In late June, Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) launched the Nestlé Needs Youth (NNY) Agri Competition, in partnership with the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa.
The competition presents an opportunity for youth agripreneurs to win mentorship and coaching opportunities totalling over US$30 000 (about R480 000) through the Branson Centre’s Ignite Business Accelerator, an investor-readiness and go-to-market programme. The motivation behind the competition is to encourage agripreneurship among young people across East and Southern Africa.
The competition is open to people of all genders between the ages of 18 and 30, living in East or Southern Africa. Entries close on 31 July 2022. In August, five candidates will be shortlisted, and they will pitch for one of the three top prizes, worth a total of US$30 000 (about R480 000), courtesy of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship SA.
Fostering agricultural development
Speaking about the competition and Nestlé’s partnership with the Branson Centre, Desiree Zikalala, Nestlé’s head of learning and development for ESAR, says: “Many of Africa’s economies have agrarian foundations, from community all the way to national level, and through this competition, we are looking to support and encourage young people to participate in this economic sector. There are several transformative prospects in agriculture that desperately need young people to step in and lead, and we believe the Ignite programme placements that are up for grabs will help facilitate those opportunities.
“We intend for the NNY Agri Competition to open further dialogue on young people in agriculture, and help build transformative networks that support agripreneurship, employment and employability.”
A solution to the pervasive skills gap in agriculture in Africa is capacity development, mentorship, and coaching support. This will accelerate the evolution of the sector and the achievement of better efficiencies, improved processes, and cutting-edge technologies. As drivers of innovation, young people on the continent are poised to lead and leapfrog this shift.
“This is an important partnership to accelerate some of the top solutions to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture through youth-led innovations. We look forward to building on and supporting the top three pitches with Nestlé Needs Youth to enable [the candidates’] access to finance, new markets and networks through Ignite,” says Nwabisa Mayema, strategic partnerships director at the Branson Centre.
The competition will award the top three candidates placements in the Branson Centre’s Ignite programme.
The first prize is the Ignite Investment for Scale programme, an intensive six-month mentorship and coaching programme that will help the winning agripreneur get their business investor ready. The programme features fortnightly mentoring, and access to industry professionals and business coaches across eight critical areas in business, namely purpose, planning, product, brand, people, processes, finance, and partnerships.
The second prize is the three-month Ignite Access to Markets programme, which focuses on mentoring, coaching and enabling agripreneurs in the early stages of their businesses to build strong platforms in order to win new partnerships and gain access to market. This programme features fortnightly mentoring, as well as access to industry professionals and business coaches across four critical areas in business, namely purpose, planning, product, and partnerships.
The third prize is the Ignite Ideation into Action programme, one-month mentoring scheme that gives agripreneurs access to industry professionals and business coaches across three critical areas to help turn ideation into action, namely purpose, planning, and product.