mAgri Challenge winners announced

mAgri Challenge winners announced

Two apps from Kenya, one from Senegal, and one from Ghana are the winners of this summer’s mAgri Challenge—a competition designed to identify entrepreneurs developing innovative mobile apps for agriculture and agribusiness in Africa, and to provide them with resources to grow their businesses.

mAgri

The four winners, along with sixteen of the best startups from infoDev’s business incubator network, will be invited to November’s Mobile Startup Camp.  The Camp is designed to accelerate the growth of early-stage entrepreneurs.  A five-day program of lectures and hands on workshops will provide participants with an opportunity to refine their product strategies, business models and marketing pitches, sharpen their negotiating skills and network with investors and peers.

It will also include a Demo Day – a pitching competition before a panel of industry experts and angel investors.

If you are an investor interested in seeing the startups during Demo Day on November 15, send us an email or reach out to us through Twitter or Facebook.

The six runners up will receive feedback on their applications from infoDev staff. We thank all applicants for taking the time to submit their pitches and look forward to following their progress!

infoDev received over 30 high-quality applications from a dozen African countries, making the final choices difficult.

“We were looking for prototype-stage startups in a niche market, and were surprised to receive so many applications of high quality,” says Maja Andjelkovic, Mobile Innovation Specialist at infoDev. “These entrepreneurs are showing not only the potential impact mobile agri applications can have in Africa and around the world, but also the considerable talent behind innovation driven startups on the continent.”

Members of the jury representing leading private sector players in the mobile industry were also impressed by the entries.

Ernest Akinola, West Africa Government Relations for Blackberry and Managing Partner of Right Instinct said "The winners demonstrated robust and well thought through concepts, but many more entries showed niche applications for specific needs within the agri sector.  I wish the best of luck to all of the founders who entered."

Echoing Akinola’s remarks, Arjun Thomas, Global Product Manager for Nokia Life said, "The competition unearthed very interesting applications. As these startups grow, adapting the business case to ensure steady and versatile revenue generation streams will be critical to their success."

Jenny Åkerbäck, Department for Global Cooperation, Sida, adds that " Sweden is pleased to support African entrepreneurs who are working to bring mobile innovations to the agriculture sector on their continent and around the world."

We would like to congratulate all of the applicants, including the four winners and six runners-up below.

Winners

  • Farmerline, Ghana: uses voice and SMS to collect data, share new farming techniques, and better link smallholder farmers to other actors along the agricultural value chain.  Its survey tool allows agricultural workers and NGOs to conduct immediate surveys with thousands of farmers at a fraction of the cost of traditional techniques.
  • Intellect Tech, Kenya: helps farmers and insurance firms track compensation claims in real-time.  The platform improves transparency and facilitates faster processing of farmers’ insurance claims.
  • mLouma, Senegal: connects farmers to food purchasers by displaying real-time market prices and localizations.  The service will improve the efficiency of the agriculture supply chain, helping farmers to get a better price for their produce. 
  • Price Calculate, Kenya: aids agricultural producers to calculate the competitive price at which they can offer their products.  The app educates producers on the market structures between them and their final consumer (local or international), helping them make more informed price decisions.

Runners-up

  • Akili Et, Kenya: facilitates the tracking of produce and better links up the stored value along the entire agriculture value chain.
  • Farming Instructor, Tanzania and Uganda: provides online and offline agricultural information to farmers and their communities.
  • M-Shamba, Kenya:  provides useful information on both crops and livestock to farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain.
  • Mobile Agribiz, DRC: uses web and mobile technologies to improve access to agriculture information and market accessibility for small farmers.
  • Poultry Guide, Uganda:  provides poultry farmers with information and market linkages to improve their productivity and profits.  
  • Text to Change mAgri, Kenya and Burkina Faso:  provides best practice information on planting, harvesting, and pest and disease management to farmers.

 

infoDev launches mAgri challenge

16 July 2013

infoDev’s Mobile Innovation program, in partnership with Sweden, is proud to announce the mAgri Challenge. Building upon previous World Bank challenges, five teams will be invited to a Mobile Startup Camp in November 2013 for a chance to refine their models and practice pitching their businesses to angel investors.

The World Bank and other organizations have gathered information in many agricultural mobile applications and produced detailed case studies on such apps in select countries.  Perhaps best known for providing market and extension information and increasing purchasing power of farmers, mobile agri apps can also improve agricultural supply chain integration, increase access to extension services, and facilitate global market linkages.

Mobile innovation in the agricultural sector faces at least two major challenges:

1) While there is a proliferation of mobile apps that provide market information, few of these have been adopted widely across the African continent, making it difficult to achieve scale and profitability.

2) Despite proven benefits of mobile agri apps, the mobile entrepreneurship community and the agribusiness community often suffer from a lack of obvious linkages and ways to collaborate.

The mAgri Challenge is an opportunity to identify entrepreneurs developing innovative mobile agri apps in Africa, and provide them with additional resources to further commercialize their products.

View a short video about the mAgri Challenge

 

Not just for farmers! To date, many exciting agricultural apps providing market information have been developed.  Comparatively, few apps exist in the business-to-business value chain, where they could have significant impact. This translates into a gap and an opportunity for mobile innovators whose potential user-base is large and diverse – it not only includes farmers, cooperatives, input suppliers and wholesalers, but also agro-processors, retailers, consumers, logistics, and packaging providers. Applications that focus on value chain integration could create business opportunities, reduce inventory management costs, improve quality control, and enhance the export potential of agricultural products. Along this chain, important opportunities exist to empower women entrepreneurs, as well as customers and suppliers at the base of the pyramid.

 

The mAgri Challenge is one of infoDev Mobile’s many initiatives aimed at providing entrepreneurs with tools and expertise to assist in the creation of viable mobile application businesses.

Who Should Apply

We encourage you to apply if you are an entrepreneur:

  • With a mobile business based in Africa,
  • Who has a working prototype of a mobile agriculture application that has growth potential,
  • Who is looking to grow your business both locally and abroad, and
  • Who is interested in innovative business approaches and coaching that could be applied to your business to drive its growth.

How to Apply
 

To enter the mAgri Challenge for a chance to attend the Mobile Startup Camp, the following must be sent to zlu1@worldbank.org by August 15th, 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time:

Completed Questionnaire – Completing this questionnaire will also allow your app to be featured in the GSMA’s mAgri Deployment Tracker. 

Pitch Deck: Your business pitch must be submitted in the PowerPoint template provided.  It should not exceed 11 slides, excluding the title slide/cover page.

Prototype Demo: Please upload a 1 minute video to YouTube or Dropbox that demonstrates your product, and include the URL in your submission. In the event that a video cannot be created, screen shots and descriptions (not to exceed 750 words) are permissible.

Five finalists will be invited to attend the Mobile Startup Camp in November.  Economy airfare and accommodations will be provided.

Have questions about the competition or application process? Email them to zlu1@worldbank.org. 

To learn more about the mAgri Challenge, read a recent blog (also available in French) by Maja Andjelkovic, Mobile Innovation Specialist for infoDev.

Our Partner

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Sida is a government agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government, with the mission to reduce poverty in the world. Through their work and in cooperation with others, they contribute to implementing Sweden’s Policy for Global Development (PGU).

For more information, visit http://www.sida.se/English

 

 


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