Following a four-phase rigorous and competitive selection process, 10 dynamic and innovative Agritech startups were selected to partake in the Agritech Investment Readiness Accelerator Program. The program was hosted by Innohub in partnership with the Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative, ‘Make-IT in Africa’, (implemented by Deutsche für Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Wangara Green Ventures, ABSA Bank Plc and Accra Angels Network.
Many startups appear to have strong growth potential but inevitably reach a point where future growth requires external funding. A great fraction of these startups are unable to raise money from investors because they are not investor ready and lack the capacity to appeal to investors. Having worked with SGBs over the past five years, Innohub has developed programs and curriculum to address these gaps and prepare proven Start-ups for investments. It is in this regard that the Agritech Investment Readiness Accelerator program was designed to identify Agritech entrepreneurs and Start-ups offering innovations by combining digital solutions with proven business models to contribute to the economy and Sustainable Development Goals.
The selected Agribusiness were taken through a structured 8-week Accelerator program and worked closely with experienced Business and Technical Coaches to help the Agribusinesses to be investor ready. The accelerator assessed the maturity level of the startups, as well as evaluated and increased their investment attractiveness. Using blended learning approach, the program focused on providing participating agribusinesses with the support to meet three clear fundamentals; Strategize to assess their investment readiness and define their investment ask; Target the kind of capital and investors suited to each unique venture; and cultivating investor relationships and agreeing on deal terms that matter.
The participating startups in this edition included the following;
AB Precision Solutions: provides precision agricultural solutions to farmers as a service, including the deployment of drones. This is to improve yields and reduce post-harvest losses.
AF Map Works: uses GIS software such as ArcGIS, ERDAS, and Global Mapper for data analysis mainly rainfall or temperatures for a designated location to build up geographic maps indicating the changes in vegetation and weather condition in a certain period.
Agro Innova: does research to identify challenges faced by smallholder farmers in Ghana and develops farmer-centered innovation solutions which can easily be adopted by these farmers.
AIScarecrow: helps cereal farmers successfully ward off pest birds, cutting their losses to these birds by 90-95% and saving 8-10 hours of their time.
Agro Kings: focused on agro-processing, farming, and agri-tech. With the vision to feed the future, empower smallholder farmers and innovate using technology, they produce Ghana’s premium rice brand, Nana’s Rice.
Commodity Network: Utilizes proprietary software app, to collect, maintain, and analyze smallholder farmers online/offline profiles, generating data to support innovative farm solution distribution, whilst enabling rural smallholder farmers’ convenient and cost-effective access to modern farm inputs and farm management technologies, as well as market.
Eazz Foods: is set out to dry eggs to make it easier to use, easier to transport and best for industrial purpose.
Grow for Me: web and mobile based Agricultural crowdfunding and crowd farming platform, that sponsors farmers in growing more crops to solve hunger problems in Africa.
SAYeTECH: combines the advantages of IoT and Artificial Intelligence with robust hardware, ideally suited for smallholder farms in Africa. They design, manufacture, provide maintenance and training, and empower farmers with data that help increase their efficiency.
WamiAgro: offers input supply in the form of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. Also, in collaboration with partners, they offer smallholder farmers mechanization services on credit.
At the end of the program, most participants stated that the program has equipped them to:
- Engage investors and raise investments.
- Improve on their business pitch.
- Define their value proposition and strengthen core business features such as pricing.
- Plan well for their business.
- Put structures in place to become investor ready.
- Evaluate their business properly and build a financial model where they can see a clear path for growth and sustainability of the business.
The program also exposed them to a range of value tailored resources needed for business growth and development.
Each startup was supported logistically with a laptop as well as access to a globally used platform that supports them to build their investment case. These start-ups are currently leveraging the use of technology to augment their business operations and models to help address everyday problems in Agriculture including; Manufacturing, Crop Farming, Farm Machinery, Food Production, Pesticides, Mapping, Marketing and PR. The startups are also being given a one-year post acceleration capital raise and coaching support.