Congratulations to the winners of the Milken-Motsepe Prize in Green Energy!
The Milken-Motsepe Prize in FinTech is now open for registration!

Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech Impact Review

Introductory letter from
Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Founder and CEO, Motsepe Foundation

My family and I have always been great believers in the power of social entrepreneurship and in taking a cross-sector approach to finance and philanthropy. This is why the Motsepe Foundation partnered with the Milken Institute to launch the Milken-Motsepe Innovation Prize Program. We truly believe that anyone, anywhere can have the breakthrough idea that will galvanize much needed technological progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Innovation competitions, such as the Milken-Motsepe Prizes, tap into global entrepreneurial and technological potential. Innovation competitions are an alternative form of philanthropic giving that diversifies talent pools and inspires new voices in the change making process. Considering the thousands of registrants for the competition, the talented finalists that competed, and the five teams that made it to the final awards, the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech has helped to advance the global entrepreneurial community to benefit the larger social sector from the collective work across the program participants, which is undoubtedly worth magnitudes more than the $2 million prize purse itself.

We are immensely proud of each entrepreneur who participated in the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech, and of our winning teams. These teams are now part of our broader family, and we are thrilled to watch them succeed and scale.


Our innovation competitions and programs are designed to incentivize new voices – particularly the unexpected and the bold – to bring fresh ideas for a more resilient, equitable, and thriving world.

About the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech

The Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech was a 2-year, $2 million
global innovation competition that challenged global innovators to demonstrate solutions for smallholder farmers in Africa to utilize tech to bring more food to the table.

More than 80 percent of the entrepreneurs who registered for the competition were based in sub-Saharan Africa.

Community Benefits

All Milken-Motsepe Prize applicants receive a variety of special benefits and early notifications about upcoming competitions and programs.

About the Finalists and Their Experience with the Milken-Motsepe Prize in AgriTech

An expert panel of judges carefully selected 25 teams to receive $250,000 and advance to the finalist round to develop and test their innovations in Africa. Each of the teams took part in a rigorous, independent judging process, which assessed their innovation’s potential to increase farm productivity and/or decrease post-harvest loss.



Teams submitted their design and business model. An independent panel of expert judges selected 25 teams to receive $10,000 each and advance in the competition.


25 finalist teams developed their prototypes and conducted field tests on small and medium-sized farms across Africa.


Finalists received various special benefits spanning data evaluation and capacity building support, to storytelling and content capture. In addition to supporting technological innovation among teams, competition operations also leveraged 4IR technology for data validation.


Decentralized data validation during a global pandemic

The competition operated during the COVID pandemic, and centralized testing was not feasible for the global participants. To ensure rigorous decentralized testing, multiple operational partners supported hybrid data validation. The World Food Programme supported teams to develop field test protocols, run their tests and measure results, and conducted in-person site visits to verify results. TruePic enhanced and expanded monitoring through their image authentication technology. As two teams were conducting their field tests in Uganda during an Ebola outbreak, the TruePic technology additionally provided a platform to verify their data and ensure they could still compete.

Meet the Winners!

The independent judging panel selected 5 winning teams who were announced and celebrated at the 2023 Milken Institute Global Conference, including the $1 million grand prize.

Each year, the Milken Institute Global Conference convenes the best minds in the world to tackle its most urgent challenges and realize its most exciting opportunities. It is a unique experience in which the individuals with capital and influence can connect with those whose expertise and creativity can reinvent health, finance, technology, philanthropy and society. The winning AgriTech teams were celebrated onstage with Mike Milken, Chairman of the Milken Institute, and Dr. Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Chairman of the Motsepe Foundation.

NovFeed, a biotech company based in Tanzania, was awarded the $1 million grand prize for its proprietary technology to upcycle organic waste into nutritious, sustainable and traceable plant-based protein ingredients and concentrated natural biofertilizer for the food system.

The $300,000 award for second place was presented to Karpolax, a Uganda-based company, for its nanotechnology solution that helps fruits and vegetables stay fresh longer without losing nutritional value. The $150,000 award for third place was presented to IRRI-AfricaRice for its biotech innovation to help rice farmers protect their crops from flooding, one of the most damaging effects of climate change.

Bonus prizes of $100,000 each were also announced. Kuronga, based in South Africa, took the bonus prize for most creative use of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies for its machine learning and machine vision mobile app, using AI to connect farmers with buyers and making it easier to validate the quality of crops. COOL LION, a Côte d’Ivoire-based startup that provides cooling-as-a-service solutions for different industries (agriculture, fisheries, etc.) and powered by renewable energy, took home the People’s Choice bonus prize for the most transformative idea according to the public.

Getting an idea off the ground is not easy. We literally had nothing when we were starting the program. We only had an idea, but by the time we were done, we had already interviewed 350 Farmers, engaged more than 5 partners, and developed a product fit and a go-to-market strategy. This is a moment to remember as we build the organization to the next level. For the record, we started with only 5 founding members, and now we are 13.”

I see there’s a lot bigger market than I envisioned, and getting selected itself is a big positive. In the beginning, our product was just local. Now we are thinking more regional. We gained the confidence to scale up.”

I really must take my hat off to the Milken-Motsepe Prize team for putting together and building this platform to make innovators more visible. We’ve really been exposed and opened to some high-quality conversations with high-quality people. I think now we’re more visible and more credible to investors and that’s been amazing.”

Competition Impact within 12 months


in outside funding secured, five times the Grand Prize purse


in average staff growth among prize winners


total end users served

More than a quarter

formed partnerships with competing teams, individuals or entities they met through the competition (e.g., other competing/ winning teams, mentors or industry experts).

More than a quarter

of respondents formally incorporated or licensed

Unrestricted prize funds awarded were used for:

  • 100%: Research and development
  • 67%: Equipment acquisition
  • 67%: Salaries/staff hiring
  • 20%: Leasing land or office space