallholder farmers in the agricultural sector.

Uganda has a high literacy rate (76.53 per cent) and one of the youngest populations globally, which augurs well for the success of this competition.

Smallholder farmers in Uganda contribute the majority (65 per cent) of the agricultural workforce. The AYuTe Africa Challenge, therefore, seeks to catalyze this demographic through innovation in agricultural technology that will narrow the productivity gap (Uganda’s solid yields operate at less than 40 per cent of its attainable potential).

The launch of the AYuTe Africa Challenge in Uganda is timely because it is in line with the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP) to facilitate an ICT innovation ecosystem and marketplace for Ugandan innovative digital products.

Specifically, the AYuTe Africa Challenge is in line with one of the key objectives of the program - to promote ICT products, services, and solutions for improved service delivery.

Kabbyanga Godfrey Baluku, the minister of state for National Guidance, remarked that more than ever, the government recognises the need to bring innovation by young Ugandans to the agriculture scene, and the government is committed to any initiatives that will help boost Uganda’s agriculture sector, which is the backbone of Uganda’s economy.

mwanjedavid3@gmail.com

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