WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday afternoon, Jehiel Oliver, founder and CEO of Hello Tractor, was chosen as the winner of the Global Innovation Challenge, an interactive pitch competition hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at South by Southwest (SXSW).
Oliver will get the chance to attend President Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit for his work with Hello Tractor, an agricultural technology company that has created “Uber for tractors.” The Nigerian social enterprise sells its Smart Tractor to low-income farmers, providing financing when needed, and pairs them with a network of farmers who can text and use mobile money for tractor services.
“USAID has provided a great platform for Hello Tractor to tell our story alongside other fantastic entrepreneurs,” said Oliver. “This has not only given us great visibility with investors and strategic partners but also other like-minded social entrepreneurs.”
Oliver was one of three entrepreneurs who pitched their innovative ideas to solve global development challenges. Other participants included Doreen Kessey, COO of Ubongo, and Jonathan Jackson, co-founder and CEO of Dimagi. The featured entrepreneurs have received funding from USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab through the Development Innovation Ventures program. USAID Chief Innovation Officer and U.S. Global Development Lab Executive Director Ann Mei Chang led the event.
The winning entrepreneur was decided by judges Jean Case, the CEO of the Case Foundation, and Rajesh Anandan, the Senior Vice President of UNICEF Ventures for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and by a live vote from the audience in attendance.
“We need more innovators like Jehiel Oliver,” said Case. “People who are bold enough to take modern approaches, tools and technologies and apply them to critical global issues to help lift the world’s most vulnerable out of poverty.”
“Enabling a global community of solvers is essential to ending extreme poverty and eliminating preventable child deaths by 2030,” said Anandan. “Those goals can seem daunting, but are very achievable if we bring together entrepreneurs unafraid to tackle tough problems and institutions willing to disrupt themselves.”
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be held at Stanford University in June 2016. It will bring together more than 1,000 attendees, including entrepreneurs, investors, educators, government officials, and business representatives who will represent the full measure of entrepreneurial talent from diverse backgrounds across our nation and the world. The Summit is a reflection of the U.S. government’s commitment to utilize entrepreneurship as a foundational tool to build more communities around the world that are economically prosperous, secure, and globally connected.