Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs: a case for direct agribusiness support

  • 09th October 2015
  • by admin
Below follow 4 recent events and initiatives focused on seed money for agribusiness support in Africa.

  1. Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs relates directly agribusiness initiatives with Belgian (SME) entrepreneurs
  2. BiD Network mobilizes capital and knowledge to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  3. SEED is a global partnership for action on sustainable development and the green economy. Over the last ten years SEED has supported more than 200 social and environmental enterprises enabling collaboration and peer learning. SEED’s inspiring success story and significant key lessons have now been captured with a 10 Year Flagship Report.
  4. The African Business Angel Network (ABAN). In the past few years, business angels networks have been created across Africa with many more expected to emerge the next few years. To facilitate this growth of investor networks for early stage entrepreneurship on the continent, some of the existing networks including the Lagos Angels Network (LAN), Cameroon Angel Network; (CAN), Cairo Angels, Ghana Angel Network (GAIN), Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa) Silicon Cape, and with support from the European Business Angels Network (EBAN),
CASE 1: Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs

7 October 2015. To celebrate its fifteen years of existence, the association Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs organized a seminar on corporate social responsibility and development cooperation.

The host was Thomas Leysen, chairman of KBC. Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development explained the Belgian vision on the subject. Bogdan Vanden Berghe, Managing Director of 11.11.11 explained the role played by NGOs in the modern development.

Debates and film

  • Corporate Social Responsibility of companies and international solidarity.
  • Paul -Verstraeten (KVIV), Dirk Perquy (Blue Earth), Valérie Swaen (UCL), Bogdan Vanden Berghe (11.11.11), Peter Wollaert (UNITAR – CIFAL Flanders) and Roland Waeyaert (Exchange).
  • Corporate Social Responsibility in / with the South.
    Luc Bonte (Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs), Rik Herbots (SOFOCO), François Maes (Special Fruit), Werner Sels (Entrepreneurs without Borders) and Barbara Toorens (WorldLoop).
CASE 2: BID network
BiD Network aims to increase economic development in emerging markets through the mobilization of capital and knowledge to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By offering customized matchmaking and support services to both financiers and entrepreneurs we aim to grow the number of businesses that can start, grow and expand. Through our international network of local business centers, global business plan competitions and the use of an online entrepreneurial platform we locate businesses with a financing need of USD 10,000 to USD 500,000. BiD Network has experience in supporting entrepreneurs across multiple sectors, including clean energy, water and food and agriculture.
8 – 13 November 2015: BiD Network is organizing a week long trip to Rwanda. This trip is intended to close the geographic gap between entrepreneurs and angel investors. Investors will be able to get a first hand experience in what it’s like to do business in Rwanda and East Africa. Examples:

  • Shekina Rwanda produces dried food products and is a pioneer in producing dried cassava leaves, through using its own patented drying technology. Shekina is currently making large strides at integrating the entire value chain of cassava farming, processing, packaging and exporting in Rwanda. This process will be completed within the next six months and then the company is looking to replicate this model into different sectors and countries in the region. In order to support that, a large capital raise will be done. On the short term however the company is looking for 100,000 USD in order to support its roll out of a new innovative product, called instant cassava leaves. Market demand has already been established and this capital will support the production of the product and roll out at a faster pace. Shekina currently exports their products to the United States, Canada and Europe. The raw products from Shekina come from Female co-operatives. Damiem is looking into helping these women to become their own businesses.

  • Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE). As 18% of the women in Rwanda miss out on over 50 days of school or work due to a lack of menstrual pads, SHE decided it was time for a change. SHE is a social for-profit entity in Rwanda that produces affordable menstrual pads while at the same time providing health education and advocacy for girls and women. Elisabeth Sharp and her team use a US patented production process to transform fibres from banana trees into the “fluff” needed for menstrual pads. SHE already has two commitments that will purchase their products in bulk; one of which is the UNHCR asking more than 6,000 packs per month. To accomplish this, Elisabeth Sharp and her team would need to increase production which currently stands at 3,000 pads per month. To meet the demand, SHE needs to purchase more machines to create an extra 150 pads per day per machine. This SME was based on a research project funded by Canada: Banana Tree Fibre Female Hygienic Pads in Rwanda. (Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science, Queen’s University, Canada)
  • As the first commercial potato chip company of Rwanda, Hollanda FairFoods produces
    Rwandan-grown Irish potatoes to sell as potato crisps on the Rwandan cradle-to-cradle packaging domestic market. These healthy crisps will be exported to the East African regional and global markets in the long term. The startup funds are treated purely as start-up expenses and initial working capital.
  • Essex is a start-up company in Rwanda that has developed an agriculture embedded system at an affordable costs for small holder farmers, both individuals and cooperatives. Essex’s mission is to create a local chicken industry. Basazababo and his team have created a service product which enables farmers to receive updates on their egg incubator via their mobile phones. Essex recently developed an egg incubator prototype for the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources to prove that the concept would provide positive results. Essex is enthusiastic that this positive test will entice the ministry of Agriculture to provide an endorsement for the company. Essex believes that its primary focus group will be village cooperatives. They will focus on this target market by allowing them to start a poultry farm at affordable costs. To achieve this, Essex will provide these local village cooperatives with a starter kit, called “Poultry Farmers’ Kit”, which enables them to engage in the poultry business. Through this kit, poultry products will be more available within the Rwandan market.
  • Tropical Farm Fresh Burundi is an agribusiness specializing in the production and commercialization of Japanese prunes and garlic. Thinking in terms of the circle economy, entrepreneur Prosper Niyonsaba also keeps pigs, using the manure as fertilizer on his land and selling the meat. The enterprise wishes to develop and disseminate modern agriculture techniques, provide a stable income to cooperating farmers and increasing employment in the area. Investments will be used to further expand the business by buying new equipment.
  • Paniel Meat Processing is a company in meat processing combined with farming. It was

    founded and legally registered in 2012 by entrepreneur Herve Tuyishime. PMP produces and distributes meatballs, sausages, fresh meat, dried meat, salted meat made of chicken, fish, pig, cow, rabbit and goat. The company has its own farms where they grow their own livestock, partnering with local farmers. PMP has all kinds of livestock and supplies local farmers with resources. Moreover, the business supplies to all income categories in hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and individual households.

  • Alpha Foods from Rwanda produces fruit juices, jams and tomato ketchups. Their products are natural and unique and do not contain any artificial food colours and flavours. Finance is needed for purchasing machines to scale up production and to expand their office.

SEED was founded by UNEP, UNDP, and IUCN at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. It is hosted at Adelphi Research, in Germany. SEED identifies and supports promising small scale social and environmental enterprises around the globe, which while working towards a greener economy also tackle poverty, marginalisation and social exclusion. SEED provides these enterprises with know-how and networks, taking the lessons learnt at local level up to decision-makers to promote evidence-based policy making.
To provide a more in-depth understanding of how eco-enterprises work, how they can help achieve sustainable development on the ground and how enabling frameworks can be created to help them scale up, SEED offers a range of detailed case studies that have emerged from various SEED research projects.

IMAI Farming Cooperative is a women’s cooperative which has partnered with non-government organisations and government institutions and is increasing and stabilising farmers’ incomes and reducing waste by processing surplus fresh vegetable produce into pickles. The cooperative also encourages organic farming.

Green Heat is an enterprise installing and marketing biogas digesters that convert decaying organic material from latrines and agricultural waste into biogas fuel for cooking and heating. By using biogas digesters, urban and rural households, schools, prisons, hospitals and tourist lodges in Uganda reduce their dependence on firewood and charcoal, improve their waste management systems, and help reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emission rates related to methane release.

Trees for Global Benefit is a cooperative carbon offsetting scheme linking small scale landholder farmers in Uganda to the voluntary carbon market, combining carbon sequestration with rural livelihood improvements through small-scale, farmer-led, agro-/forestry projects while reducing pressure on natural resources in national parks and forest reserves.

Botanica Natural Products has developed a method of extracting beneficial substances from Bulbine frutescens, a traditional medicinal plant, for the cosmetic industry. The plant is cultivated and processed organically in its indigenous location in rural Limpopo, and its commercial use provides employment opportunities in the marginalised area. The local community further benefits through an Access and Benefit Sharing agreement.

9-10 September 2015. Nairobi. SEED Africa Symposium. Building Bridges for Impact: Green and inclusive growth through entrepreneurship.

Extract of the program:
Developing Inclusive Value Chains: learning from best-practises and exploring opportunitiesHosted by GIZ and Inclusive Business Action Network
A workshop for representatives from businesses, corporations, and start-ups working at the Base of the Pyramid. The Inclusive Business Workshop was designed to be an interactive session with opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaborations. Based on four proven case studies of inclusive businesses, it explored success factors, challenges and enablers for developing and replicating inclusive value chains.

Cases studies:

  • Bosch (Food Processing, India) by Chandana Kiran, Senior Manager – Strategy and Business Unit Development
  • Mobisol (Solar Energy, East Africa) by Thomas Duveau, Head of Business Development
  • Rab Processors (Agro Industry, Malawi) by Ahmed Sunka, Deputy Managing Director
  • Unilever (Water & Sanitation, East Africa) by Akinseye Bukunmi, Sustainability and Partnerships Manager

Making Markets more Inclusive: the role of the private sectorHosted by GIZ and Inclusive Business Action Network
During this session, business leaders and international experts discussed successful private sector initiatives for inclusive markets and explore which business ecosystem support is needed to support the building of inclusive value chains. Practical examples of innovative inclusive business models will be presented.

  • Mareike Grytz, Business Unit Private Sector Cooperation – Network Manager, Inclusive Business Action Network, GIZ
  • Danielle Goldschneider, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Sproxil, Inc.
  • Minja Nieminen, Inclusive Business Advisor, Business Call to Action UNDP
  • Bridgit Evans, Manager SAB Foundation
  • Arshfod N. Ngugi, Value Chain Expert, GIZ Kenya
  • Chandana Kiran, Senior Manager – Strategy and Business Unit Development – Bosch India
  • Thomas Duveau, Head of Business Development, Mobisol
  • Ahmed Sunka, Deputy Managing Director – Rab Processors
  • Akinseye, Bukunmi, Sustainability and Partnerships Manager – Unilever East Africa

27 outstanding enterprises were rewarded by the SEED Award 2015

  • This year’s 27 SEED Award Winners represent the most innovative and promising social and eco-start-up enterprises selected of more than 500 applications from 55 countries.
  • Supported by the European Union, the Government of Flanders, Hisense, UN Women, Hogan Lovells and adelphi the Symposium kicked-off a one-year business development support programme to establish and grow further.
  • Find out more about the SEED Winners 2015 here.
The Moringa Cooperative
The Moringa Cooperative, South Africa
The Moringa Cooperative is the only South African company to produce organically certified Moringa oil, combining nutritional Moringa leaf powder production with processing oil as a high-value cosmetic by-product. The company works with, and educates, local eco-schools and communities. It cooperates with both for-profit organisations and NGOs to ensure a sustainable, green business model.

Terra Nova Waste to Farming , Mozambique
Terra Nova Waste to Farming produces a natural compost fertiliser from urban organic waste, employing underprivileged local people in its production. In a region with insufficient soil fertility, the initiative closes the cycle between waste and agricultural inputs to enhance productivity and food security, simultaneously generating income for dozens of workers.

Peacock Seeds, Malawi
Peacock Seeds supports climate change adaptability and food security in Malawi by producing and supplying smallholder farms with drought-tolerant, disease-resistant and yield-improved legume and maize seeds. By supporting farms in crop improvement, they also help generate income security for farmers.

Masole Ammele, Malawi
Masole Ammele disseminates organic fish farming skills among communities in Malawi, stimulating them to unite and organise themselves in the process of breeding fish. Through this activity, the initiative provides an extra income for participants and raises awareness on the importance of ecosystem preservation among villages in the country.

Hortinet, Malawi
Hortinet is building a more inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chain in Malawi: In its supply chain, the enterprise supports local, mainly female smallholder farmers and young entrepreneurs. In cultivation, it reduces water usage and fuel consumption through gravity-fed irrigation systems; and up the value chain, it avoids high post-harvest losses and offers local fresh produce to a market relying on imports

East Africa Fruit Farm and Company, Tanzania, United Republic of
East Africa Fruit Farm and Company trades and markets fresh fruit and vegetables, significantly reducing post-harvest losses by cold storage and powering all activities with renewable energy such as solar power and bio-diesel. Smallholder farmers in the supply chain are supported with fair prices, training and advice, and readily prepared land.

Days for Girls Uganda, Uganda
Days for Girls empowers women and girls in East Africa to take control of their bodies and finances by providing business training and access to menstrual hygiene. Uniquely designed reusable menstrual hygiene kits support girls and women to attend school and work, without anxiety or stigma over menstrual hygiene. Furthermore, women involved in production gain income and economic empowerment.

Bwengu Tomato Production and Processing, Malawi
Bwengu Tomato Production and Processing is a cooperative-led initiative with a resource-efficient structure to produce and process tomatoes. The drip irrigation system adopted saves water, and the processing plant reduces wasted produce to almost zero. Members of the cooperative benefit from higher income as well as access to fresh and locally produced tomatoes around the year, increasing nutritional intake in local communities.

Botanic Treasures, Kenya
Botanic Treasures leverages traditional farming techniques of smallholder farmers to grow the highly nutritious Moringa oleifera tree, processing the plant and marketing health food products nationally and internationally. Over 1,000 individuals are employed across the value chain, providing economic stability for rural communities. The consumption of Moringa oleifera is improving health, and reducing child mortality while the cultivation of the drought-resistant plant serves as to manage soil erosion and promote sustainable agroforestry.

Black Gold Farm Manure, Malawi
Black Gold Farm Manure markets organic fertiliser produced from locally available, low-cost resources to farms in Malawi, improving food security in the region. The initiative trains farmers on producing the fertiliser and supports them through loans and guidance on eco-friendly farming.

23 September 2015. Lagos, Nigeria. The African Business Angel Network (ABAN) in partnership with the Lagos Angels Network (LAN), DEMO Africa and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa), hosted the Investor Summit “The African Opportunity: Angel Investing in Africa” at DEMO Africa 2015. Following the successful edition of last year which resulted in the formation of ABAN, the 2015 summit again brought together early stage investors, fund managers and opinion leaders from across the continent, Europe and the US.

Taking a deep dive into this market segment, a presentation by Thomas van Halen, Head of Investor Relations at VC4Africa, highlighted several encouraging investment trends based on research that looked at 104 early stage transactions in 26 African countries.

  • The primary sectors include mobile, web, renewable energy, healthcare, education and agriculture, amongst others. Entrepreneurs with a venture profile were asked to participate in an online survey.
  • The survey was sent to 1300 entrepreneurs and 257 entrepreneurs responded, a 20% response rate. Entrepreneurs were asked to report on their revenue, profit, and change in team size over time. They were also asked to report on their capital requirements and progress fundraising.
  • This report clearly shows the momentum. The number of venture applications on VC4Africa has grown by 640% in just 3 years.
  • That growth in volume reflects a larger and more vibrant SME ecosystem in Africa: more ideas put into action, more encouragement, more risk taking entrepreneurs, more networks, more visibility. While many of the companies might still be in a stage of pure ambition or mentor dependency, a quickly increasing number are investor ready with attractive offers.

Representatives from Angel Networks in Kenya, Ivory Coast and Nigeria discussed the
opportunities and challenges of early stage investing and setting up angel networks.

  • Suzanne Abrogoua, president of the newly founded Cote d’Ivoire Business Angels, spoke about the recent launch of their angel fund with 150 investors already having signed up.
  • Adedotun Sulaiman, Chairman of the Lagos Angels Network described launching an angel group is like launching a startup with all the challenges that come with it.
  • Stephen Gugu, who has been evangelizing angel investing in Kenya the past year, reflected on the large number of international investors who are now taking interest in Africa
CEO of Amsterdam based eVentures Africa fund, Vincent Kouwenhoven stressed the need to work with local partners; “A lot of work can be done remotely, via Skype and using other tools, but nothing can replace an in-depth understanding of the local market and having access to the right people locally”. eVentures Africa has invested in 12 African internet companies since launching in 2010 and recently concluded a deal in Zambia, co-investing with local Zambian VC firm Kukula Capital.

Other investors on the ‘Overseas Investor Panel’ included Candace Johnson, president of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), which represents 20.000 business angels, Pat Wilson, a Partner with Accion’s Frontier Investments Group, and Andrea Barrica, a Partner with Silicon Valley based 500 startups, which has invested in 10 African startups so far amongst others in partnership with African partners Savanah Fund and MEST, the Meltwater School of Technology.

Innovative early stage ventures requiring less than $1 million in capital are the most difficult segment of the SME pipeline to reach. Often times they have a minimal track record and lack the collateral needed to secure debt capital from a local bank. Moreover, local Banks and traditional financiers too often do not appreciate the dynamics of the entrepreneur’s specific business and therefore cannot add necessary value beyond capital. It is exactly through direct equity participation that entrepreneurs learn from more experienced entrepreneurs and angel investors with domain specific expertise. African Business Angel Network (ABAN) president Tomi Davies