In January 2018, the USAID Hub partnered with innovative business solutions advisor Intellecap to help 10 of the young innovators from the East Africa Postharvest Technology Competition 2017 (EAPTC2017) with Business Development Services (BDS) support. The ten have successfully completed the Hub-supported BDS program conducted by partner Intellecap which sought to assist the innovators to advance their technologies for greater reach and impact in East Africa. The program entailed prioritized training and mentorship needs, building financial models, capital raising, developing and presenting business plans and intellectual property rights.
Participants are now well equipped with cutting-edge industry knowledge and skills to enable them efficiently adapt to evolving business trends and utilize best practices in order to grow their business. “Following this program I have learnt how to pitch my business to potential partners and have since secured a partnership with the government of Zanzibar to use my solar dryers to dry various agricultural commodities,” said John Kirigiti, 2nd runners up in EAPTC 2017.
"Intellecap is proud to partner with the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub on this journey of helping young entrepreneurs reach their dreams. Completion of the business development services programme with Intellecap is just the beginning. We want to be partners with the youth and take their businesses to scale. We can achieve this by creating market linkages in Africa, Asia and the US and also exposing these startups to an investor community in our Impact Investing Network and other partners," said Dr. Mthandazo Ngwenya, Director for Africa, Intellecap Advisory Services Private Limited.
“It is important that young people in Africa are encouraged to participate in agriculture hence the reason why the Hub supported the scale-up of postharvest innovations majority of which are designed by young people,” said Yohannes Assefa, Director of Agriculture and Agribusiness at the USAID Hub.
EAPTC2017 attracted more than 200 innovators from East Africa who 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 top 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. Following a post-competition analysis, the USAID Hub wanted to do even more to ensure that the participating innovators had every opportunity to have transformational impact. The BDS program was therefore coined with training and mentorship needs informed by an assessment that was carried out on each of the finalists to identify areas in which the enterprises could scale up their businesses.
Find out more about the top 25 innovations showcased during EAPTC2017 here.