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South Africa: Agripreneurs Forum welcomes young entrepreneurs and investors
The third African Youth Agripreneurs Forum and AgriPitch competition, a platform connecting sector start-ups with potential partners and financiers, has opened in Cape Town under the theme: “Climate Smart Agriculture: Business and Employment Opportunities for Africa’s Youth. The event is being organised by the African Development Bank, in partnership with the government of the Western Cape.
The event has attracted over 200 participants from across the continent including youth agripreneurs, agribusiness companies, investors, environmentalists, academia, development partners and government agencies.
The event kicked off with a three-day boot camp that provided training and coaching on business models, marketing, the innovation development process, and business financing for 25 agripreneurs who then took part in the AgriPitch competition and a ‘Deal Room’ with impact investors. It will be followed by a two -day conference which provides a platform for the youth agripreneurs and key stakeholders, to brainstorm with experts, business leaders, investors and policy makers on issues that affect youth employment.
Speaking at the Forum’s opening, Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture said it offered participants the opportunity to unleash their potential and explore the full value chain.
“Job creation for youth and particularly youth in agriculture is a priority for the Western Cape. We must therefore make agriculture and the business of agriculture more accessible to our youth,” Meyer said.
Dr. Edward Mabaya, Manager of the agribusiness development division at the African Development Bank Group said there were clear opportunities for drawing the youth to the agriculture sector as agripreneurs. “With the right entrepreneurship ecosystem, skills, technologies and improved access to finance and by using a value chain approach, young Africans can approach agriculture as a business and become the proud owners of viable and profitable agribusiness enterprises. That is why the African Development Bank has invested over $350 million in 12 countries over the past 3 years in the Enable Youth Programme.”
The Forum is based on the Bank’s vision to achieve food security in Africa through the Feed Africa strategy, and the need to create jobs for the youth in Africa. It serves as a testing ground for innovative agriculture to take shape through intense engagement and mentorship for small and medium enterprises, and shows that with greater access to agribusiness enterprise, youth can become the driving force of agricultural transformation in Africa.
Western Cape Government: Mary James, Head of Communications, email : MaryJ@elsenburg.com