Agri-tech startup Kilimo fresh wins MEST Africa Challenge bagging US$50k equity investment

TANZANIA – Kilimo Fresh, an agri-tech startup and digital distributor of fresh produce to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, institutions, wholesalers and export markets, has been named winner of the MEST Africa Challenge, winning US$50,000 in equity investment.

Startups from Ethiopia, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa were selected to take part in the MEST Africa Challenge, run by pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub MEST Africa.

Aimed at post-revenue, tech-enabled startups that want to expand into new markets, the challenge, which last year had three winners, offered the winning company US$50,000 in equity investment, plus access to Microsoft support, coaching, and a continent-wide network of startup hubs.

After a virtual pitch event, Tanzania’s Kilimo Fresh was named the winner. The startup is developing digital farming solutions and will now benefit from MEST support and funding.

Ethiopia’s Debo Engineering, which matches farmers with agro service providers, was awarded the community prize. The Kenyan final was won by find-an-artisan platform Fundis, and the Ivory Coast event by ed-tech startup Tutoo+.

Run by pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), the MEST Africa Challenge is aimed at post-revenue, tech-enabled startups that want to expand into new markets.

The challenge, which last year had three winners, is open to startups in Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sénégal, South Africa and Tanzania, with 83 regional finalists selected in June to take part in virtual pitch events to select the overall finalists. Disrupt Africa recently reported on the first batch of winners.

Another education startup, BAG Innovation, was named winner of the Rwandan competition, while the Ghanaian leg was won by online bookstore Oniocha. Kilimo Fresh Foods, a startup developing digital farming solutions, came out on top in the Tanzanian competition, while fintech startup Moussa Africa won the Senegalese leg.

Gradely, a personalised online learning platform, was winner of the Nigerian event, while the South African winner was PopUpShopShop, an online marketplace connecting brands to great spaces in shopping centres and high street locations for short or long term rentals.

The winning startups of each national event will now take part in a competition to win US$50,000 in equity investment, plus access to Microsoft support, coaching, and a continent-wide network of startup hubs.

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