Become an AYuTe Africa Champion

We are challenging young entrepreneurs across Africa to demonstrate that their innovations can disrupt African farming for the better—by driving dramatic changes in smallholder farming and recasting agriculture as a promising, rewarding career for their peers.

Regional Champions

Regional AYuTe Africa Champions must demonstrate that their innovations are market-tested, farmer-ready and poised to provide an impact that will cascade across the food systems of multiple countries. And most importantly, you must prove you can empower smallholder farmers with solutions that enable them to increase their income and improve their livelihoods.

  • To be considered for the regional AYuTe Africa Challenge, you must: 

    • Have a minimum of three years of experience working with smallholder farmers in Africa, with demonstrated impact on their revenue. 

    • Show your organization has a sustainable business model that will allow it to stay profitable as it expands operations to serve more smallholder farmers. 

    • Demonstrate that you are providing a truly innovative product or service, not merely duplicating something that exists in many other markets. 

    • Show there is demand among smallholder farmers for what you are providing and that it’s affordable. 

  • The AYuTe Africa Challenge is an invitation-only competition. 

    If you would like to add your business for consideration, please contact us here

    • Scouting: Every year, our team of expert scouters seeks out applications from entrepreneurs working in East, West and Southern Africa 

    • Online screening: Our team of judges reviews applications to shortlist the top 15 finalists based on predetermined criteria. 

    • Technical assessment: 15 companies will pitch a panel of judges for a chance to advance to the next level of the challenge. This stage also involves high-level document review and physical visits. 

    • Final pitch events: Two or three companies in each region (East, West and Southern Africa) will make their final pitches to a panel of judges.  

    • Due diligence: All finalists will pass through a rigorous due-diligence process. 

    • Selection and fund disbursement: AYuTe Africa Champions will be notified and receive cash grants. In 2021, cash grants of up to US$1.5 million were awarded. 

    • Ongoing support: AYuTe Africa Champions will work alongside a team of expert advisers and accomplished business veterans to translate their funding into an aggressive expansion strategy. 

    • We anticipate scouting for the regional competition to begin in late-2021, with selection completed during the first half of 2022.

National Champions

National Champions are young, tech-oriented Africans leading start-up agribusinesses that are less than three-years old and feature compelling digital innovations. You must demonstrate your ideas can empower smallholder farmers with solutions that enable them to increase their income and improve their livelihoods.

    • Have launched your start-up in the last three years

    • Based in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda or Zambia

    • Have developed a tech solution to address smallholder farmer challenges with strong potential to scale

  • The application and selection process varies by country. For more, please contact us here.

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Meet the AYuTe Africa Champions

West Africa 2021


Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, the founder of ColdHubs, is recognized for his work helping smallholder farmers in Nigeria access affordable and sustainable ways to keep their produce fresh and cool. ColdHubs now owns and operates dozens of compact, walk-in, solar-powered coolers at rural produce markets in central Nigeria, and Ikegwuonu has big plans for further growth.

East Africa 2021

Hello Tractor

Entrepreneur Jehiel Oliver is recognized for his work harnessing the power of technology to enable African farmers to access the machinery they need to boost their productivity and sustain their livelihoods. Oliver’s company, Hello Tractor, is already active in 13 African countries and Oliver plans to expand its reach across the continent.