Kenyan agri-businesses tackling food security set to receive US$100k investment

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KENYA – Eleven Kenyan agribusinesses tackling food security have been selected for the Food Africa Accelerator program in Kenya.

The three-month accelerator program will support these women and youth-led agribusinesses towards investment of up to USD 100,000 to scale their businesses.

The accelerator program which was launched in July is a project commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa, a project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by iBizAfrica, Strathmore University’s business incubator and Pangea Accelerator (a Norwegian based accelerator and an investment platform operating in East Africa that matches African start-ups with investors), foundations and development agencies to reach a global scale.

The competitive application process saw the accelerator receive over 420 applicants in Kenya according to Linda Kwamboka, entrepreneur-in-residence and iBizAfrica’s manager.

She said that “we received over 700 applications, some across Africa and 424 Kenyan applicants. This proves our hypothesis that there are plenty of innovators in the agriculture sector. The diversity in agribusiness sub-sectors has been well represented- ranging from credit access to food manufacturing. We are also grateful for the support of ecosystem players including Viktoria Ventures, Luminate Group who have supported the shortlisting process.”

Joining its first cohort, the ten businesses will undergo mentorship and coaching as well as investor readiness as they begin the process of investor matching.

Speaking after their selection, Dysmus Kisilu, co-founder of Solar Freeze, a post-harvest solution for small holder farmers remarked, “we are excited to be part of the Food Africa Accelerator which offers a chance for a start-ups like ours to collaborate, grow and shape the new vision of a food secure Africa through youth led innovation.”

Jonas Tesfu, Co-Founder and CEO for Pangea Accelerator also added, “we believe Kenya and East Africa are at a critical time and that innovation and young entrepreneurs have a big role to play in creating resilient and local food systems.”

The accelerator comes at a time when the Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture has vowed to sustain ongoing reforms in the agricultural sector to boost production and bring value to farmers.

“We believe Kenya and East Africa are at a critical time and that innovation and young entrepreneurs have a big role to play in creating resilient and local food systems.”

Jonas Tesfu – Co-Founder and CEO, Pangea Accelerator

Further, it also comes after a recent report by the Kenya Food Security 2019 Steering Group revealed that, approximately 1.3 million people in Kenya are currently facing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity, which has been further exacerbated by Covid-19 and the locust plague.

Tracy Weru, Program Coordinator for GIZ Make-IT in Africa stated, “we are happy with the traction this program has received so far and are looking forward to supporting the 11 start-ups.”

The eleven selected start-ups joining the accelerator are IFarm360 ,  SolarFreeze, Shamba Records, Ecodudu, Faina Innovation and Mhogo Foods.

Others are Digicow, Mula Exports, Origen Group, Taste Afrique and FreshPro Farms.

About the Food Africa Accelerator

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FoodTech Africa is an accelerator program aimed at addressing food security through fostering innovation.

The project is commissioned by GIZ Make-IT in Africa, a project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by iBizAfrica -Strathmore University and Pangea Accelerator.

The program is designed to support women and youth owned growth stage agri-based companies (start-ups that are in post-revenue i.e. have sales and customers) to sustain business growth through facilitating access to financing, business support and technology adoption.

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