Fifteen successful applicants of the Young Innovators in Agribusiness 2015 Competition have completed a business training at Toyota Kenya Academy in Nairobi. The trainees, who were part of a larger team from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia, were exposed to fundamentals of agribusiness innovation as well as practical, investible, sustainable and cutting edge models in the agribusiness value chain.
The youth, aged between 18-35 years, run small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that address a need along various agricultural value chains in their respective countries.
The needs include production, value addition, innovation and knowledge transfer.
Highlights from the training included discussions with business leaders from Uchumi Supermarkets and Palma World.
A similar number of youth start-up owners were trained in October 2015.
The Young Innovators in Agribusiness 2015 competition follows last year’s successful agribusiness competition that attracted over 800 participants from sub-Saharan Africa as well as the participation of Young Innovators in Agribusiness at the 2015 Africa Green Revolution Forum in Zambia.
The current competition’s main focus is to equip the youth with skills to establish and run sustainable enterprises along agricultural value chains. The competition targets 60 start-ups and 60 SMEs.
At the Toyota Kenya Academy, the enterprise holders received accelerated training meant to yield investor ready businesses. This was done through individual work, classroom sessions conducted by course facilitators, group work and talks from thought leaders.
Francescah Munyi, the CEO and Founder of Kenya Organic Fresh Aromas underscored the importance of identifying societal challenges and transforming them into business opportunities.
“There are many income generating opportunities along various agribusiness value chains. Youth should not wait for formal employment but tap into these,” she said.
The top 30 finalists will receive entry to the Agribusiness Innovation and Trade Fair to be conducted by IREN and its partners in May 2016 while the top six finalists will receive seed capital amounting to $20,000.
Racheal Nabunya Kisakye and Thomas Ssemakula deal with extension services.
Gerald Katabazi and James Kyewalabye deal with coffee.
Muyinda Lasuli Kiirya, Julius Nyanzi , Papius Tumusingize and Denis Okwiri deal with horticulture.
Christopher Mulindwa and Julius Mabuya deal with pig production and marketing.
Edson Twinamashiko offers Market linkages while Carl Peter Econi deals with chicken production; Stephen Arinitwe deals with dairy production; Philip Odii with cereals and Joyce Kyalema with Pumpkin production.