Missed it by that much: drone start-up narrowly beaten to top entrepreneur prize
He beat competition when applications were in their thousands, and did it again when they were trimmed down to fifty, then to twenty, and to ten – but in the end it was just but one step too far for Ivorian Aboubakar Karim, whose precision agriculture start-up, Investiv Group, just missed out on the three grand prize places for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI)
The top prize – which came along with a $300,000 cash incentive – eventually went to Kenyan sustainable energy start-up, Bright Green Renewable Energy. Mdaas Global, a Nigerian start-up that builds modern day diagnostic centres claimed the first runner up position, while Zimbabwe microfinance institution, Moneymart Finance, was third.
The two runners up received cash prizes of $250,000 and $150,000 respectively. For making the final ten cut, Investiv and the other six finalists – Amaati, Le Chocolatier Ivorien, Enko Education, MST Junior School, Uganics and Diarrablu – walked away with $100,000 each to plough into their ventures.
But, in an encouraging show of the rising popularity for drone technology across the continent, the Investiv Group was voted second behind Moneymart Finance in the People’s choice category. The Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire-based venture uses drone technology to help farmers with precision agriculture solutions like mapping and phytosanitary diagnostics, crop spraying, plant health monitoring, among many other drone-based operations.
They notably helped out with the mapping of small holder cocoa farms looking to make the grade for the Utz Certification Programme – a project designed to encourage farmers to observe sustainable farming practices on their cocoa plots, and stop land degradation.
One of the judges Strive Masiyiwa, the founder the chairperson of the Econet Group was full of praise for this year’s participants.
“I salute all the thousands od entrepreneurs from the 54 African countries, who stayed focused during the tough times and participated in the competition during this year of a pandemic crisis,” said Masiyiwa.
We congratulate Investiv for lasting the distance they did; and hope they have lit the path for future drone technology start-ups to go all the way next time.
The African Business Heroes ANPI price is sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation.