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AI in agriculture: George Mwangolo’s project dubbed Baobab wins $2,500

#FeatureByAiducation. George is an aspiring architect with dreams that don't fit within the confines of blueprints and concrete.

Left to right: Tony Blair (Baobab co-founder), Susana Tavares, Benedikt Oeschger and George Mwangolo during Aiducation's summer school program

Close your eyes and imagine Kenya - vast savannahs, lush green hills, and bustling cities with a rhythm that beats to the heart of its people.

Now, imagine the life of a smallholder farmer here, where for the last decade, every dawn has a gamble against the volatile nature of agriculture.

That's a world George Mwangolo knows intimately, growing up in Kilifi county where smallholder farmers are the unsung heroes, the breadwinners of the community.

At just 26 years old, George is an aspiring architect with dreams that don't fit within the confines of blueprints and concrete.

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Instead, he's carving a future for smallholder farmers, one pixel at a time, through his groundbreaking project, Baobab.

Baobab wasn't born in isolation. It was nurtured in the fertile grounds of George's mind and shaped by his experiences.

His brainchild is an AI-powered platform designed to empower smallholder farmers by providing tailor-made business plans, leveraging data-driven insights to unlock their full potential.

In an interview at Pulse Kenya, George shed light on the project's inception, its objectives, and the transformative power of collaboration in shaping a more sustainable future for food production and consumption.

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“Our journey so far has been a living testimony of belief in your dreams and starting small in the small ideas you have, because the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their tiny little dreams,” he said.

The most pivotal moment in this journey was his participation in Aiducation's Summer School program in Nairobi.

During the summer school, participants were able to receive mentorship, and training and at the end, they were expected to pitch ideas and stand a chance to win the Sustainable Food System Award.

Out of seven applications, Baobab was among the two winners selected by the jury to receive a total of USD 5,000.

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Speaking about his most memorable moment during the summer school, he said, “Sharing our dream to build such a robust platform with interested parties and seeing the smiles on their faces, especially our primary users - the farmers and them explaining to us the potential it has and how it is such a groundbreaking solution has left an important impression on us and continues to be the fuel that feeds our passion to see it come to life.”

George and his co-founder, Tony, found the inspiration and perspective needed to refine their vision.

Recalling his experience, George shared, "The Summer school was a surreal experience. The cross-cultural nature of the participants and coaches provided us with a unique and global perspective on how best this idea can be actualized and the potential it holds in building sustainable food systems across the world during pitching."

As the Baobab project continues to grow and evolve, George envisions a future where it becomes the catalyst for change.

In the coming 5-10 years, George sees Baobab becoming a large agro-information and business planning advisory platform.

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“Our platform has potential to scale up and be replicated across many countries in Africa, because the plight of smallholder farmers remains pretty much the same and some of the problems farmers face in Nigeria are almost similar to Kenya, and South Africa, for example,” he said.

Baobab is more than just a project; it's a beacon of hope for smallholder farmers in Kenya and beyond.

George Mwangolo's determination, fueled by his passion for positive change and his commitment to collaboration, serves as a shining example of how young entrepreneurs can shape a more sustainable future for food production and consumption.

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What is the Aiducation Start-Up Fund?

The Aiducation Start-Up Fund (ASUF) is a program developed by Aiducation International as part of their strategy to Building People Building Nations.

ASUF invests in the most promising 1,000 Young Entrepreneurs (1’000YE) in Africa below 30 years of age, with the aim of building the future for their society & creating positive impact. George Mwangolo is also going to be part of the Start Up Fund (1,000 Young Entrepreneurs), this means he will also receive mentoring and coaching within the next months.

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