World Bank Announces Agritech Challenge Aimed At Inspiring Innovation In Kenya

By Peter Pedroncelli Published: July 7, 2017, 2:56 am
Agritech challenge - Entrepreneurs use digital technology to increase farm productivityA farmer checks her mobile phone before deciding whether to harvest her crops. Photo: Panos/Piers Benatar/.un.org/africarenewal

The World Bank and venture capital firm Nest have announced a call for applications for the AgriTech Challenge 2017 in Kenya.

The initiative is the first open innovation program of its kind in Kenya, and it is aimed at connecting promising startups and innovators with one of the region’s leading agribusiness corporates.

The AgriTech Challenge, which is sponsored by the World Bank, aims to spur collaborative innovation within the agricultural sector in Kenya.

It forms part of a program to test open innovation mechanisms in the country for a potential future scale up by the government of Kenya, according to KenyaNews.

Starting in August this year, high-calibre teams of innovators and entrepreneurs will work closely with agribusiness industry veterans to conceptualise and co-develop solutions around some of the most pressing challenges in the local value chains.

As one of the largest contributors to Kenya’s economy, there is tremendous opportunity to drive value creation and create a sustainable impact through agribusiness innovation.

The World Bank AgriTech Challenge aims to collaboratively prototype solutions that drive productivity, accountability and operational insight in the agribusiness value chain, according to Nest.

AgriTech Challenge solving issues through innovation

Some of the issues that the AgriTech Challenge aims to solve includes looking at digitizing the way produce is tracked from farm to shelf, facilitating better communication between farmers and field technicians, digitally monitoring farm productivity and wastage, as well as digitizing the monitoring of product quality, packaging and shipment across the agriculture value chain.

The selected startups will have the opportunity to plug into a wealth of expertise and resources of the corporate partner, and subsequently explore piloting and commercializing the solutions that are developed within the partnership, according to Techmoran.

Full service early-stage venture capital firm Nest will run the program with oversight from the World Bank team, furthering their mandate of helping startups and talented founders from around the world build businesses that apply and commercialize innovation.

Applications for the AgriTech Challenge are open until July 25, 2017, and can be submitted via the programme website.

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