The project “Scaling digital agriculture innovations through startups” (SAIS), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), kicked off its Investment Readiness Programme on December 12-13, 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The objective of SAIS is to scale digital agritech innovations which have been developed by African startups. These innovations will enable their users in the agricultural or food sector to increase their income. In order to accomplish this, SAIS provides selected startups access to six months of fully-funded support for company development. This Investment Readiness Programme includes virtual coaching and training sessions with experienced growth managers from GreenTec Capital and Seedstars that target the needs of the selected startups and provide additional services where required.
The startups selected for the Investment Readiness Programme 2019/2020 had to make it through different rounds in the selection process. During the first round, 30 out of the more than 200 submitted applications were chosen. In the second round these startups pitched their business virtually to a jury consisting of representatives from GIZ, corporations and company developers. From this virtual pitch, 14 startups representing different sectors such as e-commerce, internet of things, precision farming, supply chain management, fintech and animal health were nominated for the programme.
The launch of the 2019 programme took place in Nairobi, where the selected startups were able to meet not only with the SAIS team but also with their respective company developer. The first day was dedicated to getting acquainted with each other and networking. During this session, keynote speeches by representatives from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Digital Africa Initiative provided valuable insights into growing Africa through entrepreneurship and attracting investors. The entrepreneurs were also given the opportunity to pitch their startup to the audience. This not only served as further practice for pitching in front of potential investors in the future but also laid the groundwork for networking with participants operating in a similar field.
The second day was committed to workshops where the startups could work closely with their company developers, Seedstars and GreenTec Capital. Throughout this session, the entrepreneurs worked on establishing goals for their businesses to reach in the coming months. In order to reach these goals, the startups will receive personalised virtual coaching from the company developers.
Attendees at the event showed tremendous enthusiasm and commitment, generating a wonderful atmosphere of working together. The experience was exceptionally positive and enriching for all participants.
The next event is planned for the second quarter of 2020, when the SAIS team, company developers and startups will meet again personally to discuss their progress in the programme and future steps. The SAIS team is especially eager to work together with the African entrepreneurs in the coming months and is expecting great outcomes.