by Sola Fasasi
For three years, Harambe Nigeria has been a force for transformation in the agricultural sector. On the 1st of April, Harambe launched an agricultural business plan competition for agric entrepreneurs within the ages of 21 and 35. Entries for the competition came in from a broad range of agricultural activities, a few being commercial production of livestock, wholesale production of catfish, management of agro waste, bio fertiliser production, farming consultancy, storage of produce, maintenance services, and produce retailing.
27 applicants made the shortlist, then sent in a detailed business plan. In the final stage, entrants were interviewed, and they then defended their business plans before the judges: Mosunmola Umoru of Honeysuckles PTL, Tosin Anibaba of the Fate Foundation, Lucy Kanu of Ideabuilders, and Peter Bankole, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Development Services (EDS) at the Pan-African University. From 11 Candidates who made the final list, three winners emerged – Ikpegbu Tochukwu of Emmanuel Resources (1st place), Adeoye Olukayode and Olakunle Ajayi of Wales and Chase (2nd place) and Adesope Samuel of Adesope Honeywell farms (3rd place).
“We were looking for innovative and sustainable ideas from young upstart entrepreneurs as well as established entrepreneurs with a maximum of one year’s work experience and we are quite happy with the three winners of the competition,” said Tola Sunmonu, the president of Harambe. The winners will receive prizes up to 7.5 million naira in cash and trainings with the EDS, Fate Foundation and Ideabuilders, as well as mentorship platforms, legal counsel and financial investment opportunities. In order to ensure that the winning ideas are successfully implemented and sustained, Harambe Nigeria will be coupling a financial reward with extensive training at renowned institutions such as the EDS and the Fate Foundation. The winning entrepreneurs will receive mentorship and their financial reward will be well managed at specific banks to ensure that they are directed towards the initiative.
This year, Harambe Nigeria’s annual symposium, titled “Watering the Seeds of Tomorrow”, aims to facilitate youth involvement in the agricultural sector as well as support those who are already involved in it. The symposium will is. the major feature of the symposium will be the agribusiness plan competition for youth. “This year’s event will mark the culmination of our 6 month agri-business plan competition,” Sunmonu said. “In addition to presenting the winners with training and financial support, all participants will partook in a 2 day training session in order to work on their ideas with a team of trained experts from the industry. This 3rd annual Harambe Symposium on Youth and Development has one singular focus: providing young agric-entrepreneurs with the opportunities to build and expand their ventures.”
“We are aware of the immense potential that Harambe Nigeria’s 3rd annual symposium has to revolutionize the way Nigerian youth engage with the Agricultural sector… and we are fired up by the possibilities,” she said.