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USAID Hub doubles down on young, East African innovators

Published on March 14, 2018

IMG_1160.jpgIn May 2017, the USAID Hub and partners completed a post-harvest technologies training program and competition that attracted more than 200 innovators and researchers from East Africa. Participating innovators showcased technological solutions for improving nutrition and food security in Africa by reducing food loss and waste. Poor postharvest practices currently result in the loss of 60 percent of all food that is produced in Africa.

The three innovators from the 2017 competition split $30,000 in seed capital to scale up and disseminate their technologies for the reduction of postharvest food losses. But the USAID Hub wanted to do even more to ensure that the participating young innovators had every opportunity to have transformational impact.

In January 2018, The Hub partnered with innovative business solutions advisor Intellecap to help 10 of the young innovators from the postharvest technologies competition build their businesses for profitably and scale. The first of Intellecap’s business development services training happened this week in Nairobi.

“With my background mainly in the Life Sciences, Intellecap is helping to bring into perspective some areas that will require the company's keen attention. This is to mainly deal with complementary skills required in the team, making sure that our innovation addresses the market needs and tracking our finances. At the end of the training, I aim to understand exactly what we need as a company to get from prototype to production while avoiding major pitfalls. I am excited to try out the things I'm learning with my team,” said Lorine Nanjala.

Lorine also attended the Sankalp Africa 2018 Forum where the USAID Hub was a key partner. There she met investors and learned more about impact financing, and how to become even more investor ready.

“Attending the Summit was very enlightening. It was where I first heard about impact financing for businesses that solve social problems while making reasonable returns. This is definitely something that I would like to secure for the business since we are at start-up level. I am looking to get out business to the point where it will be considered investor-ready.”

To learn more about her innovation click here.

Stay tuned to the Hub’s blog for more updates on how the young innovators are building their businesses.