Mark Musinguzi, the founder of Hya Bioplastics in Uganda is the winner of the annual GoGettaz Agriprenuer Prize for the year 2022.
Musinguzi and a colleague from Kenya Esther Kimani, each were awarded $50,000 grand prize at the African Green Revolution Forum’s gala dinner in Kigali, Rwanda during the Africa Food Prize Awards ceremony that was graced by President Paul Kagame.
Emerging victorious among the women agripreneurs, Esther Kimani and her company FarmerLifeLine Technologies invented a device that helps Kenyan farmers to get ahead of pests and pathogens with a proprietary disease detection device that leverages solar-powered cameras, artificial intelligence, data analytics and machine learning.
Among the men, grand prize winner Musinguzi of Hya Bioplastics wants to lead Africa in sustainable food packaging with an innovative biodegradable product solution that provides a cost competitive alternative to petroleum-based plastic packaging.
According to the organisers of the awards, the call for applications in June this year, aimed at supporting food warriors finding solutions to transform Africa’s food system.
They added that apart from the funds, winners would access education, mentorship, and investment networks to help them launch, grow, or scale up their agrifood venture.
Commenting on the awards, Fernada Lopse, the executive vice-president for Asia & Africa, Yara International, who awarded the winners on behalf of the Generation Africa co-founders, commended the young entrepreneurs, adding that their ventures were making a positive impact on communities, their environment, and the local economy.
With 12 top-class finalists in this year’s GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition, four additional Impact Awards winners were merited and will receive $2,500. These are Eloge Niyomwungere, founder of Best Food Solution in Burundi; Nancy Iraba co-founder of Healthy Seaweed Company in Tanzania; Noël N’guessan co-founder of LONO in Côte d’Ivoire; and Seynabou Dieng, co-founder of Maya Sarl in Senegal.
Generation Africa co-founder Svein Tore Holsether, CEO and President of Yara International, commended the finalists and implored them to become role models in society.
AGRF head Emeritus Strive Masiyiwa, advised to winners to work harder, adding that their innovations could save the African continent and ensure that millions of people do not starve, and that millions will be able to overcome the challenges created by climate change among others.
“The true winners are not going to be because you got a prize, but because you were inspired and encouraged to go on to do greater things with your entrepreneurial venture, and that you reached out where the need was greatest, and the help was least,” Masiyiwa said.