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Entrepreneurship Award

The Project Incubator Award, which was first launched in 2008, has been instrumental in identifying, showcasing and supporting innovative and entrepreneurial agricultural initiatives around the African continent. Since its inception, the prize has become one of the key features of the annual EMRC AgriBusiness Forums.

Considering the exceptional calibre of the 2015 finalists, the Award jury decided to allocate the US$15,000 prize to two winners: first place went to Ruth Kinoti, of Shalem Investments in Kenya, and a runner-up prize was awarded to Voziyo Innocente, from the Mama Soleil Palm oil cooperative in the DRC.

Shalem Investments started by buying grain in bulk and selling it to local institutions, with help of a loan from the teachers’ union. In due course, Shalem Investments expanded and by 2004 Kinoti got another loan, this time from the Cooperative Bank. In 2009, East Africa Breweries, a major Kenyan brewer, started producing a low-cost beer with sorghum, which helped create a market for local farmers. Shalem has responded to this opportunity by helping 1,200 small-scale sorghum producers in Kenya gain access to markets, increasing their collective production to 4,000 metric tonnes over the past 5 years, and creating significant gains in income and productivity.

Ruth Kinoti

Shalem Investments (Kenya)

EMRC-Rabobank Project Incubator Award 2015

" What I will always remember is that I managed to share my project and my dreams in front of people from all over the world. The audience was remarkable and winning the award is a moment that I am sure will change my business forever."

Previous Awards

Standing out from within the crowded private sector, they have demonstrated excellence in business. Through social impact and sustainability they represent a truly innovative African private sector.

AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2014

Magloire N’Dakon

Extend Finance of the Ivory Coast

"I have already received some significant attention whilst still at the forum. DEG, the host organisation, approached me the following day to hear more about my project. They were very enthusiastic and interested to find funding for it. This in itself is fantastic. Receiving recognition from such a significant bank and coming back to the Ivory Coast with the award, the money and already a potentially very important backer! "

"What more can I ask for?!"

"We have already received promises of banking and support from the Ministry of Agriculture. This extra US$15.000 will really enable us to see the project take off, which is therefore perfect. It is exciting for us to know that not only did we present our project to such a diverse and exclusive audience but on top of that we won and will know receive the much needed revenue and visibility."


EMRC-Rabobank Project Incubator Award 2013

Jean Claude Ruzibiza

Owner and Managing Director of Rwanda Best

"The Agribusiness forum has been a great opportunity for me and my company to gain exposure to a wide and varied business community where potential business partnerships are emerging. During the B2B meetings we shared knowledge and experience and discussed possible solutions to meet challenges in our businesses."

"Among the significant people I met, I can mention the financial institutions leaders, high experienced agribusiness companies, high quality seeds producers and of course EMRC leaders, to whom I extend my heartfelt thanks for initiating this platform to promote business development in Africa."


AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2013

Marie-Claire Matamba

Agrimat (Gabon)

"I would say so much has changed. The Project Incubator Award created a momentum that I never foresaw. In the space of one year I have:I received the full support of the Government and I am now used as an example championed by various Ministries to promote agriculture and SMEs throughout the country.

I have media companies coming regularly to interview me and film my various farming activities which in turn have given me free publicity. Some of these interviews have also been shown in other African countries, once again giving me market visibility beyond Gabon.

Most importantly, with the money I have increased my overall production and been recognised at the national and regional level."


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We seek to empower the spirit of entrepreneurship in Africa

  • Facilitate access to finance
  • Connect businesses horizontally and vertically
  • Create an exchange of know-how
  • Engage the relevant Public-Private dialogue
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