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African agritech startups can win up to $1m in funding in Grow-NY competition

Featured image: Grow-NY via Twitter

Think you business has growth potential in the food and agriculture space?

African agritech startups stand a chance to win up to $1-million in funding in the Grow-NY business competition.

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The competition was launched this year. There will be editions run this year, next year and in 2021. It aims to identify, support and fund the top food, beverage and agriculture startups from across the globe.

Each year, Grow-NY will award $3-million in prize money to seven winners, all payable in stages based on business milestones. The prizes are comprised of one grand prize of $1-million, two $500 000 prizes and four $250 000 prizes.

Applications for the Grow-NY competition will close on 15 July

Competition benefits include mentorship, training, business development support and tax incentives. Applications for the competition close on 15 July.

Twenty finalists will be selected in August. Thereafter, from September, mentoring and business trips will be run, before a pitch competition and summit is held in the US on 12 and 13 November, where the winners will be selected.


To be eligible for the competition, applicants must be an established business entity in the food and agriculture space, and must be in the formative stage.

In addition, prospective applicants must have a:

  • Business that is less than seven years from date of registration
  • First product or service that is either in the testing or pilot production stage
  • Business that is either pre-revenue or early revenue
  • Leadership team and investors working toward commercialisation and profitability

In instances where the business is a spin-off from an existing business that does not meet the eligibility criteria, the new entity must be pursuing a substantially new technology or business model.

Grow-NY states that the competition is open to startups on every point in the agrifood value chain that are aim to serve a growing population, while striving to employ sustainable, environmentally conscious or healthy methods.

This includes companies that:

  • Research and design new crop varieties
  • Offer new methods and or tools to support the efficient growing, monitoring, and harvesting of crops and livestock
  • Offer new and or improved methods for producing, preparing, and packaging food and beverage products or ingredients

Judges will base award decisions on, viability of commercialisation and business model, customer value, food and agriculture innovation, job creation and team quality.

Awardee location requirement

Awardees must locate and or conduct business in the Grow-NY region of New York State — which includes Central New York, Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier — for at least 12 months.

Grow-NY prizes will be distributed through a contract, with provisions tied to operating in New York State and a requirement to repay the award if the residency requirement is not met.

The agreement also contains a “pay it forward” provision in the form of an equity warrant. Prize payments will be made in stages, based on milestone completion.

Featured image: Grow-NY via Twitter

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