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Hub partners with Intellecap to scale up innovations in East Africa

Published on January 24, 2018

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The USAID Hub recently partnered with innovative business solutions advisor Intellecap to help build and scale profitable and sustainable enterprises dedicated to social and environmental change. Intellecap has matched more than 1000 enterprises with investors and has created a community of more than 35,000 through their various networking platforms which increases visibility of enterprises. As of January 18 Intellecap will be applying their expertise to help 10 young innovators scale up their postharvest technology businesses for great impact across East Africa.

The USAID Hub and Intellecap are specifically partnering to provide Business Development Services (BDS) for the top ten innovators from the Hub-supported East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition (EAPTC) 2017, which took place between December 2016 and May 2017. The EAPTC-2017 provided a platform for East African innovators to showcase and pitch their post-harvest handling technologies to potential partners, including investors, donors, government representatives, farmers and trader association members.

Following a post-competition analysis, the Hub discovered that seed capital alone wouldn’t have the transformational effects for which it was hoping; the innovators also needed business support to scale-up and disseminate their innovations for impact.

“We’ve been active to supporting young innovators. However seed capital is not enough. We have decided to do more to encourage innovators to enhance their businesses. When you solve problems of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) you increase their business capacity,” said Juan-Estrada Valle, Chief of Party, USAID Hub.

As of January 18, 2018 the Hub and Intellecap will:

  1. Carry out an in -depth analysis of the business development needs of the 10 SMEs.
  2. Identify and prioritize the training, development, mentorship support needs for each finalist.
  3. Design interventions on how to best offer the business development support as per identified needs for each SME.

The USAID Hub’s activities seek to make agricultural and trade enhancing technologies commercially available to East African farmers and agribusinesses, with the purpose of increasing the efficiency of farming operations, reducing post-harvest loses, lowering transaction costs and in general increasing the efficiency of agricultural markets. This is done by assisting home-grown technology developers to cost their products, make manufacturing arrangements, produce comprehensive business plans and present them to private investors.