RemoteWell, Godaam Technologies and Digitt+ present Top Ideas at Zar Zaraat agri-startup competition

Zar Zaraat

“Agriculture, as a sector, holds the key to prosperity, food security, and the socioeconomic upliftment of our rural communities…Continuous innovation and development within the agricultural sector, therefore, are vital for the economic development and sustainability of Pakistan” said Zafar Masud, President & CEO of The Bank of Punjab, while speaking at the BoP-sponsored Zar Zaraat start-up competition at Pakistan Agricultural Coalition’s Agri-Connections 2024 conference and expo.

RemoteWell, an IoT device that offers wireless switching, scheduling, and controlling of watering systems of farms, Godaam Technologies, which aims to reinvent warehousing by digitalizing site availability and booking, giving end-to-end visibility of goods and Digitt+ an Agri-fintech that aims to enhance financial inclusion and sustainable agriculture by leveraging innovative technology,  seeking to optimize transaction efficiency, empower smallholder farmers with timely financial support, and encourage innovative partnerships, came out as the Top Ideas of the ZarZaraat start-up competition at Agri-Connections 2024.

“We at Pakistan Agricultural Coalition believe that the future of Pakistan’s agriculture relies on the transition of our farmers beginning to think of themselves as businessmen,” said Raashid Anwer, Convenor of Pakistan Agricultural Coalition, while explaining the ZarZaraat segment.

“The idea behind this fascinating project is to create a pipeline for the investors in the agriculture space,” said Mr. Zafar Masud while speaking at the BoP-sponsored Zar Zaraat start-up competition at Pakistan Agricultural Coalition’s Agri-Connections 2024 conference and expo.

Ms. Maria Saleem of Fatima Group explained that 35 applications were received from various agri companies and shortlisted to seven which were then judged by a jury under the chairmanship of Mr. Yawar Ali of Nestle Pakistan. Other jurors included Mr. Sarfraz Hussain of Bank of Punjab, Ms. Naz Khan of IFC, Ms. Maria Saleem of Fatima Group, Mr. Muneer Kamal of Pakistan Banks’ Association, Mr. Kazim Saeed of Pakistan Agricultural Coalition, and Mr. Hasan Khurram Hanif, a progressive farmer.

The three companies shortlisted by the jury, Digitt+, Godaam Technologies, and RemoteWell, were invited to pitch in front of a group of investors representing various entities including Mr. Asif Riaz from The Bank of Punjab, Mr. Navid Goraya of Karandaaz, Mr. Habib Saqib of Fatima Gobi Ventures, Mr. Kashif Thanvi of Acumen Fund, Mr. Shahbaz Malik of Hilton Pharma, and Mr. Khurram Jamali of Din Ventures. Each finalist got a chance to explain their product/service in front of this panel to raise investment for their venture and also received cash prizes sponsored by The Bank of Punjab.

Mr. Zafar Masud elaborated that the Bank of Punjab is also evaluating to support the shortlisted companies through concessional financing under the Punjab Rozgar and the PM’s Youth Business & Agricultural Loans schemes.

He also stressed the importance of giving the Zar Zaraat platform to Agric companies to come and pitch their ideas and raise investments while giving examples of successful startups around the world that are transforming the global agriculture sector, such as, Kiva, Hello Tractor in Africa, and Bigbasket in India, and others.

Navid Goraya, Chief Investment Officer of Karandaaz, an investment platform of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced that each finalist will get one day of counseling and advice from Karandaaz experts to improve their business models and findability.

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