Heifer International has Selected Founders of ColdHubs and Hello Tractor as Winners of the Inaugural AYuTe Africa Challenge.
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, founder and CEO of ColdHubs, a Nigerian business that provides solar-powered, walk-in coolers for smallholder vegetable farmers and Jehiel Oliver, founder and CEO of Hello Tractor, a Kenyan company that has become known across Africa as the “Uber of tractors,” were selected as the winners of the inaugural US$1.5 million Heifer International AYuTe Africa Challenge.
As winners of the AYuTe Africa Challenge, the companies will receive a sizeable monetary investment—a total of US$1.5 million in grants—along with ongoing support from a team of expert advisers—accomplished business veterans—to help them translate their funding into an aggressive expansion strategy.
This is part of Heifer International’s efforts to support young entrepreneurs developing affordable tech innovations to scale their businesses. Doing so ensures greater access to services that enable African farmers to overcome long-standing challenges while encouraging a new generation to pursue opportunities in agriculture.
“Our ambition is for Hello Tractor to be available across Africa and we’re excited that winning the AYuTe Africa Challenge will help make that happen. The entire continent of Africa sees about 15,000 new tractors every year while India alone sees about one million. Our farmers clearly need a lot more tractors and Hello Tractor offers a proven pathway for increasing access to this important technology,” said Jehiel Oliver, Hello Tractor founder and CEO.
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, CEO of ColdHubs, said: “With support from Heifer and the AYuTe Africa Challenge, I think in five years we can grow from 50 to about 5,000 ColdHubs across West Africa and create new income opportunities for smallholder producers. Too many African farmers do not get the income they deserve because they have no way of keeping their produce fresh, forcing them to sell it soon after harvest.”
Young agritech visionaries bring new energy to African agriculture
Heifer International conceived the idea for the AYuTe Africa Challenge (AYuTe stands for Agriculture, Youth and Technology) based on four decades of work as a trusted partner of African farmers—and seeing first-hand the stark difference between local farms that have access to new technologies and those that do not.
“Ikegwuonu and Oliver are examples of young agritech innovators who can help change the negative narrative surrounding farming in Africa—showing how an occupation many young Africans associate with hardship can be profitable, productive, stimulating and rewarding,” said Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice president of Africa Programs at Heifer International.
Hello Tractor: http://HelloTractor.com
Heifer International: http://www.Heifer.org
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