World Bank and Nest announced have launched the first open agriculture innovation program in Kenya – Agritech Challenge 2017.
The innovation program aims to connect promising startups and innovators with one of the region’s leading agribusiness corporate.
Sponsored by the World Bank, the challenge wants to spur collaborative innovation in Kenya and forms part of a program to test open innovation mechanisms in the country for a potential future scale up by government.
According to the project, high-calibre teams of innovators and entrepreneurs will work closely with agribusiness industry veterans to conceptualise and co-develop solutions around some of the most pressing challenges in the local value chains, from August.
In addition, the selected startups will have the opportunity to plug into a wealth of expertise and resources of the corporate partner, and subsequently explore piloting and commercializing the solutions developed.
The project is looking for multidisciplinary teams that are passionate about agritech in the line of a startup, a promising SME, a team of agribusiness, logistics, supply chain technologists, or even a bunch of college students with a compelling idea and the ability to execute.
Nest, an international company that invests in founders who are passionate about challenging the status quo and affecting positive change will facilitate the program with oversight from the World Bank team.
The two-month long co-creation activity will include integration-focused workshops, one-on-one interactions with industry veterans, and structured product development.
Each team will aim to develop a prototype or customize a solution in partnership with experienced operational professionals.
“These will be then presented to senior executives and investors at a Demo Day for potential commercial adoption and scale,” Nest said highlighting that the demo day is slated for December.
The initiated aimed at agriculture, as one of the largest contributors to Kenya’s economy, sees opportunity to drive value creation and impact through innovation in agribusiness.
“The World Bank AgriTech Challenge aims to collaboratively prototype solutions that drive productivity, accountability and operational insight in the agribusiness value chain.”
Some of the pressing challenges the project hopes to solve are digitization of produce tracking, facilitating seamless communication between farmers and field technicians and digitally monitoring farm productivity and wastage and driving insights to enhance yield.