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Heifer Ethiopia has launched this year’s AYuTe Ethiopia Challenge, which aims to identify innovative tech-based solutions to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the country.

Applications for AYuTe, which stands for Agriculture, Youth, and Technology, will be accepted until June 23, 2024. A total of $20,000 will be awarded to three outstanding projects.

The AYuTe Ethiopia Challenge is the national edition of the AYuTe Africa Challenge, an initiative of Heifer International, a development organization working to eradicate global hunger and poverty.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

According to Timotios Borsamo, Program Director of Heifer Ethiopia, with 525 competitors participating last year, they anticipate even greater participation in the current edition.

Timotios informed Shega that the challenge is open to all Ethiopian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30. He encouraged submissions of creative ideas and tech-driven solutions to tackle key challenges within Ethiopia’s agricultural sector. This year, Heifer is committed to ensuring that at least fifty percent of the opportunities are given to women.

“We have assembled a panel of five judges who are experts in entrepreneurship and agriculture,” said Timothy. “Shortlisted ideas will be invited to pitch their projects to the judges.”

Timotios further explained, “We will recognize the top fifteen ideas and collaborate closely with them to refine their projects and connect them with potential investors.” He highlighted Heifer’s ongoing support for last year’s finalists, assisting them in developing their ideas.

The total prize money of $20,000 will be distributed among the top three winners: $10,000 for first place, $6,500 for second, and $3,500 for third. Winners will also be able to compete in the AYuTe Africa continental challenge.

This year marks the third edition of the AYuTe Africa Challenge. Samson Alemu, Co-founder and CEO of THUR Biotech emerged victorious in last year’s AYuTe Ethiopia Challenge. THUR is a biotechnology startup that uses bacteria to manufacture biofertilizers.

“It was an excellent competition,” Samson told Shega. “The competition has opened doors to various technologies across Africa. We have also been presented with the opportunity to expand into Rwanda, with the country’s Minister of Agriculture offering seed funding and land for their operations.”

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Daniel, a writer and radio host, has a keen interest in technology. Additionally, he has supported various organizations by enhancing their digital presence in his role as a social media manager.