Press and News Winners of the AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge Announced

On 29 April 2024, the AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge came to a rewarding close during its final Demo Day, hosted by the CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform and Hackonnect. This milestone event marked the completion of a one-year project which attracted 571 innovation teams vying for tailored support in contributing to food systems transformation in Uzbekistan and Central Asia.  

The online Demo Day showcased the achievements of the 10 innovation teams who successfully graduated from the initiative’s comprehensive acceleration program, hailing from Uzbekistan, India, Tanzania, Poland, and Egypt. In addition, the event offered insights into Uzbekistan’s innovation ecosystem via welcome remarks from project partners, a keynote address from Jamshid Abduzuxurov, Agriculture Production Department Head at the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Uzbekistan, and presentations from two guest growth-stage start-ups – Pastoral and AI-GENIX INTERNATIONAL PVT LD.  

In the event’s main programing, the ten teams pitched their agri-tech solutions to a Selection Committee representing project partners, each aiming to secure recognition as winners of the AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge, eligibility for post-acceleration support, and consideration for a share of the equity-free grant. Following their pitches, teams then fielded questions from the Committee and audience, after which the Committee evaluated each solution based on defined criteria, including applicability to Uzbekistan’s most critical agrifood system challenges, relevance to CGIAR science, novelty, sustainability, business model scalability and growth potential, team capacity, and acceleration program participation.  

Throughout the 3-month acceleration program, teams were trained through a combination of business mentorship, scientific technical assistance, and networking opportunities, collectively aiding the development of actionable roadmaps to scale their solutions, strengthen scientific validity, and explore collaborations with project partners and CGIAR research centers and initiatives. 

Winners of the AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge Announced  -Statistics card

To rewatch the Demo Day

The journey to date 

The AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge was launched in June 2023 through a rigorous selection process, focusing on early-stage innovations demonstrating a Minimum-Viable-Product (MVP) or Proof-of-Concept (PoC), all aimed at addressing the pressing needs of farmers and end-users while making agriculture in Uzbekistan sustainable, more efficient, and resilient to climate change. With focus areas ranging from digital agriculture to optimizing supply management, 22 teams were selected for an intensive bootcamp and pitch day held in Tashkent in September. Out of the 22 teams, 10 emerged as finalists, advancing to the fully sponsored acceleration program.  

Acknowledgements 

The AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge was organized by the CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform as part of the CGIAR Regional Integrated Initiative, Fragility to Resilience in Central and West Asia and North Africa (F2R-CWANA).  

Since its assessment and design phase, the AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge was made possible by the continued support from CGIAR Centers – The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, ICARDA, and IWMI – as well as Hackonnect, innoWIUT Entrepreneur’s Lab of Westminster International University in Tashkent, the United Nations Development Programme Uzbekistan, FAO, the Agency of Innovative Development under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan through the AKIS Center, Indorama, the Uzbekistan Venture Capital Association, the Tashkent State Agrarian University, and the International Agriculture University. Credit also extends to the Innovation Packages and Scaling Readiness team of CGIAR, the CGIAR Initiative on Excellence in Agronomy Initiative, Scaling Scan through CIMMYT, and the CGIAR Hub for Sustainable Finance (ImpactSF) for their support in leading workshops on CGIAR’s scaling tools during the acceleration program.   

The AgriTech4Uzbekistan Innovation Challenge set out to make a tangible impact on the ground in Uzbekistan, and thanks to the winning teams, finalists and project partners, the future holds promise for significant strides toward a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable agricultural sector in Uzbekistan and Central Asia.  

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