Renewable Energy Innovation Fund to Serve the Agribusiness Sector

Toward the end of 2020, the Palestine Techno Park in a consortium with FLOW Accelerator has commenced its 12 -months project in partnership with GROW a project funded by the Government of Canada  through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and in cooperation with the Ministry of National Economyunder the name “Renewable Energy to Serve the Agribusiness Sector.” The project aims to provide a complete, sustainable and creative environment and approach for youth individuals or groups, particularly females, to innovate, test and scale up ideas related to renewable energy solutions in agribusiness and create concrete opportunities for a successful launch of start-ups within the domain.

The pre-launch and preparatory phase of the project included the assessment of the agribusiness sector to find gaps that can be addressed through renewable energy. Moreover, awareness sessions were carried out to inform the public and in particular local universities of the importance of the intersectionality between renewable energy and the agribusiness sector in Palestine. The awareness sessions also introduced the project and urged those interested to apply in order to create solutions and proceed to solve piths addressed from the needs-assessment phase. The participants are students and recent graduates between the age of 19 and 29 with a degree or pursuing a degree in renewable energy, food engineering, engineering, agriculture, art, health, biomedicine, and energy. Moreover, the application is also open to young male and female designers and entrepreneurs working in the agribusiness and/or the renewable energy industries.

The project had then recruited about 50 participants to take part of a five-day Hackathon that  included coaching, teams work, teams support, practicing demos and pitching events. The topics were designed on a startups methodology and to foster the entrepreneurial style. The main curriculum topics that will was delivered in a generic coaching sessions basis are: “Entrepreneurial Mindset and Startups Conceptualization”, “Recent trends in Renewable energy”, “Business Model and Value Proposition Canvas”, “Crucial Business Plan Components”, “Pitching content and skills”, “Design Thinking, “Wire frame and user journey”, “Financial Planning” and “Marketing Strategies” and “Storytelling.”

By the end of the fourth day of the Hackathon participants  submited the following: a pitch deck, a mock-up or a sketch, user journey, business model canvas, value proposition canvas and an initial business plan for their ideas.

Finally, a jury had composed to select the top ideas to proceed to the incubation period. The main objective of the incubation is to assess, develop & improve a business concept & model and boost entrepreneurial competencies & skills, starting from the ideating and going through the concepting to reach solidly to kick off as a committing startup that is able to develop an MVP and ready to sign a co-founder shareholder agreement and start attracting investors money. The winners  then received funding to bring their ideas into fruition.

The winners:

  • Sunseed - created a new hydroponic system where it can be modified in size and shape to fit in any available space, increase production, and decrease electricity consumption; and as a result, families can grow their own organic fresh food for low cost in front of their doorstep.
  • Dreez - Designing a device that rely in solar panels that increase the shelf life of fruits for 2-3 years such as strawberries and dates and maintain their shape, taste and nutritional values, and stored in any temperature, and to be available for customers all the year in an attractive packaging.
  • Fertilizer Pen - A fertilizer pen for plant nutrition. An agricultural and technical solution for modern use, through fertilizer pen that gives the optimum amount of fertilizer and irrigation that plant needs and give feedback/recommendation for the best crop that can the farmers plant.
  • Ecogas - provides a unit to convert waste into biogas and organic fertilizer. The conversion unit operates using renewable energy sources, in which would help reduce the running costs, and ease environment control of the conversion process. This would result in high efficiency of the system and high purity of products.
  • AgriLive - is a high-tech platform specialized in agricultural field of smart irrigation and fertilization (Fertigation). This provides data collection over solar-powered IoT devices (sleeping nodes), data analyzation through AI algorithms, and help the farmer in the process of adjusting the quantities of irrigation and fertilizers. This will lead to higher yields at the lowest possible cost.

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