Agriculture

12 startups selected to participate in the third Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture

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Launching at Nairobi

Village Capital recently launched its FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015  accelerator programme at an event in Nairobi, revealing the cohort of 12 startups selected to participate in the programme.

The programme

The three-month accelerator programme aims to unlock innovations that increase access to financial services for smallholder farmers. Village Capital has precommitted US$100,000 in funding to be awarded to two companies in the cohort.

This year the Village Capital flagship accelerator programme returns to East Africa for the third time; with over 125 applications received for the 2015 programme from nine African countries.  Village Capital’s investment committee selected the 12 most outstanding startups on the basis of how their ideas have the potential to increase incomes for smallholder farmers by improving their access to financial services.

 The 12 startup firms selected to join the three month programme are:

Atikus Insurance: Expands access to credit by increasing the capacity of MSME lenders via reimagined insurance and technology risk solutions.

Chamasoft: Web and mobile app to automate record keeping for investment groups.

Ensibuuko: Builds ICT solutions to enable enterprises deliver financial services efficiently and to scale rapidly, reaching underserved communities.

FarmDrive: Transforming how smallholder farmers access financial services.

Farmerline: Provides accurate and timely agricultural information to farmers and also provides technology to stakeholders to work better.

M­Shamba: Interactive platform for smallholder farmers and traders.

Mobipay: Technology solutions to various economic sectors to drive commerce and trade.

NanoCredit Technologies: Lending and de­risking engines, providing structured digital finance for small farms.

Rangerland Solutions: Online livestock marketing platform that directly connects buyers and sellers, reducing marketing costs.

Redcore Interactive: remit.ug is a platform for online international money transfers to mobile money in Africa.

Smart Money: Free­of­charge branchless mobile banking to unbanked rural communities in Uganda and Tanzania.

Yield Uganda: Sources high quality, traceable food products for local and export markets.

 Activities

The chosen startups will commence the three month programme focusing on business model canvassing, customer hypothesis testing, financial modeling, partnership and customer development, and investor engagement.  The cohort will present to potential partners and customers at a pitch day, as well as pitch to investors at an investor demo day.

Selection

Village Capital has pre­committed US$100,000 in investment to be shared by two startups in the cohort.  The winners of the funding will be chosen by the accelerator participants at the end of the programme in June.  Each of the two selected companies will receive US$50,000 in funding.

“Thanks to the pool of talented and innovative startups that applied for a place on our programme from across East Africa, it was a challenging process to select the final 12.  We have been truly impressed with the quality of applications received this year,” John Mulqueen, Financial Associate at Village Capital said, speaking at the launch event.

“The Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture programme is great for remit.ug because it provides us and other entrepreneurs with an opportunity to grow, and to help a very critical group of people ­ the financially underserved. We are excited about networking and sharing with other entrepreneurs in the space who are facing the same challenges,” said Stone Atwine, chief executive officer (CEO) and co­founder of Recore International, one of the selected startups.

“Through enabling smallholder farmers to use financial technologies, Africa’s agri­potential will surely be unlocked.  We at Mobipay are very excited to be involved in the Village Capital programme, which will be a key player in realising Africa’s potential,” said Charles Kiinde, founder of Mobipay.

What is expected of the programme graduates?

Programme graduates are expected to increase their revenue growth by 4.5 times, and distribute goods and/or services to 200,000 customers within the two years following completion of the accelerator.  Village Capital estimates the companies forming the cohort will create 200 jobs over the next two years in East Africa, with an estimated 60% of jobs going to individuals living below the poverty line.

Strathmore-Waterloo Agri-business Challenge Incubation Kicks off!

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The Strathmore-Strathmore Waterloo Agribusiness Challenge Incubation program will start on Monday 20th April 2015. This is the final stage of the international and first of its kind innovation challenge focusing on agri-business. The challenge is a collaboration between Canada and Kenya where The University of Waterloo in Canada and Strathmore University in Kenya have come together to support youth with innovative business ideas, driven by mobile and and social media technologies to address East Africa’s most pressing challenges in agriculture. The challenges include food and water safety, food traceability, food sustainability and agriculture waste management.

The Agri-business Challenge is expected to drive innovation at the bottom of the pyramid in the region with practical and life-changing solutions for food security and agriculture.

The incubation stage is the final and very crucial stage of the competition where 6 teams that made it through the investor Pitch stage will go through a 8 week incubation program at @iBizAfrica.

The teams include:

  1. Mkulima
  2. Agribora
  3. GreenUp Africa
  4. Evet
  5. Kilimo Watch
  6. ConviFarm

The teams will receive entrepreneurship training and mentorship from top-notch Strathmore faculty and experts on entrepreneurship, to help them gain business skills to turn their ideas into a business . They will also develop working prototypes of their solutions and business plans.

The teams will demo at the end and the winning team will secure a fully-paid trip to Canada to learn more about business and visit Conrad Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, University of Waterloo.

The Waterloo-Strathmore Challenge- 1st inaugural Mobile Technology Challenge

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Strathmore University, Kenya and the University of Waterloo, Canada have partnered to bring you the 2014 Mobile Technology Student competition. The theme for this 1st inaugural competition is:

To address agricultural issues in sub-Saharan Africa using mobile and social networking technologies

Here are a list of topics you can focus on but your ideas are NOT  limited to:-

  • Water
  • Food safety
  • Food traceability
  • Food supply sustainability
  • Agriculture waste management
  • Value of social networks in improving any of all aspects of the agriculture value chain
  • Technology as an enabler for food tracking

Teams are encouraged to think broadly on the above or related topics.

   Prizes 

1st Prize: The winning team will win a fully paid trip to Waterloo, Ontario Canada to give the winning team the opportunity of observing the Waterloo eco-system of venture creation and to meet individuals and groups that can further assist in developing their idea (subject to visa issuance) A complete agenda of this visit will be made available in February 2015.

2nd Prize: One team will be offered a chance to participate in the highly competitive Enterprise Development Program offered by the Strathmore Enterprise Development Centre. This training package is worth Kshs 480,000. Team members will have the chance of meeting seasoned entrepreneurs and trainers which will enable the team to practically implement their business model and grow their enterprise.

Other Prizes: Five teams will have a chance to work at the @iLabAfrica incubator at Strathmore University from February 5, 2015 – April 3, 2015. 

Who can participate?

1. We are inviting teams of Kenyans to bring their technical skills and innovative thinking to solve a real-world problem.
2. The competition is open to teams of maximum four students from Kenyan Universities to submit their registration form and brief description of the agricultural problem they believe can be alleviated by a mobile-based solution.

What you need to know:-

1. Teams will be informed if they have been accepted into the competition challenge by January 13th , 2015.
2.Challenge officially begins on January 15, 2015 with the first of three rounds of video pitches administered by University of Waterloo’s Virtual Incubation Program.

Learn more about this exciting competition by clicking here. Share this information far and wide with your friends and those in your networks.

All the best!!