How a Nigerian Farm, 11 others Won $230,000 in Seed Funding
A Nigerian agribusiness startup, BIC Farms Concepts, and 11 others drawn from across the world have won $230,000 in seed funding from Green Skills Innovation Challenge organised by Ashoka and HSBC Holding Plc.
In a press statement released recently on the website of Ashoka, “Ashoka and HSBC scoured the globe to find a new type of change maker organisation which will be absolutely critical in the coming decade: Green Skills Innovators.
“These are organisations connecting people with the skills needed to make the transition to a Green Economy possible. What is more, these change-makers are ensuring that the communities most in need of opportunity are the ones getting the skills needed to thrive in this new economy. They are simultaneously solving both environmental and social problems.
“We are excited to announce our 12 winners. By equipping people with “green skills” – the abilities they’ll need to step into jobs that positively impact the planet – these 12 organisations have found a way to solve interconnected social and environmental problems. Their approaches are innovative and impactful, and they vary across different sectors, geographies and livelihoods.”
The winners will be awarded up to $20,000 of grant funding from a total prize fund of $230,000. They will also have the opportunity to scale their projects to new levels with mentorship from Ashoka and HSBC.
In a similar statement made available on the website of HSBC Holdings Plc, who partners Ashoka on the seed funding, “the challenge team will decide funding amounts awarded to each winner, but broadly, there will be two categories: Most Innovative Solution and Best Early-stage Solutions.
“Awards in the first category will be granted for solutions with proven models of scaling their impact. Winners will receive a cash prize of up to $20,000 as well as support and mentoring from HSBC and Ashoka on how to scale. Awards in the second category will be granted for solutions with highly innovative ideas which are still at an early-stage. Winners receive a cash prize of up to $15,000 cash prize as well as support and mentoring to help develop their innovation.”
To help solve food insecurity and alleviate pressures on the water in the country, BIC Farms Concepts is utilising hydroponic technology to feed people. Hydroponic technology grows food without soil but with added nutrients.
Reacting to the development, the Chief Executive of BIC Farms Concepts, Adebowale Onafowora, who could not hold his joy, in a statement, said: “I feel so overjoyed! With the fund, we are going to set up a pyrolysis factory to convert rice husk waste to a major raw material for soilless farming. Also, we are gifting a soilless garden to two public schools.”
Onafowora has trained over 20,000 Africans, mostly young people and women, on how to use hydroponic technology for their own farming.
Ashoka is an international organisation that promotes social entrepreneurship while HSBC is a UK-based investment bank.