October 19-27, 2021

Theme Five of the Global Agriculture Innovation Forum focuses on Innovations in Entrepreneurship, Especially Among Youth. In low-income countries, most employment, especially in the agricultural sector is informal, or family-based.  New models of how agriculture operates are arising, often incorporating aspects of increased knowledge, technology and sophistication. Innovations in the development of value-added agricultural products are attractive to entrepreneurs, especially women and youth. In developing countries, such entrepreneurship is often found in the so-called “gig” economy, where populations lacking land and capital are nevertheless able to successfully innovate and operate. Innovations in micro-financing also open opportunities for populations previously denied entry to participation in agricultural businesses.

The moderated session entitled Innovations in Women’s and Youth Entrepreneurship features three speakers drawn from around the globe and from a range of institutions. Their ten-minute presentations focus on: (i) enhancing support for youth and women-led agribusiness enterprises; (ii) increasing agency among women and youth; and (iii) youth-friendly digital finance. As with previous sessions, this program wraps-up with 30 minutes of moderated questions and answers.

A companion session for Theme Five focuses on a Pitch Contest. For this, Purdue University partnered with Farm Foundation and THRIVE Africa to focus on innovations needed to improve agriculture and food systems worldwide by helping startup organizations put creative solutions into action. Five finalists selected to participate in the THRIVE Africa Pitch Event present their ideas for how to spark innovation in systems that impact agricultural producers, supply chain actors and marketers throughout the food-system value chain.  A panel of distinguished judges evaluate and select the winning innovation pitch, whose leader wins the opportunity to travel to the United States to receive mentorship and engage in networking to help bring their solution to fruition.