Nigeria made a significant footprint in Africa on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 as two of our entrepreneurs, Ope Olanrewaju and Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo emerged as winners at the 2018 Scaling Up Nutrition Pitch Competition. The competition which held on October 16, 2018 was organized by the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
The Scaling Up Nutrition Pitch Competition is an international business competition targeted at showcasing scalable SME investments that can catalyze innovation in local food systems and improve access to nutritious and safe foods for low income consumers across Africa. The award categories for the competition are: The Overall SBN Nutrition Champion Award, the DSM Nutrition Innovation Award, the Growth Africa Prize, the Graca Machel Trust Award and the BoP Innovation Centre Award.
Over 450 SMEs from across Africa applied for the SUN Pitch Competition and through rigorous selection processes at various levels, 21 top businesses qualified as finalists, 5 of which were NutriPitch Entrepreneurs from Nigeria, namely: Hakeem Jimo (CEO, Veggie Victory), Ifeoluwa Olatayo (CEO, Soupah Kitchen), Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo (CEO, Augustsecrets), Oluyemisi Obe (CEO, Prothrive) and Ope Olanrewaju (CEO, Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics). Other countries represented at the final competition are Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
Ope Olanrewaju, CEO of Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics (KCCL) from Kwara State, Nigeria emerged as the overall SBN Nutrition Champion Award Winner for the 2018 SUN Pitch Competition. This award was unanimously given to KCCL by the judges in recognition of his outstanding pitch and his innovative and scalable solution in contributing to a strengthened food system by enabling the preservation of nutritional value of food products as they move through the value chain. The award which includes specialised technical assistance worth USD 15,000 will be provided at country level and in Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo of Augustsecrets (Lagos, Nigeria) also emerged as the winner of the ‘Gender Lens Investing’ Award by the Graca Machel Trust. This award was given to deliver mentorship and technical assistance worth $10,500 to scale a promising business that has a substantive impact on the empowerment of women and in nutrition in Africa.
Following the competition, our top 5 entrepreneurs also had several deal meetings with several investors from the Nutrition Africa Investor Forum to explore investment and partnership opportunities to scale their businesses within and outside Nigeria.
Prior to the Scaling Up Nutrition Pitch Competition in Kenya, the top 5 entrepreneurs from Nigeria had participated and were thoroughly prepared through the NutriPitch Accelerator Programme developed by Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) Nigeria, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and FATE Foundation, dedicated to scaling up nutrition and food safety focused businesses that are innovatively supporting the value chain to improve diet and malnutrition issues in Nigeria.
While we are very excited about these Big Wins, we are particularly very grateful to all our NutriPitch Volunteer Faculties, Advisors and Coaches who committed huge amounts of time, knowledge, skills and experience in equipping our NutriPitch Entrepreneurs to position their businesses for growth and scale. We specially want to acknowledge our NutriPitch Course Director, Professor Olugbenga Ogunmoyela, for being so personally committed to each of the NutriPitch businesses, guiding them to refine their nutrition solution and impact and position them for scale.
We are very proud of our entrepreneurs’ achievements to date and we wish them continued successes as they scale their businesses and impact the African economy.