Wynand Espach, AGRICOLLEGES International COO, is seen here with international student Navene Thomas from Alaska who is currently attending some practical courses in South Africa. Photo: Roelof de Jonge

An online agricultural learning institution with its roots firmly planted in the Tzaneen area is reaping the rewards for its innovativeness.

AGRICOLLEGES International (ACI) is a modern, cloud-based e-learning institution and is situated at the Amorentia Estate and Nursery in Politsi. Bulletin visited the estate and met with Wynand Espach, the COO of ACI and MD of the Estate for the past 20 years.

Estate owner Howard Blight, birthed the idea of creating a learning platform with an online as well as a practical approach in 2015, after returning from an international agricultural tour. ACI was officially launched three years later.

The college’s unique offering is the cloud-based teaching, training and learning of Agri-Sciences by providing access to information in an online, blended and shared learning environment, available from anywhere at any time. All this is available at a quarter to a fifth of the cost of traditional bricks and mortar tertiary education institutions.

After being named as one of the 30 most inspiring digital innovations internationally in 2020, and then the best online Agri-related learning platform of 2021, ACI added another award to its credentials.

“AGRICOLLEGES International has emerged as the national winner in the Global Start-up Awards, which means it is the best agri-related online learning platform in South Africa. Our online college has now progressed as a regional finalist in the Global Startup Awards in the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governmental) Tech category.”

Since being a proudly Tzaneen and South African product, the next round requires the public to vote which will make up a large portion of the score for the ultimate category winner in the regional round.

“We would appreciate the support of our hometown for this round”, said Espach.

Please vote for AGRICOLLEGES International by following this link https://public-voting.globalstartupawards.
com/competition-public-voting before the 30th of November.

Since its launch in 2018, the Southern Africa Startup Awards, which forms part of the Global Start-up Awards (GSA), has provided a platform for start-ups with high impact potential to connect with investors.

“The Southern Africa Start-up Awards connects the best of Southern Africa tech start-ups across the region to a global network of leading investors and innovative ecosystems.”

Progressing in this competition will ensure that ACI can grow its course offering in the Agri sector, and provide bursaries to passionate up-and-coming farmers. It will also help support thousands of young people looking for study opportunities in a field that will secure their futures and those of their communities.