Ghanaian startup, AgroCenta, was crowned the 2018 Seedstars Global Winner at the fifth edition of the Seedstars Summit which took place on Thursday, 12 April 2018 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Francis Obirikorang founded Agrocenta having in mind to create an online sales platform that could connect smallholder farmers directly to an online market which has a wider geographic size to sell their commodities.
According to Pierre-Alain Masson, co-founder at Seedstars, “Agrocenta won this prize because of the disruption it is creating in the farming industry. It’s very important that investors know that talent is everywhere and that the way startups and tech entrepreneurs in emerging markets are addressing the underlying social challenges in their home countries, be it agriculture or access to finance, basic education, healthcare or energy supply is a tremendous business trend and opportunity.”
For Obirikorang, “winning at the Seedstars Summit will have an enormous impact on my company’s growth and success for the next years. I am sure that, just like other previous winners, it will open funding, learning and growth opportunities. In emerging economies, we lack not only the infrastructure but also access to some fundamental tools like networking and mentoring.
“The Seedstars team is spreading the word about our talent and ideas to their international network dedicated to impact investment and I know I’ll be able to profit from this. Can’t wait to start building on this momentum!”
On top of the $500,000 investment prize for the Seedstars Global Winner, Seedstars and its partners awarded seven additional prizes:
- EDVES, from Nigeria, was awarded the Transforming education prize, by TRECC (Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities) and School of Management Fribourg (HEG Fribourg), winning access to the Seedstars Growth Program worth $50,000.
- Finchat Technologies, from Singapore, won the BBVA open talent prize, receiving an opportunity to participate at their annual BBVA Open Summit in Madrid and network with the most relevant players from their international fintech network.
- Solar Freeze, from Kenya, was the winner of the Africa energy prize by Enel X, which rewards the startup for its innovative solution to provide solar-powered cold storage units to smallholder farmers with no need for grid connection in sub-Saharan Africa. Solar Freeze won access to a three-month programme worth $50,000 in acceleration services.
- EMGuidance, from South Africa, was awarded the Health tech prize by Merck. The prize combines joining Merck Accelerator with financial support of up to €50,000 and office space at the Merck Innovation Center, mentoring, and coaching.
- TAG Heuer, Seedstars World official timekeeper, decided to partner with Seedstars Summit to highlight the role of women entrepreneurs in their own ecosystems and awarded Medsaf, from Nigeria, the best woman entrepreneur prize.
- Alquilando, from Argentina, won the time saviour prize, by TAG Heuer, for their solution to simplify rental process, minimise risk and guarantee rent payments on time, considered to be the one which allows users to save more time of their lives.
- The innovation prize, also by TAG Heuer, was awarded to CMED, from Bangladesh.
- Public prize: one of the highlights of the day is when the public gets to vote for their favourite startup. This year, the Office for Economic Affairs (SPECo) has decided to power it by bestowing the winner, Junkbot Robotics, with a premium gift from Veuve Clicquot, a company from Switzerland and all the support from Canton de Vaud in the future.
The 12 finalist startups were:
- CMED, finalist startup from Bangladesh
- Celcoin, finalist startup from Brazil
- Agrocenta, finalist startup from Ghana
- Junkbot Robotics, finalist startup from United Arab Emirates
- Redcapital, finalist startup from Chile
- Payit, finalist startup from Mexico
- Eve.calls, finalist startup from Ukraine
- GiftedMom, finalist startup from Cameroon
- KarGo, finalist startup from Myanmar
- Medsaf, finalist startup from Nigeria
- SayurBox, finalist startup from Indonesia
- EMGuidance, finalist startup from South Africa