Another drone start-up in race for top prize

An Ivorian agriculture technology company heavily featuring drone-based solution to its agriculture technology solutions has made it to the last twenty short list for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI).

INVESTIV is an agriculture technology company specialising in the use of precision agriculture – including drone technology – to improve conditions for farmers throughout Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa. As a pioneer of drone applications in agriculture, the start-up provides partners with technical and innovative solutions that reduce losses, increase crop outputs while saving time with environmentally friendly crop dusting services.

Founded by Aboubacar Karim, Investiv are still in the running for a share from the total prize worth $1,5million; but they have to first clear the hurdle for the penultimate ten start-ups next month. The ten candidates will undergo further intense scrutiny from a seven-judge panel, which will test the solidity of their business plans, their motivation and vision, and ability to clearly articulate why the ground-breaking nature of their ideas can solve pressing problems and catalyse change for society, inspiring others to do the same.

The competition is run under ANPI’s Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize, whose sponsors, the Jack Ma Foundation, have pledged $100 million in grant funding, training programs, and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to 100 deserving start-ups for the next ten years, starting in 2019.

As the Ivorian franchise for Flying Labs, a WeRobotics non-profit network of drone services providers worldwide, INVESTIV played their part in helping their local community by providing mapping services to smallholder cocoa farmers hoping to qualify for the Utz Certification Programme – a project designed to encourage farmers to observe sustainable farming practices on the cocoa plots.

Congratulating the twenty qualifiers for latest round of competition, the Senior Advisor for International Programs with the Jack Ma Foundation, Jason Pau, said; “As we approach the final phases of the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, I am incredibly impressed by the talent and energy of the entrepreneurs we have met during the selection process. This is no surprise though, as we are aware of the strength of the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa and the unique drive of businesswomen and businessmen in the continent.

“This strengthens even more the commitment of the Jack Ma Foundation to spotlight today and tomorrow’s African entrepreneurs, supporting them while they build successful businesses and positively impact their local communities.”

Yesterday (August 18), the twenty ABH finalists participated in a second virtual bootcamp, where they heard from inspiring personalities from the African entertainment, sports and entrepreneurship scene – including Anita Erskine, UN SDG Advocate and ANPI’s Brand Ambassador and Official Host of “Africa’s Business Heroes” program; NBA Hall of Fame inductee and philanthropist Dikembe Mutombo; Sean Tong, Partner at Boyu Capital Advisory and Jack Ma Foundation’s Board Member; and the top three finalists from last year’s debut edition of ABH, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Omar Sakr and Christelle Kwizera.

Standing between INVESTIV and the grand prize are nineteen other start-ups whose portfolios are below:

AMAATI: Ghanaian social enterprise that pioneered the revival of fonio (an indigenous cereal of the African Sahel, also known as acha, hungry rice or petit millet) in Northern Ghana. An Enterprise that works with farmers, particularly women in producing and processing of fonio. The enterprise is formed with an idea of creating sustainable livelihoods for women farmers whose lands are degraded due to its excessive usage and creating a land management system where the lands can be regenerated and used to grow other crops.

MOGASSAM (Egypt): develops automatic DLP 3D printers for dental industry. We are committed to bringing convenient reliable 3D printers for creative dentists and dental technicians around the globe. We also develop a top-notch automated dental CAM software to provides seamless dental 3D printing experience for our users.

EXPANDCART: An Egyptian start-up that helps business set their e-commerce ventures online

LE CHOCOLATIER IVOIRIEN: Ivorian chocolate maker that claims to make chocolate with an African flavour

BRIGHTGREEN RENEWABLE ENERGY (Kenya): a vertically integrated biofuel company, tackling the challenge of deforestation and climate land degradation through the design, production and distribution of biofuel blocks. Their solar-driven facility has a monthly capacity of 30,000 kilograms and employs 20 people, half of whom are women.

METRO AFRICA EXPRESS: Nigerian ride-hailing service that enables commuters order a motorcycle ride at the tap of a button. Clients are equipped with helmets and hairnets before they set on their way. Payment can be made with debit card, MAX wallet or cash, and you can rate and provide feedback about your trip.

ENKO EDUCATION: Cameroonian learning institution that offers primary and secondary education to students in Cameroon, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mozambique.

MONEYMART FINANCE: Zimbabwean financial start-up that develops financial solutions to fight financial exclusion and energy exclusion. They claim to have unique, well researched financial solutions to address the needs of financially excluded entrepreneurs as well as solutions to provide energy to poor households living off the electricity grid in rural areas.

SO’ FATOO: Senegalese clothing small enterprise

SOUPAH: A Nigerian franchise-model marketplace that helps agriculture start-ups with mobile technology, expertise, pack houses, solar powered cold rooms and vehicles to collect the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables from rural smallholder farmers and deliver it to the demand of retailers and grocers across the South Western part of Nigeria.  The venture offers a wider market for rural farmers who can now consistently link harvest with sales. Bigger demand for agricultural products enables smallholder farmers to plan and diversify production for a more predictable income, including a way to support livelihoods and lift them out of poverty.

UGANICS REPELLENTS (Uganda): The start-up offers oils and mosquito repellent products. They are dedicated to giving clients the best products, with a focus on ensuring that clients have the best natural way of repelling mosquitoes and preventing malaria.

DIARRABLU (Senegal) Dakar-based clothing enterprise offering contemporary a through clothing rich in environmentally friendly fabrics that highlight the African continent’s rich colours and unique patterns.

SUNGY: Renewable energy start-up offering solar energy solutions to the people of Algeria

MST JUNIOR SCHOOL (Uganda): A junior school whose aim is to add value to students whilst pursuing primary education so that they can set up sustaining and developmental projects that will further their existence and growth at a personal level. That’s why the school focusses on Agricultural education and technology awareness and development at an early stage.

MDAAS GLOBAL: The venture builds and operates tech-enabled diagnostic centres in clinically-underserved communities in Nigeria. Their health centres offer radiology, cardiology, and lab services and are located in the neighbourhoods where patients live.

SUNCULTURE (Tanzania): Their vision is to build a world where people take control of their environment in rewarding, sustainable ways, by developing and commercialising life-changing technology that solves the biggest daily challenges for the world’s 570m smallholder farming households.

PURE GOOD: Pure Good is a South African health-focused contract catering company. From humble beginnings as a health cafe, they have grown to establish themselves as a key player in in-house corporate catering.

KEA: A Beninese online platform that interconnects health structures through a unique database through the Universal Medical Identity (IMU), in order to facilitate the recovery of patients’ medical history.

LALIBELA GLOBAL-NETWORKS (Ethiopia): A start-up championing the digital transformation of the health sector in Africa, with a vision to serve by providing patient-centred connected health solutions. Their approach also includes training and mentorship of young IT graduates with the emphasis on active involvement and empowerment of girls in technological mastery and innovation.

Established by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, the Jack Ma Foundation was founded in December 2014 and has been focusing on education, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, and the environment. Their support for the ANPI is aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent.


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