Ghanaian company AgroCenta has won the Young Entrepreneurs Competition at the World Export Development Forum in Budapest, Hungary, beating off competition from Hungarian and Zimbabwean enterprises to take the grand prize of €5,000. The World Export Development Forum 2017 (WEDF) is organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade between 24 and 26 October.
AgroCenta’s co-founder, Michael Ocansey, won the panel of judges over with his pitch for the company’s online platform, which enables farmers to use their phones first to market their products online and then to access trucking services to get their products to buyers.
Receiving the award on behalf of AgroCenta, Ocansey, who is the company’s chief technology officer, said: ‘This pitching event has been a tough experience, especially since all four companies were pitching similar ideas. This meant I had to work extra hard to be more articulated, but simple enough to still sell AgroCenta well. Even if we hadn’t won, the opportunity ITC gave us to pitch on such a world stage is in itself enormous.’
During a session at WEDF, finalists in the Young Entrepreneurs Competition – all aiming to improve business opportunities for farmers through disintermediation and market intelligence – presented their pitches to a jury of impact investors and CEOs. In addition to AgroCenta, the competing companies were Agrk Group (Zimbabwe), Refresh (Hungary), and Supp.li (Hungary).
The jury – composed of Ms. Anna Guenther, Founder, PledgeMe, New Zealand; Mr. Alberto Constans, Vice President, Opportunity Network, Spain; and Mr. Adrame Ndione, Partner, Ebano Finance, France – assessed the four companies based on their value proposition, social impact, market potential, team strength, and financial model.
The pitching competition was organized by International Trade Centre’s Youth and Trade Programme. Impact Hub’s Accelerate 2030 Programme identified the two African finalists, and Budapest-based Design Terminal the two Hungarian finalists, following a competitive process. All four finalists will benefit from free mentorship from ITC and its partners to improve their products, services, and business models.
Watch an interview with Michale Ocansey of AgroCenta:
Congrats to the winner of our young entrepreneurs pitching competition, Michael Ocansey of AgroCenta in Ghana!Hear how he plans to use the prize of €5,000 to invest in his business, which provides a suite of services for farmers, from transport to the latest market prices to easy payment solutions.Impact Hub Geneva Design Terminál
Posted by International Trade Centre on Thursday, October 26, 2017
Zsolt Balog of Hungary-based Supp.li presented an online platform that connects European food producers with hotels, restaurants, retailers and distributors, making buying and selling food easier, faster, safer and more affordable.
Daniel Lind of Refresh, based in Hungary and Portugal, presented a solution that turns fruits and vegetables destined for the garbage heap into juices, jams, and other goods for sale. Refresh has a related platform called Lettuce Grow that directly connects farmers to small businesses.
Pascal Nyasha of Agrk Group presented a market intelligence platform that allows players in the agricultural sector, from small-scale farmers to policymakers and association members, to access quality market information. As part of the platform, farmers can also use a live chat system to connect with agronomists and buyers.
For more information on WEDF 2017, please visit http://www.intracen.org/wedf
Notes for the editor
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Hungary is an open economy and particular emphasis is placed on encouraging foreign investment and facilitating external trade. In order to ensure the most efficient coordination, all institutions dealing with specific areas of economic diplomacy – trade development, investment promotion, export financing and insurance, Joint Economic Committees and the net of economic diplomats – are supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which considerably increases the speed of the decision-making processes. The major objective of the Hungarian diplomacy thus has been widened and Hungary now considers economic diplomacy and country promotion as a priority.