Six African SMEs have been nominated as finalists for the African Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship Award 2017, supported by the Rabobank Foundation. Out of the 51 projects from around the continent and following a few rounds of selection, the jury has selected these ground-breaking projects from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania for their social, economic and ecological impact, and their potential for growth and jobs creation nationally and regionally. The winner will be announced during the African Finance & Investment Forum 2017, which will be held in Nairobi from 13-16 February, 2017.
The AFIF is an annual business event organized in the framework of EMRC International’s activities, aimed at strengthening the private sector in Africa, encouraging entrepreneurship and attracting investment to the African continent. The AFIF Entrepreneurship Award aims to provide African-based SMEs with support to grow their businesses. The six finalists will receive a free accreditation to join the AFIF 2017 full program — conferences, trainings, B2B meetings and networking opportunities. The award winner will receive a cash prize and one year of national and international media promotion.
Lazaro Mwakipesile (Raphael Group, Tanzania), winner of the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2015, revealed that thanks to the AFIF, his company has benefited from international exposure. “I have traveled abroad four times this year to present our company. I expect to travel to the United States soon for a meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” he said.
Official finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 include:
- Aybar Engineering (Ethiopia): The company has developed the “Aybar BBM,” a technology that prevents excess water from suffocating crops and stores it for later use. There is no other similar technology on the market.
- RnG Company Limited (Kenya): RnG sells packaged Rhizo-fix (groundnut inoculum), a biofertilizer that ensures a more efficient groundnut production. It also collects the groundnuts from local farmers to produce affordable cooking oil.
- EuroFresh Exotics (Kenya): Eurofresh produces and exports fresh fruits and vegetables using cutting-edge farming techniques. Additionally, the company organizes capacity building trainings for smallholder farmers.
- First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics (Nigeria): With a mission to improve farming productivity, First Atlantic Semiconductors has developed the “Zenvus,” an intelligent solution to collect soil data using a system of electronic sensors.
- Kimolo Super Rice (Tanzania): The company specializes in processing and marketing branded rice and sunflower oil. Smallholder farmers involved in the project produce paddy using water run-off from nearby hills.
- Eco Act (Tanzania): Eco Act was established to address the challenges of urban waste management, plastic pollution, deforestation and climate change. They recycle and transform post-consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally responsible plastic lumber.
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“We are delighted to announce the finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 after a really difficult selection process. The innovation and creativity of African-based SMEs make our job more difficult every year. We look forward to welcoming these and many more entrepreneurs at the AFIF 2017 in Nairobi,” said Inês Bastos, EMRC senior project manager.
The new edition of the AFIF will be held for the first time in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by Strathmore University. In line with growing international trends, the AFIF will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and access to finance in key sectors such as energy, water, ICT health and agriculture. Delegates (SMEs managers, investors, entrepreneurs, etc.) will come from across the globe to participate in this year’s forum.