Blog AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge Winners
CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform and IMPACT Lab Announce the AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge Winners.
Start-ups Across the Globe Provide Impetus for Morocco’s Agri-tech Sector.
Back in March 2022, the CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform, the World Bank, IMPACT Lab, and partners launched the AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge to scout and support agri-tech solutions that could improve the efficiency, equity, and environmental sustainability for the agriculture sector of Morocco while driving forward the goals of Generation Green Strategy 2020-2030. The Challenge targeted innovations that showed a proof-of-concept or minimum viable product that could be made available to farmers, consumers, and users. The idea resonated worldwide, attracting 350+ submissions from 31 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and Europe. The wide participation proves that there are talented entrepreneurs poised to contribute towards making agriculture more sustainable and regenerative with creative products, services, and technologies.
The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge came to a close on Thursday, 28 July with the Demo Day and announcement of the three winners. The top three teams will benefit from post-acceleration support from the A4IP and IMPACT Lab who will proactively follow up with connections made with scientists as well as agri-food companies and other financial partners to help accelerate their growth.
Congratulations go to...
Team: Guy Sela, Co-founder and CEO, and Joshua Ellis, Co-founder and Vice-president
From Sand to Green
Team: Benjamin Rombaut, Co-founder and CEO & Wissal Ben Moussa, Co-founder and Chief Agriculture Officer
Celebrating accelerated start-ups
"The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge confirmed the enormous potential of innovation to solve the challenges of tomorrow’s agriculture while providing dignified jobs and income to farmers. This Challenge also showed that innovation knows no borders, with the participation of many foreign start-ups, and that the implementation of the Generation Green Strategy can benefit from global innovation and vice versa (that Moroccan innovation can be exported beyond borders)”, stated Rémi Trier, Senior Agricultural Specialist from the Agriculture and Food Global Practice at the World Bank.
At the Demo Day, we celebrated the achievements of the top 10 innovations which graduated from the Acceleration Program. Teams actively engaged in a nine-week intensive program that adopted a blended learning approach of business-oriented coaching and scientific technical assistance, including 30+ hours of workshop trainings and expert talks, 90 hours one-on-one business coaching, and 10+ hours of tailored support from 12 CGIAR scientists and 5 industry experts. Start-ups were exposed to new business opportunities with leads initiated with 8 corporate partners, and garnered visibility at the international level by featuring in partners’ social media channels as well as 40+ articles in Moroccan and Pan-African media outlets. This program prepared teams to validate their innovations by developing an actionable pathway to scale, strengthening the scientific validity their solution, and exploring avenues for collaborations with CGIAR, partners, and other institutions.
The Demo Day offered a virtual platform for accelerated start-ups to pitch their innovations live to the Selection Committee and an audience of key ecosystem actors, corporates, public institutions, scientists, investors, and the media. Each team was allocated three minutes to present their solution followed by a five-minute Q&A with the Selection Committee, comprising partner representatives. The Selection Committee evaluated start-up pitches against the criteria of the quality of the value proposition, the project’s relevance to the context of Morocco and contributions towards the Generation Green Strategy, sustainability and scalability, scientific relevance, the maturity stage, and team potential and commitment demonstrated throughout the Acceleration Program.
The Demo Day was an opportunity to also hear from 5 mature start-ups who pitched their inspiring innovations and answered questions from the audience.
Thank you, partners!
The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge would not have been made possible without the continued support of project partners. The A4IP thanks the Digital Development Partnership, administered by the World Bank, for financing the Challenge as well as IMPACT Lab, GIZ, the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests of Morocco, le Pôle d’Agriculture Digitale (PAD), Agrinova, and Adaptation of African Agriculture Foundation who offered a range of expert mentoring, its partnership and connections. We also would like to thank partners for their time, insights, and support in the selection process, and for mobilizing their networks to promote the Challenge.
Coming up next
The AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge caught the attention of many who either applied or engaged in its content through our events – starting with the kick-off event in March through to the Demo Day – and website. With this in mind, the A4IP aims to build on the momentum around the Challenge by engaging with all applicants, inviting them to connect and collaborate with others in the innovation ecosystem via A4IP Venture Space, and continue to grow the community of ambitious entrepreneurs, scientists, experts, investors, and agri-tech enthusiasts.
The A4IP team will follow-up on the activities executed over the past months, and invite project partners to reconvene for the Morocco Consultation Workshop in the fall of this year to present an agreement to trackable plans for engagement to take work forward in Morocco.
The A4IP will be working to continue this effort through a number of innovation challenges. “As part of the new CGIAR research portfolio, the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) Region Initiative, that supported this project, the A4IP will replicate the model of the AgriTech4Morocco Innovation Challenge in Uzbekistan and Egypt in the coming months. This is just the beginning, and we look to scale the model worldwide”, said Gianpiero Menza, Senior Partnership and Innovative Finance Officer at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT of CGIAR.
Stay tuned for the next A4IP-led innovation challenges in the pipeline!
Contact us for any questions.