Monday 23 September, 2019

Frozen dessert company takes top prize at first Agripreneur Summit

From left to right First runner up Jameel Phillip, owner of Green Thumb Gardens, WHYFARM Executive Director Alpha Sennon, Renee Andrews - Manager and founder at Sorvete-tt Winner of AMPITUP TT, Second runner up Oje Alexander owner of Happy Family Farms. Photo courtesy WHYFARM.

From left to right First runner up Jameel Phillip, owner of Green Thumb Gardens, WHYFARM Executive Director Alpha Sennon, Renee Andrews - Manager and founder at Sorvete-tt Winner of AMPITUP TT, Second runner up Oje Alexander owner of Happy Family Farms. Photo courtesy WHYFARM.

Renee Andrews, chef and founder of local online frozen dessert company Sorvette-tt, has been named T&T’s Next Top Agripreneur.  

She walked away with the top prize – a cash prize and all-expenses-paid trip to the 2020 Thought For Food (TFF) Global Academy and Summit in Asia - after delivering her final pitch at the 1st Agripreneur Mastermind Programme Trinidad and Tobago (AMPITUP TT).

The winners of the programme were selected at WHYFARM’s 1st Agripreneur Summit held at the Hyatt Regency last Tuesday, the largest local gathering of young agripreneurs which focused on changing the attitudes and lack of focus on the local agriculture sector.

Jameel Phillip of Green Thumb Gardens and Oje Alexander of Happy Farmly Products Ltd took the second and third prize respectively.

Andrews praised the AMPITUP TT programme for the insight and knowledge given to the 13 participants in the programme.

“I saw not only my business but myself in a different light as I progressed in the programme,” she said. She commended the programme’s focus on collaboration over competition and forming partnerships in the local food and agriculture sector.

“I have grown more confident in my ideas and I also have a greater respect for agriculture and intend to partner with more local farmers in the food and dairy industry to incorporate more local produce into my all of my products,” the Sorvette-tt founder added.

Also present at the event was Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Marcia London-McKellar, who praised the initiative and WHYFARM’s commitment to engaging young persons in farming.

She commended WHYFARM’s efforts as she noted that T&T continues to grapple with the challenge of a high food import bill, as well as finding innovative ways to keep the youth productively engaged.

The Summit also featured a panel discussion with five young entrepreneurs who recounted their experiences navigating the agricultural sector.

They listed challenges in acquiring a farmer’s badge, which prevents them from accessing benefits and incentives like reimbursement on the purchase of agricultural equipment, and stressed the need for more support for youth agripreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago.

AMPITUP TT was an eight-week intensive programme and competition, where participants had the opportunity to win over $50,000 in prizes provided by local and international collaborators. 

The programme featured 13 young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35, who were provided with mentorship and lessons in entrepreneurship including ideation, fund-raising, media development, and social media engagement.

Other participants in the programme were:

Dasia Edwards, founder of Living Environment Arts Festival (Leaf)

Julissa George, founder of Godsent Coconut Oil

Keisha Roberts-Kerr, founder of Blue Town Market

Keston Carabon, founder of Grass Youthz Earth Wizards

Dwight De Leon, founder of Local Roots Farm

Curtis Carabi, founder of Carabai’s Fresh Produce

Devon Samlalsingh, founder Read Research and Education for Agricultural Development

La Toya Ross, founder of Aquaponics Stop

Jenelle Hills, founder of Organic Blooms Limited, and

Eshan Khoonj-Beharie, founder of Farm To Farm

Support for the AMPITUp TT programme was provided by the Bill and Melinda Foundation, The Misk Grand Challenges, Thought For Food, Kirchner Impact Institute, Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT), The Agricultural Development Bank, Greenage Farms, The Machel Montano Foundation for Greatness, DMarketMovers Limited, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the HYATT Regency Trinidad.

WHYFARM (We Help You-th Farm) is leading the charge on agricultural educational entertainment (Agri-edutainment) with a mission to promote the importance of sustainable agriculture among youth and children, build their capacity in agricultural entrepreneurship and empower them to contribute to achieving global food and nutrition security by the year 2050.

The organisation is the entity behind characters AGRIMAN and PhotosyntheSista, the world’s first food and nutrition security superheroes. WHYFARM is taking this initiative worldwide, as it is currently in Haiti, Rwanda and Zambia.

WHYFARM is 1 of 15 winners in the 2018 Misk Grand Challenges funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

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