Deadline: March 15, 2018
Africa has the largest population share of young people in the world. According to the African Union, 60 percent of the population is below the age of 35 and there are 420 million youth aged 15-35 in Africa. This large share of the youth population is expected to continue growing for the next 20-30 years. More than 50 percent of the youth population in Africa currently live in rural areas but are most likely to move to urban centers in the future and become part of the pull for agricultural demand.
The majority of youth in Africa do not have stable economic opportunities. Youth are two to three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and the majority of the working youth are poor and employed in vulnerable, low quality jobs, in the informal sector. There are approximately 11-12 million youth entering the labour force every year in Africa – whereas only three million jobs are created annually, leaving a shortfall of 8-9 million youth without formal jobs. Lack of good jobs for the youth has become a major political concern and can be seriously destabilizing to the society.
While the agriculture sector offers significant employment and economic growth opportunities, lack of access to land, finance, markets, technologies and practical skills are major stumbling blocks to youth participation. Recent research indicates that as African economies transform, there are expanding opportunities for youth employment and entrepreneurship throughout high-potential value chains where consumer demand is increasing. However, major efforts are needed to provide young Africans with new technologies and innovations that will allow them to transition from subsistence agriculture into more commercial and higher-paying work.
The 2018 African Youth Agripreneur Forum (AYAF) and AgriPitch Competition will be co-hosted by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire and the African Development Bank and is expected to attract over 400 participants from across the continent including youth agripreneurs, agribusiness companies, investors, academia and development partners, among others.
The AgriPitch Competition includes a three-day (9–11 April) boot camp where the youth will receive training on business models, market needs assessment, intellectual property rights (IPR), innovation development process, business financing, proposal writing and business pitching. They will also be mentored by investors and leaders of established companies. The AYAF (12–13 April) will then provide a platform for the youth to discuss thematic issues with experts, business leaders, investors and policy makers.
Criteria for the Selection of Participating Youth
The forum will bring together over 400 youth from across the continent. The youth will be selected based on the following criteria:
• Active in agribusiness or agriculture sector in priority value chains;
• Promoting innovation for increased production, processing and marketing;
• Current membership in a youth network or association;
• Possessing skills to share and disseminate agribusiness information and knowledge;
• Being a youth mentor and/or incubatee in active incubation activities;
• Ability to pitch and share business value proposition with others;
• Gender balance: 50% women and 50% men;
• Active participant from all African countries.
The above selection criteria will be shared with relevant government ministries that have the responsibility to select participants. Development partners in agricultural transformation and agribusiness value chain development will be invited to sponsor participants to the Forum. This will allow engagement of various partners and organizations in a way that continues to support the Forum.
Objectives and Outcomes
- Demonstrate the business potential of leveraging technologies and innovations for agribusiness across Africa for job and wealth creation;
- Connect youth agripreneurs to business and development organizations and establish linkages with potential off-takers in Africa and globally;
- Promote business and technical linkages for collaboration among clusters of agripreneurs;
- Identify solutions and set recommendations for accessing technologies and innovations for youth in agribusiness.
Categories and Areas of Focus
There are two categories of proposals.
1. Start-ups Category
a. Individuals who are at the very early stage of developing ideas/concepts for AgriPreneurship.
b. Must have a clearly defined prototype or proof of concept
c. Must not have had any products introduced to the market
d. May or may not have a registered corporate entity
2. Established and Growing companies category
a. Individuals and firms that already have existing technologies/products/services on the market.
b. Applicants must be owners of the start-ups.
c. Must include information about the start-up – size, owners, partners and funding history
This call for proposals is open to individual or teams who wish to submit innovative ideas in any of the following 6 areas of Agribusiness:
- Technological innovations that support different stages of the agricultural value chain;
- Agricultural production and harvesting practices and tools;
- Agricultural value chain financing;
- Processing, Packaging and Marketing;
- Agro inputs and pest and disease management;
- The enabling environment;
The AgriPitch Challenge is open to all Agripreneurs between the ages of 18 – 35 and resident in Africa.
- Speakers from public and private sectors will address different topics under the theme: “Technologies and Innovations for Youth in Agribusiness”.
- Each region in Africa will have speakers to share experiences and connect the Forum with the socioeconomic realities in each region and prepare the way forward to increase success stories and impact of agribusiness on job and wealth creation.
- Sessions will include keynote addresses, panel discussions and working groups to engage all participants.
- There will be opportunities for the youth to demonstrate how they identify and developed solutions to typical challenges that they face in their business, e.g. accessing finance, land, technologies, skills, markets, supportive policy environment, etc.
- There will be exhibitions by Agripreneurs and others to showcase their products, innovative solutions, research findings, financial products, etc. The exhibitions will promote pre-arranged B2B meetings between the entrepreneurs and investors.
Registration and Submission Requirement
Individuals and teams registering for the Challenge must also be registered to attend the AYA Forum.
- Proposals should not exceed 1000 Words;
- The submission must be in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font;
- All appropriate information must be cited;
- The submission should be sent in PDF or Microsoft Word format in English;
- Indicate which category you are applying to
Structure of Proposals
- Title Page – Name (s) of contributors, Title of the proposal; category applying to;
- Problem formulation (which challenges, existing gaps, existing opportunities is the proposal addressing?
- Description of the solution;
- Unique positioning of the solution vis a vis similar solutions. What is the extra value?;
- Market Analysis – actual or projected market size;
- Financial/Funding Plan;
- Potential risks and challenges;
- Additional information;
15 March 2018 Deadline for submission of proposals
25 March 2018 Acceptance notification to successful candidates
1 April 2018 Submission of revised proposals
9-11 April 2018 AgriPitch Competition