Competition opportunities open for agripreneurs

Agripreneurs who are looking to scale or who are looking for mentorship opportunities can now apply for the Future Agro Challenge, a part of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN).

Start-ups seeking to apply must exist no longer than five year, be proficient in the English language and must have a scalable and innovative business idea or model, the organisers said in a written statement.

The global challenge seeks to, according to organisers, provide a platform unifying startups, investors and other stakeholders, while also focusing global awareness, innovation, and dialogue towards finding solutions for the global challenges ahead.

The global championships, which is expected to hold in South Africa on March 2017, to coincide with the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), intends to discover “innovate fundable food and agribusiness startups from various corners of the globe addressing national, regional and global challenges.

“While disruptive solutions are being created across regions, individuals and visionaries often feel overwhelmed by the complexities to integrate in the agricultural ecosystem.

“We believe discovering solutions to global challenges should not be so complicated.

FAC supports agro visionaries, startups, farmers, manufacturers, and distributors from countries across several continents. The most promising ideas and ventures are selected to compete in the Global Championships for the title of the ‘Most Innovative Agribusiness of the Year’”, organisers said.

Some of the main competition categories include: Agtech: technological innovation in our agriculture system; Agriculture Production and Processing: the cultivation of animals, plants and fungi for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal and other products used to sustain and enhance human life.

Others include nutrition and health, agriculture biotech, biofuels, evergreen practices, Robotics and Precision Agriculture (PA),  agro logistics, farmer incomes, education, such as programs and tools that contribute to the agro revolution, particularly in innovative thinking, encouraging sustainable practices, and awareness of environmentally sound methods.

Also, the organisers are looking ideas around agro tourism, that is, “innovative ways in drawing visitors to an agro business, in the form of nature travel. Offering visitors the opportunity to participate in trend-making farm and ranch activities, and so promote rural vacations, nutritional awareness, and active lifestyles.”

Agripreneurs working in safety and health are also encouraged to apply. Organisers say they’re are looking for “products or practices that improve the health of farm and production workers, or consumers.”

Others include packaging, that is, “designs that attract consumers, apply biodegradable materials and other solutions in agricultural products and equipment” and “those ideas that do not fit into the above categories but still positively impact agribusiness.”

It will be recalled that the Future Agro Challenge (FAC) began as an initiative of Industry Disruptors-Game Changers (ID-GC), an organisation that aims to create an eco system that fosters and promotes innovative entrepreneurship.

Judging criteria for the competition include a clearly explained idea or concept, persuasive and capturing presenting of idea, that is, the pitching skills; breakthrough in idea, business model, or design, that is innovation; scalability, that is does this business idea have a market potential globally or regionally. What is the capability of creating job positions; a healthy process for production or consumption and the business model must be innovative in design.

Applications are expected to close on December 7, 2016 and the global championships has been slated for March 15, 2017, after international finalists would have been announced on January 20, 2017.