"Winners aim to increase incomes for smallholder farmers through innovative financial services"
Village Capital today announced the first winners of its innovative program, East Africa: FinTech for Agriculture 2015. The program supports entrepreneurs in making financial services more affordable and accessible for smallholder farmers and other underbanked individuals in East Africa. It is supported by the DOEN Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, and Duncan Goldie-Scot.
Over 65% of Sub-Saharan Africans do not use financial institutions or mobile money accounts to save or borrow money. Access to financial services can be especially difficult for smallholder farmers, often far from a financial access point. Furthermore, many promising early-stage entrepreneurs addressing this issue cannot find the resources they need to get off the ground.
Village Capital East Africa: FinTech for Agriculture 2015 provided these resources to 12 high-potential, early-stage entrepreneurs from across East Africa. The program also supported them through business development training, mentorship, and opportunities to meet potential customers and pitch to investors. At the end of the 12-week program, the entrepreneur-participants ranked each other on six criteria, and chose two companies to each receive a 50,000 USD investment. The two top peer-ranked companies are:
- Atikus Insurance (Rwanda); expands access to credit by increasing the capacity of MSME lenders via reimagined insurance and technology risk solutions.
- Farmerline (Ghana, expanding to East Africa); provides accurate and timely agricultural information to farmers and also provides technology to stakeholders to work better.
The other companies selected for the program are:
- Chamasoft (Kenya); a web and mobile app to automate record-keeping for investment groups.
- FarmDrive (Kenya) is transforming how smallholder farmers access financial services.
- M-Shamba (Kenya); an interactive platform for smallholder farmers and traders.
- Mobipay (Kenya); provides technology solutions to various economic sectors to drive commerce and trade.
- nanoCredit Technologies (South Africa, expanding to Kenya); offers a series of lending and de-risking engines, providing structured digital finance for small farms.
- Mifugo.Trade/Rangerland Solutions (Kenya); an online livestock marketing platform that directly connects buyers and sellers, reducing marketing costs.
- Redcore Interactive (Uganda) has developed remit.ug, which is a platform for online international money transfers to mobile money in Africa.
● YieldUganda (Uganda); sources high quality, traceable food products for local and export markets.
Photo: Creative Commons via Flickr.