By Dipo Olowookere
A company based in Kwara State, Nigeria has emerged winner of the first Africa edition of the Scaling Up Nutrition Pitch Competition.
The firm, Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics, won the grand prize after competing with the continent’s most exciting enterprises working to improve access to nutritious foods.
The competition was held at the Nutrition Africa Investor Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics was established in 2014 to provide reliable cold chain solutions for Nigeria’s food industry, thereby reducing post-harvest losses.
Collecting the award, owner of the firm, Ope Olanrewaju said, “Winning the pitch competition is so exciting! I am delighted to see recognition for companies working to reduce post-harvest losses. This experience has been wonderful, the training has added value to my business.”
Organised by the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN), the Pitch Competition is an initiative of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a Swiss Foundation, and the UN World Food Program (WFP), plus local partners.
The competition showcased investment opportunities presented by SMEs working to improve access to nutritious food. Out of more than 450 outstanding entries, 21 SMEs were shortlisted from national pitch competitions in Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia.
Concurrent to this pitch competition was a ‘Nutrition Deal Room’ for larger investment opportunities facilitated by Africa Business Magazine with Asoko Insights. Fokko Wientjes, Vice President, Nutrition in Emerging Markets of Royal DSM, a purpose-led, global science-based company active in nutrition who participated in the initiative reported: “With 130 deal room discussions involving 20 investors and more than 20 companies, we can call this first ever Nutrition Africa Impact Forum a success!” All of the companies featured in both the Pitch Competition and in the Nutrition Dealroom comprise a part of GAIN’s pipeline of companies improving access to nutritious food. GAIN will be following up on these exciting investment opportunities as part of its New Nutritious Foods Financing Programme.
These two initiatives took place during the high-level Nutrition Africa Investor Forum attended by over 200 business leaders, policy makers and prominent development campaigners focused on unlocking the business potential of small and medium enterprises working to improve the nutritional quality of the food system across Africa.
In addition to looking at private investments in nutrition, the forum called for effective leadership to drive collective action to improve nutrition.
Former president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, urged the influential gathering to do everything within their power to tackle malnutrition in order to deliver on national and international obligations and targets to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Saul Morris, Director of Programmes at GAIN, said: “There are concrete things that we can do to scale up access to nutritious food in Africa and there are fantastic people and small and medium enterprises doing them!”
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