Harambe Nigeria, the organization focused for three years now on youth being agents of change within the agricultural sector, has announced its 3 winners for the first ever agricultural business plan competition for young people between the ages of 21 and 35, launched on April 1 2010.
The competition received entries in a wide array of agricultural activities including commercial production of broilers and turkey, wholesale production of catfish, a locally fabricated system called Agro waste processor for management of Agro waste, bio fertilizer production and generation of Methane gas for cooking, lightening and electricity for its users, fish farming consultancy, urban agriculture through the use of vertical farming houses/homes in Lagos, vertical farming (multi-storey), roof farming, floor farming, maintenance services, home farm, produce retailing, amongst others.
Twenty-seven shortlisted applicants were moved to the next stage of the competition, which was the receipt of a full business plan. The final stage was a rigorous one-on-one interviews and defense of business plans. The judges included Mosunmola Umoru of Honeysuckles PTL, Tosin Anibaba of the Fatre Foundation, Lcy Kanu of Ideabuilders, an agriculture NGO and Peter Bankole, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Development Services (EDS) at the Pan-African University. Eleven Candidates made the final list and 3 winners emerged- Ikpegbu Tochukwu of Emmanuel Resources in first place, Adeoye Olukayode and Olakunle Ajayi of Wales and Chase in second place and Adesope Samuel of Adesope Honeywell farms. They were presented with their prizes; Trainings with EDS, Fate Foundation, Ideal builders, mentorship platforms, Legal counsel and financial investments opportunities.
The winners will be receiving prizes up to 7.5 million naira in money and trainings with the EDS, Fate Foundation and Ideabuilders. In order to ensure that the winning ideas are successfully implemented and sustained, Harambe Nigeria will be coupling a financial reward with extensive training at renowned institutions such as the EDS and the Fate Foundation. The winning entrepreneurs will receive mentorship and their financial reward will be well managed at specific banks to ensure that they are directed towards the initiative.
“We were looking for innovative and sustainable ideas from young upstart entrepreneurs as well as established entrepreneurs with a maximum of one year’s work experience and we are quite happy with the three winners of the compettion” the organisation’s President, Tola Sunmonu, said.
This year, Harambe Nigeria’s annual symposium will made the necessary transition from raising much needed awareness, to facilitating youth involvement in the sector and supporting those already engaged. In order to illustrate this transition, Harambe’s third annual symposium is titled “Watering the Seeds of Tomorrow” and the major feature of the symposium will be the agribusiness plan competition for youth.
“This year’s event will mark the culmination of our 6 month Agri-business plan competition,” Sunmonu said. “In addition to presenting the winners with training and financial support, all participants will participated in a 2 day training session in order to work on their ideas with a team of trained experts from the industry. This 3rd annual Harambe Symposium on Youth and Development has one singular focus: providing young Agric-entrepreneurs with the opportunities to build and expand their ventures.”
The training session consisted of workshops that target the specific needs of the participants. Participants will also be provided with relevant information that they can put towards developing their initiatives. This information will include details of various agricultural and business trainings that are available in Nigeria as well as opportunities to access credit. At the end of the session, youths received certificates of participation, which they can use to build their resume. Participants left the session with improved versions of their initial agribusiness ideas to make them better equipped to implement their ideas if they choose to do so in the near future.
On day two of the training session, participants had the opportunity to start refining their ideas based on the information they gathered the previous day. In addition they made posters that best summarize their initiatives. In the evening, Harambe Nigeria hosted a cocktail reception for friends and supporters of Harambe Nigeria. Guests had the opportunity to browse through the posters on display as well as interact with the aspiring entrepreneurs whilst they sell their ideas and find potential investors.