Kilimo Fresh Foods Africa Limited has been announced as the overall winner of the MEST Africa Challenge 2020. They walk away with an investment totalling $50,000 and will be welcomed into one of MEST’s Hubs for a year of support and incubation.
Kilimo Fresh is a company from Tanzania that majorly solves problems faced by farmers through developing digital farming solutions, including online produce distribution platforms which helps farmers earn a higher income on their yield by offering immediate access to buyers who prefer fresh foods and the ability to safely store foods for longer periods.
Their main customers are hotels, restaurants, catering companies, and retail stores like supermarkets.
This year also, MEST Africa Challenge 2020 also introduced Community Choice Award which was scooped by Debo Engineering. For their prize, they got a spot in one of MEST’s Hubs, with access to its vast and international community and exclusive perks.
This was followed by the announcement of the two runner-ups: BAG Innovation and Moussa Africa , who were selected for their value in the problems they are trying to solve, the fact that they had a clear path to scaling, impressive traction among others.
The MEST Africa Challenge is Africa’s biggest tech startup pitch competition offering entrepreneurs and young businesses the opportunity of a lifetime; $50,000 in funding, a space in one of MEST’s Hubs, support from MEST’s Portfolio team, and amazing prizes from a diverse pool of ecosystem partners.
This year saw the competition grow and expand from five countries to nine, giving more startups much needed support during this pandemic. For the first time, the entire competition was also held virtually, making it possible for over seventy-five startups from Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte D’Ivoire, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa to pitch to a global audience of over one thousand people.
Over the past two months, each country held individual country finals to select the country winner who would go on to compete in the finale. Winners are DeboEngineering representing Ethiopia, Fundis representing Kenya, Tutoo+ representingCôte d’Ivoire, BAG Innovation from Rwanda, Oniocha Ltd representing Ghana, Kilimo fresh Foods Africa Limited representing Tanzania), Mousso Africa representing Senegal, Gradely representing Nigeria and PopUpShopShop representing South Africa.
The country finals were a unique experience, giving the audience remarkable insights into the tech ecosystems of participating countries, and the innovative entrepreneurs rising up to the challenge to solve the everyday problems they see around them. Judges for these finals were also selected from within the countries themselves, complemented by partners and leaders in the African tech industry.
For the finale, the judging panel was a veritable who-is-who of serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and senior tech executives including MEST’s very own CEO and founder — Jorn Lyseggen, Senior Director for Software Partnerships at Microsoft — Chris Lwanga, the Founding Principal of Imaginable Futures — Teresa Mbagaya, and Partner of TLcom Capital — Andreata Muforo.
Like the country finals, each startup had four minutes within which to pitch their business and their purpose, justifying why they deserve to win the MEST Africa Challenge. After the judges had six minutes to ask questions and clarify any concerns they may have about the startups.
This year, the MEST Africa Challenge partnered with over thirty organizations that share their vision to support Africa’s next generation of tech businesses.