Start-ups are improving lives
A funding programme supports young companies in Africa in getting investment ready. Their digital innovations are boosting income in the agricultural sector.
A smallholder in Kenya wants to sell 10 kilos of ripe tomatoes – and he wants to do it quickly before they spoil in the tropical heat. The online trading platform KwikBasket provides a solution: it links farmers with restaurants and canteens to get the tomatoes onto plates rather than compost heaps.
KwikBasket is one of 66 start-ups in the agricultural and food sector in Africa that the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is currently funding on behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ).
Digital solutions to combat poverty
The start-ups offer a wide range of solutions: they create online marketplaces, logistics apps and platforms to buy and sell equipment. They facilitate better market integration and easier access to fertilisers, and provide the latest information about crop growing. Different as they are, they have one thing in common: they all combat poverty. They help users to earn more and they improve Africa’s agricultural and food systems.
5,500 farmers have already registered with KwikBasket and 78 kitchens in and around Nairobi, Mombasa and Maasai Mara order fruit, vegetables and meat daily via the platform. In a survey, 87 per cent of the producers reported an increase in revenues as a result of using the app.
A new approach
GIZ supports the young digital companies to acquire capital from investors and business partners so that they can continue to grow and expand their reach. We assign the start-ups what are called navigators to help achieve this. Navigators are advisors who support the businesses through the growth process and connect them with management, legal and other experts – and further down the road also with potential financial backers.
Anand Nagothu, CEO and co-founder of KwikBasket, is delighted with the new approach: 'The programme has enabled us to become much more professional – in marketing, in how we measure results, in financing matters. We now understand how we can drive change. All of this has helped us to create opportunities for smaller farms to bring their great produce to market.'
More than half of all the start-ups that have passed through this funding programme since 2019 found an investor within two years and a total of USD 26 million was raised. The start-ups supported now reach more than 600,000 users across Africa.