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Investment Readiness Program For Digital And Sustainable African Agtech And Foodtech Startups

Entrepreneurship

Sept. 20, 2022, 1:10 p.m.

Are you running a tech startup and want to challenge the status quo of the agriculture and food tech industry? Do you have a solution that makes the industry more sustainable and profitable while at the same time empowering value chain actors? Do you want support to learn how to raise investment, reach more customers, and have a more significant impact? Then the SAIS Investment Readiness Program is the one for you.

The SAIS Investment Readiness Program (IRP) offers African tech startups from the agriculture, food, and livestock sectors a year-long tailor-made support program to make you investor ready, raise more capital to reach more customers and achieve more significant impact. (The training is available in English and French).

The IRP is offered by “Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Startup (SAIS),” a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is co-funded by Bayer Cares Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The overall goal at SAIS is to increase incomes in the African agri-food sector through scaling proven digital innovations. For the 2023 cohort, up to 20 startups will be selected to participate in a year-long Investment Readiness Program.

Starting in 2019, SAIS has accelerated more than 51 outstanding African startups:

The program benefits

  • The program offers regular sessions of personalized coaching with local and international experts. The sessions are tailored to specific individual needs, during which strategies and measures for rapid growth will be developed and implemented.
  • Startups also have access to tailored online training structured around several key themes to develop your startup further, e.g., Pitch Training, Growth Strategy, Data Analytics & Management, Term Sheet, Valuation, Market Analysis, Marketing & Sales, and so on.
  • The investment readiness program integrates these startups into a local hub. (This is optional) If needed, the program gets these startups a workplace for six months and facilitates contacts with major players in the local startup scene.
  • The tech startups are also privy to additional services to optimize certain critical areas of their business, e.g., legal advice, online marketing, digital product optimization, design, and coding.
  • They further get access to the GIZ network, global presence, local expertise, far-reaching networks, and years of experience working with the private sector, investors, and business partners. The network can help them to improve their visibility and contacts with startups nationally and internationally through participation in national, regional, and international events dedicated to African entrepreneurs.

Add-on: Programme for Female Leaders

In addition to those mentioned above, the investment readiness program seeks to offer special support for female founders and women in leading positions of startups:

  • Our Female Leader Circle meets to bring women in leadership positions together, network, and learn from each other. Input sessions on topics of particular interest to female leaders serve as a starting point for discussion.
  • A bi-annual Female Founders Award recognizes the achievement of female founders.

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Seven investment readiness criteria are used to assess and monitor your startup's investment readiness level and progress while participating in the IRP.

  • Indicator 1: The competencies of the founding team are improved (e.g., pitch training, operations management, leadership, start-up valuation (“pre-money”), and clear roles and responsibilities of the management team).
  • Indicator 2: The start-up’s data room is improved, and all necessary documents for effective due diligence are available (e.g., pitch deck, annual balance sheet, accounting, bank statements, forecasts, and exit strategy).
  • Indicator 3: A digital system for monitoring the start-up’s user base is established and provides data (“data analytics”).
  • Indicator 4: A market research and competitiveness analysis of the start-up is available for the own national market and possible expansion markets.
  • Indicator 5: A strategy and a catalog of measures for marketing & sales are available and guide the actions of the founding team for scaling the start-up.
  • Indicator 6: The product of the start-up is market-ready (e.g., customer-driven product development, product-market fit, data security, suitable for national regulations).
  • Indicator 7: The start-up’s customer growth is improved (improved customer acquisition rate).

Who can apply?

To be eligible for the SAIS Investment Readiness Programme, you must meet the following conditions:

Legal form

  • You have to be registered and operate in Africa
  • You have to provide a certificate of registration

Team (founders)

  • You must have a founding team of at least two people who work ideally full-time for the startup.
  • Your founding and management team should have entrepreneurial and technical experience in their area of operation.

Digital product/service

  • You must have a viable digital product that positively impacts the incomes of its customers.
  • Your product must positively impact the African AgTech, FoodTech, or livestock sector (vertical sectors that have an influence can be accepted like eCommerce, FinTech, Logistics, EdTech, etc.)

Market access and traction

  • You must have launched your digital product at least six months before the application period.
  • Your startup has to provide evidence of traction (customer base, first revenue)

Business model

  • Your start-up should have an easily understandable and convincing business model.
  • Your start-up should have a clear statement of the problem, a clear digital solution, a clear customer segment, and a clear revenue stream.

Add-ons (But not musts)

  • You have women in your founding team or as senior managers
  • You or one of your founding team members has an IT background
  • You and your founding team members have previous start-up experience
  • With your product, you target a vulnerable group of customers

Selection process timeline

  1. GIZ internal preselection process: November 1st – 25th, 2022
  2. Interviews with the preselected start-ups: November 28th – December 16th, 2022
  3. First information if you might be selected, December 2022
  4. Final Confirmation: January 2023
  5. Onboarding: January 2023

Instructions and Tips for the Application

  • Please apply online until October 31, 2022.
  • Start early with the process and pay attention to your video pitch (max. 2 minutes) and pitch deck.
  • Please provide all the information requested to avoid your exclusion during the pre-selection process.
  • You can apply in English or French:

tag: Africa, Agribusiness, Funding, tech, Agritech, Business, Startup, Agriculture,

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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.

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