Food Security Top of the Agenda for Winning African Startups at GSA Regional Finals
After scouting all 55 African Union member states across 12 categories, the 60 Regional Winners in the Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa – the first and only continent-wide Sustainable Development Goal-aligned tech innovation competition – have been announced at the Regional Finale. One winner per category per region was identified from a pool of 7,589 entries from around the continent by an expert panel of 215 Jury Members, as well as by the African public who cast 41,000 votes.
The competition entrants have proven that there are solutions available which could make an immeasurable difference to climate change and to the lives of Africans and those beyond.
Opening the Regional Finale, Jo Griffiths, one of the founders of the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG) which has brought the Global Startup Awards to Africa said, “Having worked across the entire innovation value chain on the continent for almost a decade, we saw the need to identify a credible vehicle to help scout all 55 African countries and connect an active global network. In other words, to enable startups to get seen, get connected but most importantly to get funded. To do so, we brought the Global Startup Awards to Africa.”
In the category of Startup of the Year, which salutes a startup that inspires the next generation of founders by positively impacting the economy and the world in general, the winners were Warrior Eco (Burundi); Kubic (Kenya); Garment IO (Egypt); Lupiya (Zambia) and Salubata (Nigeria).
Best Newcomer, which acknowledges a startup with a product and/or service that is on a path to disrupt its industry and positively impact the economy and the world, went to Ecoplus (DRC); Emarat (Uganda); CliniDo (Egypt); Envisionit Deep AI (South Africa); and Rouzo (Nigeria).
Taking top honours in the Founder of the Year category, which recognises a startup founder or co-founder who has shown strong leadership skills and achieved exceptional business results while also being an inspiration to their team and a role model for the next generation of founders, were Divin Kouebatouka from Mvutu (Congo); Almaw Molla from Coffee Resurect (Ethiopia) Mohamed Algawish from iSchool (Egypt); Jon Kornik from Plentify (South Africa) and Uche Kenneth Udekwe from Natal Cares (Nigeria).
The winners of the Venture Capitalist of the Year category which honours the Venture Capitalist who has created impressive financial results while investing bravely in innovative companies that can positively impact the economy and the world were Ortus (Uganda) and Sylvester (South Africa).
Kobo (DRC); Ennovate (Tanzania); AUC Venture (Egypt); Ocean Hub (South Africa) and Space NGO (Benin) all scooped wins in the Best Accelerator / Incubator Program category. This award recognises a fixed-term, cohort-based, mentorship-driven program that helps and empowers startups with tools, resources, connections, knowledge and expertise.
Best Co-working Space, which is bestowed for the services, support, and resources these spaces give to startups, as well as for creating a culture and an environment that fosters innovation, went to Given Back (Gabon); La Plage (Mauritius); Makanak Office (Egypt); Workshop 17 (South Africa) and Hub 30 (Nigeria).
Taking home the award for Women in Tech, which celebrates a pioneering tech startup founded and owned by a woman/women, were Ecoplus (DRC); Mipango (Tanzania); Tekeya (Egypt); Doctors E-Consult (Botswana) and Kitovu Technology Company (Nigeria).
The prize for Agri Tech, which is awarded for innovative solutions in food security, food production, farming methods and nutrition, was won by Freshbag (Cameroon); Biobuu (Tanzania); Zr31 (Egypt); Netagrow (Zambia) and DigiExt (Ghana). Ify Umunna, Co-CEO of Nourishing Africa explains that “Realizing Africa’s full agricultural potential will require significant investment in these areas: financial investment, investing in talent and knowledge creation and fair distribution of this data.” She adds that “The current average of someone who works within the sector is 60 years old. This is simply unsustainable. In order to be truly self-sufficient as a continent and eventually net exporters of food to the world, we have to engage more youth and get them into meaningful and fulfilling work within the sector. This can only be done by making agriculture and food an attractive and viable career path for young people the same way they do within the oil, gas and finance industries.”
Nucleus Biotech (Cameroon); My Health Africa (Kenya); 3 elagi (Egypt); Dawa Health (Zambia) and Wala Digital Health (Ghana) were all deemed worthy of an award in the Health Tech category, which recognises a startup that has initiated medical breakthroughs through innovative solutions to improve quality of life.
The Commerce Tech category, which acknowledges the startup connecting Africa by enabling commerce using a variety of technologies, saw Smartbox (Cameroon); Rwazi (Mauritius); Kaoun (Tunisia); CIRT (South Africa) and Chekkit (Nigeria) taking the top spots in their regions.
Celebrating the startup that is enabling Africa’s industrialisation with innovative solutions for safety, mining, manufacturing, production, logistics, mobility and supply chain management, the winners in the Industrial Tech category were Congo Food Processing (DRC); DiscoverBrands Systems (Kenya); Zelij Invent (Morocco); Lign Organic (South Africa) and Treepz (Nigeria).
The ESG Tech category is awarded to the startup that is enabling environmental, social impact or corporate governance solutions in areas such as renewable energy, CleanTech, sustainability, recycling, water and sanitation, human rights, EdTech, GovTech, policy and regulation, among others. Winners included Kubic (Kenya); Douar Tech (Morocco); Scarab Tech (South Africa) and Scrapays (Nigeria).
Griffiths concluded the festivities by saying, “I would like to remind everyone of the significant opportunity for the 60 winners who will go on to compete in the next round of the competition when we identify our 12 African winners. Not only will the final 12 then compete on the global stage, but they will also be offered funding from the GIIG Africa Fund, which will enable them to scale while also assisting them from a capacity-building perspective. Our ultimate goal is to invest in and create future markets across the continent. And this is just the beginning!”