Generation Africa is a partnership initiative with a vision to strengthen the ecosystem for youth entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector across the continent. Founding partners are Econet, a global telecommunications, media, energy and technology group founded on the African continent, and Yara International, a global crop nutrition company, founded in Norway
● Inspire a next generation of African entrepreneurs through stories and examples.
● Connect services, resources and opportunities to help entrepreneurs access education, technology, support and capital to move ventures successfully from idea to scale.
● Draw attention to opportunities for technological innovation and disruption in the agri-food sector.
● Increase access to diverse forms of finance along the entrepreneur’s journey.
● Strengthen the continent-wide agenda for youth entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector.
By 2025, Generation Africa’s ambition is to catalyse demonstrable increases in:
● Job creation along the entire agri-food value chain.
● Young Africans inspired to become agri-food entrepreneurs.
● Youth-led agri-food small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sustaining annual growth rates of over 20%.
● Venture capital invested in high-potential agri-food SMEs.
● Adoption of transformative innovations and technologies within the agri-food sector.
A landscape study was commissioned in 2018 by Econet and Yara, Generation Africa’s founding partners, and first presented at Davos 2019. Research across several African countries highlighted four challenges:
● Current initiatives put limited focus on entrepreneurship in the agri-food sector.
● Support programmes and services rarely operate at scale and have highly variable quality.
● There are gaps in support to the entrepreneurs’ journey, especially accessing growth capital.
● Efforts in the sector are weakly coordinated.
The landscape study revealed a window of opportunity to mobilize solutions through partnership on the following question:
● How can we unleash a dynamic cadre of youth entrepreneurs across Africa’s agri-food system to launch, grow and mature agri-food businesses that will drive job creation, inclusive growth, and better supply of food?
Over 10 million young people join the labour force every year, yet the continent creates only 3.7 million jobs annually. By 2035, there will be more young people entering Africa’s workforce each year than in the rest of the globe combined. Leaving 60% of young people unemployed is a tragic loss of human potential and could exacerbate hardship, amplifying conflict and insecurity, triggering humanitarian crises and accelerating migration.
Along with manufacturing, Africa’s modernising agricultural economy presents the most opportunities for new jobs and income sources, with scope for innovative new businesses emerging all along the value chain to energise the sector from seed to fork. Africa’s annual food import bill is US$35 billion and projected to reach US$110 billion by 2025. Innovative entrepreneurship could retain more of that value on the continent, helping to counterbalance rural-urban migration; strengthen diverse, resilient livelihoods; professionalize farming; and provide affordable, healthy food to Africa’s growing population.
Across the agri-food chain in Africa, innovations are to be found in how we grow, harvest, process, store, transport, package, sell and consume food. Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) contribute significantly to the economic vitality of emerging markets.
Consultation has identified five key factors that could increase the volume, speed and quality of entrepreneurs as they journey from ideation to scale:
This requires a great deal more coordination and focus across the continent including policy reforms that enable, inspire and equip young entrepreneurs, recognizing the key role of policy and regulation in creating viable pathways for business creation and innovation. The future is now. Generation Africa is now!
In the next several months, Generation Africa plans to establish a small, dedicated secretariat to manage programming and expand its partnership, delivering the following outcomes in 2019/20:
The Gogettaz Agripreneur Prize, a high profile competition and media campaign, will reach millions of talented young Africans with the message that agripreneurship offers a compelling and attractive business opportunity. A televised pitch event at the African Green Revolution Forum in September 2019 will see twelve finalists rewarded with a prize package of expert support, and one male and one female entrepreneur selected as grand prize winners of $50k to grow their businesses.
The competition will sign up thousands of aspirant and early-stage entrepreneurs to the Generation Africa website. Over time we intend this to evolve into a vibrant online platform linking entrepreneurs to the existing ecosystem of support, education, innovation, mentorship, business development services and capital.
Key leaders and influencers will be convened to consider founding a Generation Africa “Ambassadors Group” that would hear the challenges faced by young agripreneurs and advocate for their needs at the highest levels.
Whilst Yara and Econet have seeded this transformative initiative in Year One, the team will engage in wider collaboration, drawing on the strengths and resources of different sectors and stakeholder groups, to ensure Generation Africa delivers its potential as a true driver of large-scale system change.
Generation Africa, a pan-African initiative, is in the process of registering as an independent non-profit entity based in Nairobi, Kenya. A governing board of strategic partners will provide oversight and accountability. The dedicated secretariat will coordinate partners and deliver priority activities.
Generation Africa’s work is currently carried out by professional teams drawn from the Founding Partners (Econet and Yara International) and Technical Partners (Wasafiri Consulting and VC4A) who together provide a strong operational infrastructure to support the initiative.
The Gogettaz Agripreneur Prize is an annual competition to identify innovative entrepreneurial ventures in the agri-food sector founded by young people (age 35 and under) from across the African continent.
1. In 2019, the Gogettaz Agripreneur Prize launches on 30 May. Even if you are not planning to take part in the competition in 2019, we invite you to join the exciting community of GoGettaz entrepreneurs.
2. Complete the full online application by no later than 21 July at 12 midnight Central Africa Time (CAT). Please review the questions early in the process so you have enough time to prepare thoughtful responses. The application includes questions such as:
● “Give an example of your entrepreneurial mindset.”
● “How does your venture make money?”
● “Who are your main customers?”
● “Who are your main competitors?”
● “What are your biggest business challenges so far and how have you overcome them?”
Applicants must fill out each section of the application to be considered. Be sure to allow enough time to complete all sections.
3. Applicants must also film and submit a video pitch of no longer than three (3) minutes, answering the following questions:
● Who – Introduce yourself and your venture. What is unique about your story?
● What – Tell us what your venture or idea is. What is the potential?
● How – Describe your business model. How is it designed for success, and how is it innovative? Does it use any unique technology or approaches?
● Why – What inspires you about this work? What social impact could it have? What problem does it solve? What jobs does it create?
4. An expert jury will review all applications, considering criteria such as innovation, originality, scalability, and environmental sustainability.
5. 30 semi-finalists will be notified via Facebook and email by 6 August 2019. Semi-finalists will each be interviewed and asked for further information.
6. 12 finalists will be selected by the jury by 13 August 2019. Six male and six female finalists will be notified via Facebook, in person or by email.
7. Finalists will be invited to compete in the final live pitching contest at the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) meeting in Accra, Ghana on Tuesday, 3 September 2019. This will be part of a full week of activities that finalists will be expected to attend, spanning from 2-6 September. Winners will be announced on 4 September 2019. Should you not have a valid passport and plan to enter GoGettaz, please apply for one now.
8. All 12 finalists will be awarded mentorships, programming linkages and other guidance to continue their entrepreneurial journey.
9. The two winners (one male and one female) of the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize 2019 will be announced at the AGRF in Accra, Ghana on 3 September. Each winner will receive US$50,000 to grow their businesses as well as a suite of tailored suite of mentorship and related support.
• Entrepreneurs must be age 35 or under on the day of submission to the online GoGettaz Afripreneur Prize competition, and be legally recognised as an adult in the country of his/her nationality.
• Entrepreneurs must hold nationality (with official ID) from any of the 54 nations of the African Union.
• Entrepreneurs must be the founder or co-founder of the enterprise he or she represents in the competition and play an active role in its operations and leadership.
• Entrepreneurs must have no criminal record related to corruption, tax evasion, financial impropriety, felony or other offences, and be willing to provide a signed declaration to that effect, if requested.
● Your venture must have its headquarters in one of the 54 countries of the African Union and must be officially registered by 1 August 2019.
● Your venture must be designed to be financially sustainable, either as a for-profit business or a market-based social venture with a business model that includes revenue generation – at least in part – and aiming for non-donor-based sustainability over time.
● Your venture must play a role in the agri-food sector or support the development of the agri-food sector through an innovation, disruption or original process improvement across the food value chain from seed to fork.
● The “agri-food sector” may be defined as businesses including:
▪ Agri-food research & development
▪ Primary food production
▪ Crop nutrition
▪ Mechanisation, automation or robotics
▪ Crop protection
▪ Hydroponics or urban farming
▪ Transport, distribution, storage or logistics
▪ Food processing
▪ Packaging or marketing
▪ Food retail or service
▪ Waste management or recycling
▪ Digital or technology solutions/services to the agri-food sector
▪ Innovative finance solutions/services to the agri-food sector
▪ Renewable energy or environmental solutions/services to the agri-food sector
Business ventures in the pre-launch stage may be considered, however it is very important that you do not share commercially sensitive or proprietary business details of any kind, especially if your venture is only in the idea stage.
If in doubt, do not share the information online in this competition, and wait until next year. If you have an invention ready to patent, be sure to apply and get the patent process underway before sharing any details in this contest or any online platform.
The founding partners of the Generation Africa initiative are Yara International and Econet. Technical partners are Wasafiri Consulting, a consultancy and institute helping leaders and organizations tackle the toughest problems, and VC4A, a leading online portal for enterprises.
Yara International is a global crop nutrition company pioneering new and scalable models to drive the transition to sustainable food and land use.
Yara grows knowledge to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet, to fulfil its vision of a collaborative society, a world without hunger and a planet respected. To meet these commitments, Yara has taken the lead in developing digital farming tools for precision farming and works closely with partners throughout the whole food value chain to develop more climate-friendly crop nutrition solutions. In addition, Yara is committed to working towards sustainable mineral fertilizer production. Yara fosters an open culture of diversity and inclusion that promotes the safety and integrity of its employees, contractors, business partners, and society at large. Founded in 1905 to solve the emerging famine in Europe, Yara has a worldwide presence with about 17,000 employees and operations in over 60 countries.
Yara is also the founder and sponsor of the Africa Green Revolution Forum convening 2,000+ leaders to transform agriculture. In 2005, Yara initiated what is now the Africa Food Prize, awarded each year to an outstanding individual or institution leading efforts to change farming. It is also a founding partner of the Farm to Market Alliance providing holistic value chain solutions that is demonstrably raising incomes for 145,631 African farmers.
Econet is a privately held, diversified telecommunications, media and technology group with operations and investments throughout Africa, Europe, South America, North America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offering products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, internet, satellite and fibre optic networks. The company also has investments beyond the traditional telecoms sector, which include financial services, insurance, e-commerce, renewable energy, education, Coca-Cola bottling, hospitality and payment gateway solutions.
Econet was founded in 1993 by Strive Masiyiwa, who first came to international prominence when he fought a five-year constitutional legal battle leading to the removal of the state monopoly in Zimbabwe’s telecommunications sector. The landmark ruling is regarded as one of the milestones in the opening up of African telecommunications to private capital.
VC4A is the leading African online platform connecting start-up entrepreneurs with knowledge, support programs, mentors and investors. It includes 12,500 registered start-ups across 46 countries, networked with 90,000 community members, 900 support programs, and 2000 active investors. VC4A start-ups with ecosystem support raise 2.5x more capital, and on average create seven jobs, mostly for youth.
Wasafiri is an international consultancy supporting system change on complex problems. It has provided a decade of strategic management support to establish Africa-wide architecture through which cross-sector partners now collaborate on agricultural transformation, including Grow Africa, a partnership platform to accelerate inclusive investment into African agriculture with US$2.3 bn invested and 88,000 jobs created.