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AGRF and Heifer International launch Pitch AgriHack 2021

Pitch AgriHack 2021 is sponsored by global development organization Heifer International. The competition will identify and amplify efforts by young innovators to build resilience beyond COVID-19 through digital agriculture products and services. These innovations should be scalable and generate measurable impact in Africa’s food systems. Winners will receive funding and continued support to scale up their innovations to transform the agriculture sector. Applications for Pitch AgriHack 2021 are open until August 16, 2021.

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Pitch AgriHack is a digital agriculture competition focused on accelerating entrepreneurial growth and job creation in the agriculture sector by leveraging advanced technologies and youth participation in Africa’s food security agenda.

This seventh edition of Pitch AgriHack invites African businesses to pitch their approach to driving technological innovation in the agriculture sector. Generation Africa, a thematic platform of the AGRF will host the competition, which is sponsored by global development organization Heifer International.

The competition provides cash prizes to innovators driving increased use of technology and job creation across the agricultural sector in Africa.

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The open competition portion of Pitch AgriHack 2021 will support companies that are driving innovation in agriculture across three categories with prizes totaling US$45,000:

  • Early-stage,
  • Mature/Growth-stage,
  • Women-led

A fourth invite-only category, known as the AYuTe Africa Challenge, sponsored by Heifer International, will award up to US$1.5 million in grants to scalable ventures that are already generating measurable impact for Africa’s smallholder farmers.

Six winners will be selected from the open-application categories and two winners from the invite-only AYuTe Africa Challenge category. The winners will be announced at the AGRF Summit which takes place September 6-10 in Nairobi.

Top contestants will receive a one-day boot camp in preparation for their final pitches, with winners receiving continued support as they develop and grow their enterprises.

Business profiles of the finalists will also be published in a Deal Book for circulation at the AGRF and online, while individual profiles will be made public on the genafrica.org platform and reviewed for relevance to their investor community.

Applications are open from July 26 to August 16, 2021
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AGRF and Heifer International launch Pitch AgriHack 2021 Eligibility Criteria:

Candidates are early-stage, growth-stage, or women-led AgTech companies with innovative solutions impacting smallholder farmers at scale.

Applicants should have:

  • A clear and defined description on how their solution is impacting small holder farmers
  • Strong organizational and operational structure


The applicant applying must:

  • be aged 18-40 on the day of submission to the 2021 Pitch AgriHack Competition
  • hold nationality (with official ID) from any of the 54 nations of the African Union
  • be the founder/co-founder of the enterprise represented in the competition and play an active role in its operations and leadership
  • have no criminal record related to corruption, tax evasion, financial impropriety, felony or other offences
  • Not be a previous Pitch AgriHack finalist or winner
  • must submit the application form in English
  • must agree with the Terms & Conditions


Early Stage Category

The Venture must have:

  • The ability to scale and impact a large number of smallholder farmers
  • An identifiable technological innovation that addresses the following problems for smallholder farmers:
  • Smallholder farmer productivity
  • Smallholder farmer income
  • Labour intensiveness of operations
  • Resilience
  • Access to information for smallholder farmers
  • Strong competitive advantage


Growth Stage Category

The Venture must have:

  • The ability to scale and impact a large number of smallholder farmers
  • Recorded evidence of demonstrated impact on smallholder farmers’ revenue
  • An identifiable technological innovation that addresses the following problems for smallholder farmers:
  • Smallholder farmer productivity
  • Smallholder farmer income
  • Labour intensiveness of operations
  • Resilience
  • Access to information for smallholder farmers
  • Strong competitive advantage

Selection Criteria:

There will be a screening process to determine the top 12 startups which will be invited to attend pitch training sessions for the online virtual final pitching contest. Half of the selected startups will be women-owned startups (one official co-founder must be female). The selection is mainly based on the quality of the information submitted in the application. Additional information may be requested by the organizers.

Online Screening Criteria

  • How real is the need?
  • What problem does the solution solve?
  • How unique is the solution?
  • Does the team demonstrate an ability to execute?
  • What is the market opportunity?


Technical Assessment Criteria

  • Early Stage Category:
    • Scalability
    • Feasibility / proof of concept
    • Technical viability of the solution
  • Mature Stage Category:
    • Smallholder farmers reached
    • Profitability


Final Pitch Criteria

  • Impact on Smallholder Farmers
  • Technological Innovation
  • Business Model
  • Team
  • Scalability
  • Use-of-funds

Partner Initiatives

The AGRF is one of the most visible and well-attended high-level agricultural and food security events in Africa. The purpose of the AGRF is to create and sustain effective partnerships geared towards the transformation of African agriculture. The AGRF brings together senior political and government officials, business leaders, grassroots organizations, farmers, researchers, donors, development partners, global thought leaders, and other stakeholders to discuss and debate innovative and practical ways to promote investments and policy support for increased agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers.

Generation Africa seeks to inspire and support young agri-food entrepreneurs across Africa and the world to create and scale vibrant businesses. A key goal of our work is to create a new narrative about the opportunity of the agri-food sector and build a stronger ecosystem for youth entrepreneurship in Africa’s agri-food and agri-tech sector. We achieve this through an annual GoGettaz Campaign, linked to the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition, which provides year-round messaging directly and via partner organizations.

Heifer International is a global non-profit working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable, values-based, holistic community development. Heifer has been working in Africa for over 47 years and is currently implementing an agricultural transformation initiative designed to catalyse the strategic shift needed to secure a sustainable and dynamic future for Africa’s smallholder farmers and agricultural sector.

Apply here

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