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Issue 83

October 2016

IITA Youth Agripreneurs Ignitia in Ghana gained Insights on how

in Nigeria support ICT trust and scaled-up the entrepreneurs in
entrepreneurship and business by engaging e-agriculture build their
conduct agribusiness with local partners and business models and gain
incubation. initiating reliable impact access to start-up funds.


Youth e-agriculture entrepreneurship

Guest editor
Home-grown ICT solutions in agriculture come
from young entrepreneurs
Heike Baumller and Ken Lohento
Home-grown ICT
Farms could become the offices of the future
Michael Oluwagbemi solutions in agriculture
6 Building a healthy ecosystem for ICT entrepreneurs
Barni Qaasim
8 Enabling user-inclusive innovation in
come from young
African agriculture
Ruth Brnnvall entrepreneurs
10 Balancing entrepreneurial values with social impact
Sheena Raikundalia
Young innovators in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific
12 Young ICT entrepreneurs provide solutions
for agriculture region, have recognised the need for creative solutions to
Festus Oluwadamisi Okunlola and Adetola raise agricultural productivity and the huge prospective
14 Unleashing the next generation of entrepreneurs market for their ICT-enabled services in agriculture.
in e-agriculture Although they still face many challenges, their products
Somachi Chris-Asoluka
have the potential to transform agricultural value chains
16 Support for ICT entrepreneurs to match each need
Catherine Flouvat in developing countries.
18 Insights from Benins EtriLabs
Louis Agbokou E -Agriculture entrepreneurship in
ACP (Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific)
countries probably began in 2004 with
Young innovators often
19 YOUNG VOICES have a limited
They did not believe that a 15 years old student the market information services offered
could advance with the app by TradeNet in Ghana (rebranded later understanding of the
as Esoko). Today, entrepreneurship is
Nicholai Rajkumar
becoming common in this field even
agriculture sector,
20 RESOURCES if the sector is still nascent in most ACP specifically the
21 BOOKMARK countries, according to the FAOs 2015
e-Agriculture 10 Year Review Report.
functioning of value
Ways of fundraising for young e-agriculture
entrepreneurs This issue of the ICT Update magazine chains and the diversity of
focuses on businesses led by young
Kiringai Kamau
entrepreneurs who usually face specific
22 DISPATCHES challenges and greater difficulties than
Shave, haircut and a video more seasoned entrepreneurs. (and to a lesser extent in the Caribbean
Jeff Bentley, Paul Van Mele, and Ronald Kondwani Many young people who develop and Pacific) along the different segments
Udedi ICT-based applications for agriculture of the value chain. The publication
(ICT4Ag) consider themselves as Innovate for agriculture, prepared
23 BOOKMARK entrepreneurs or start-up owners jointly by the Technical Centre for
Developing your business strategy (although many have not necessarily Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
been officially incorporated or did not (CTA) and the organisation Ashoka,
ICT Update develop a proper business strategy). presents about 30 such businesses, most
It is often unclear whether they would of which were set up in the last two years.
define themselves as social entrepreneurs The majority of ICT4Ag applications
This license applies only to the ICT Update issue 83, October 2016. (with the main motivation being the focuses on the production segment, in
ICT Update is a bimonthly printed bulletin with an accompanying web magazine social good) or as business entrepreneurs. particular on the provision of extension
( and e-mail newsletter.
The next issue will be available in January 2017. Our conversations with young and advisory services, such as Farmerline
Editorial manager: Chris Addison
Editorial coordinator: Ken Lohento entrepreneurs show that although most (Ghana) and m-Shamba (Kenya). Other
Reviewer: Isaura Lopes Ramos of them are truly motivated by supporting innovative examples include GPS-based
Editor: Evert-jan Quak
Layout: Flame Design the development of the agriculture sector tracking of livestock (Daral Technologies,
Translation: cApStAn
Cover photo: Team AgriDirect from Trinidad and Tobago during AgriHack Caribbean and farmers livelihoods, they wish to Senegal) and smart tractors integrating
(photo credit: CTA) set up a profitable company to increase geo-localisation services, SMS features
Publisher: Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA),
Wageningen, The Netherlands their livelihoods opportunities. Indeed, for communication between farmers
With thanks to FAO for distributing ICT Update through
e-Agriculture ( the two goals are not necessarily and tractor owners, and data collection
Copyright: 2016 CTA, Wageningen, the Netherlands mutually exclusive, and business and on usage (Hello Tractor, Nigeria). social objectives can also be pursued In the marketing and trade segment,
in parallel. ICT-enabled services have been
This license applies only to the
There are many examples of young developed to offer market information
e-agriculture entrepreneurs in Africa to farmers and virtual markets to sell
text portion of this publication.

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
Photo on the right:

Winners of the AgriHack
Talent Caribbean in

their produce. This segment relates up a large customer base for ICT4Ag additional employment opportunities.
directly to revenue generation for farmers applications. Also influential has been Donors and development organisations

and thus has attracted an important the growth of mobile banking in many are financing innovation hubs,
amount of mobile applications and African countries, which has created incubators and accelerators, and
entrepreneurial initiatives. M-Farm additional incentives for purchasing provide start-up grants to entrepreneurs
in Kenya, launched by three young phones and expanding the network, has and technical support. The World Bank,
women in 2010, is one of the most familiarised people with non-call related for instance, has assisted in the creation
prominent examples. Others include uses of their phone, and facilitates the of mobile innovation laboratories (mLabs)
AgroCentral in Jamaica and MlLouma provision of ICT-enabled services that in different regions. CTA has also offered
in Senegal. Also important in this require payments. support through various initiatives such
segment are agribusiness and supply In addition, entrepreneurs have as the AgriHack Talent Programme and
chain management services (e.g. benefited from the emergence of Plug and Play events.
mFamrs, Ghana) which can greatly supportive innovation environments Last but not least, while the role
improve efficiencies. in some ACP countries. ICT innovation of national governments in actively
Applications in the consumption hubs have sprung up in several countries, supporting ICT entrepreneurs has been
segment are fairly new and opportunities driven initially by visionary entrepreneurs limited in many ACP countries, some
for developing innovative applications and tech developers (such as the founders examples highlight their potential
are still to be explored. One example of the iHub in Kenya), and more recently contribution. In Kenya, for instance,
is Chowberry from Nigeria (former also by large companies such as Nokia, the government has established a unified
Foodrings) which aims to fight food IBM, Orange and Safaricom. The hubs and open licensing regime, invested in
waste by offering a platform to help offer a space for developers, mentorship submarine and terrestrial fiber optic
collect food for disadvantaged groups. from more experienced entrepreneurs, cables, removed VAT for mobile handsets,
As a cross-cutting application, and opportunities to interact with fellow supported an internet exchange point
ICT-enabled solutions are also being developers, business partners and, and reduced the calling costs between
developed to offer financial services, sometimes, investors. At the same time, networks. These measures have played an
such as mobile payments, insurance the human resource pool in the ACP important role in attracting private sector
schemes or group lending, some of which regions is growing rapidly, thanks to investment, increasing competition,
are targeted at farmers and other value the large, tech-savvy and increasingly improving network quality and reducing
chain actors while others are more confident and risk-taking youth with the cost of mobile access. Some countries
widely available. improving access to education have also organised innovation
opportunities through universities and competitions. In Senegal, for example, the
What has helped e-agriculture specialised training institutes (such as the telecom regulator Agence de Rgulation
entrepreneurs to emerge? Mobile Technology Institute eMobilis des Postes et Tlcommunications (ARTP)
A number of factors have supported the in Kenya). rewarded ICT innovations for agriculture,
growth of e-agricultural entrepreneurs International cooperation has also livestock and health. In Cte dIvoire,
in ACP countries. We have seen an helped to strengthen ICT innovation the government launched an innovation
increasing ICT democratisation in the and entrepreneurship in ACP countries. fund of EUR 200 million in July 2016,
agriculture sector. Access to affordable ICT4Ag is seen and promoted as a in collaboration with the African
(albeit low-tech) handsets has greatly promising means to engage young Development Bank, which aims at
improved and mobile networks have people in agriculture by making supporting innovative businesses and
expanded deep into rural areas. These farming more attractive and lucrative start-ups.
technological advances have opened as a source of income and offering 3
Many challenges for young scaling), and an unfavourable business have been the preferred delivery channel
e-agriculture entrepreneurs environment in general. The e-agriculture for many service providers, to also take
remain sector is more acutely affected by these advantage of other mobile technologies,
Despite the rapid growth of e-agriculture challenges because it is a new market with such as weather stations to monitor
businesses and applications, most unclear potentials for many stakeholders, rainfall for insurance purposes, electronic
ICT-enabled solutions have yet to reach including investors. Young entrepreneurs scales and tags for supply chain
scale and companies are struggling to often struggle to develop profitable management or sensors to measure soil
move from start-ups, or even from business models for their products. moisture and nutrient levels for farm
application owner, to fully-fledged Information on their target market, its management. Such a broader focus on
businesses. Young e-agriculture products and services is very limited. users and technologies will yield a much
entrepreneurs in ACP regions are facing As a result, similar solutions are being greater diversity of ICT4Ag services to
a number of challenges related to three marketed in parallel and most of them support agricultural growth and rural
key factors. fail to reach profitability. development in ACP countries.
First there are the characteristics of the
agriculture sector. While the agri-food
sector offers a huge customer base with
Attracting impact
potentially more than 7 billion clients
who consume services on a daily basis, investors will require
most of the farmers are digitally illiterate
and small-scale with limited financial
raising awareness of
means. They are strongly dependent on investment opportunities
climate variabilities and natural hazards,
which may suddenly deprive them of
in e-agriculture.
many of their assets. Moreover, outdated
infrastructure, unreliable electricity and
weak network coverage still persist in Looking ahead
many rural areas. Despite this reality, Addressing the above-mentioned
many entrepreneurs market their ICT4Ag challenges will require actions at various
Youth services to farmers while business- levels. Governments need to create an
e-agriculture to-business opportunities are weakly enabling environment for e-agriculture About the authors
entrepreneurship explored. Young innovators often have a (and other) entrepreneurs and then leave Heike Baumller (hbaumueller@uni-
limited understanding of the agriculture the start-up sector to grow. Attracting is a Senior Researcher and
sector, specifically the functioning impact investors will require raising Coordinator of the Programme of
of value chains and the diversity of awareness of investment opportunities Accompanying Research for
stakeholders that could be targeted in e-agriculture and better information Agricultural Innovation (PARI) at the
by service offerings. about the market potential of ICT4Ag Centre for Development Research
The second key factor is the early age solutions. Innovation environments (ZEF) at the University of Bonn,
of ICT adoption in the agriculture sector. will need to be further strengthened, Germany.
In addition to farmers, other key not only for e-agriculture, but the
agricultural stakeholders such as ICT sector as a whole, including Ken Lohento ( is ICT
extension officers, agro-dealers, retailers, through sustainable incubation spaces for Agriculture Programme
agricultural researchers and policy and mentorship. In addition, training Coordinator at CTA; he notably
makers could be promising clients with opportunities for e-agriculture coordinates e-agriculture and
a higher purchasing power and better entrepreneurs need to be expanded by entrepreneurship activities. He is a
access to ICT infrastructure. However, integrating relevant topics in university former member of the United
many lack the necessary understanding curricula and developing specific courses Nations Advisory Group on Internet
of ICTs to request or employ ICT4Ag and training centres. Governance.
services. This is also due to the fact that Such measures will help to establish
ICT applications in the agri-food sector the necessary framework conditions
are still relatively new, even in more for young e-agriculture entrepreneurs
advanced economies, and many e-services to develop and commercialise their Related Links
are still being developed (although this applications. In addition, to overcome FAOs 2015 e-Agriculture 10 Year
can also be seen as an opportunity by challenges of marketing, purchasing Review Report
e-agriculture entrepreneurs). power and literacy, more developers
Insufficient support for entrepreneurial need to think beyond farmers as the CTAs 2016 report Innovate for
activities is the third factor. Specific main end users to increasingly target Agriculture: Young entrepreneurs
gaps frequently mentioned by young other players in the value chain with overcoming challenges and
entrepreneurs and application developers linkages to farmers (e.g. agrodealers, tranforming agriculture
include the lack of business courses in processors, supermarkets or insurance
agriculture and ICT curricula, the lack providers) or stakeholders that can Heike Baumllers 2016
of capacities and sustainability in facilitate the use of ICT-enabled publication Agricultural Service
innovation hubs and incubators, the solutions (e.g. farmers organisations Delivery Through Mobile Phones
limited availability of venture capital or savings groups). This will also require
(especially mid-level financing needed for thinking beyond mobile phones, which

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83

Farms could become the offices

of the future
relatively cheap and perform useful world. The field of food technology,
functions in Africa. They are the product presentation and packaging
gateway to further engagement of holds many answers for this less
Africas youth population, especially explored path.
the tech savvy youth, and reap the
consequential rewards of social How can entrepreneurs in
impact, innovation and job creation. e-agriculture achieve revenue
generation and profitability?
What can they do for agricultural The surest path for revenue generation
development in Africa? or profitability for any start-up in
Africas agriculture is still largely Africa is creating value. Start-ups that
subsistence despite billions of add real value to their customers (the
development aid and grants towards farmers and the consumer) become the
advancing productivity and the winners in the market. To do so would
attractiveness of the sector. Africa even require a degree of collaboration
continues to be a net importer of food with existing players, and leveraging
despite having one of the largest the market channels that traditional
proportion of arable land globally players had built but have exploited
and despite having such a diversified sub-optimally. And as the latest
bio-system that it could be the food Aso Villa Demo Day in Nigeria for
basket of the world. Most of the start-ups showed with companies like
advances in agriculture have been FreshDirect and Foodstantly, there are
externally imposed on the continent many opportunities for entrepreneurs
Michael Oluwagbemi is co-founder with consequently poor adoption in e-agriculture in Africa.
and executive partner at LoftyInc either due to lack of fit or cost. ICT
Allied Partners and operator of the start-up incubation and acceleration How can ICT entrepreneurship in
Wennovation Hub (www. in agriculture provides a unique agriculture be strengthened in based in opportunity to re-engage Africas Africa?
Lagos, Nigeria. He has extensive own youths across the agricultural There is no doubt that enhanced
experience in business venture value chain, empowered with collaboration between farmers
support and development. He technology, so Africa can develop and techies has to be the first step
serves on several boards including its own technologies fit for purpose towards achieving convergence in
AfriLabs, where he is chairperson. and feed her citizens freed from the e-agriculture incubation and
external dependency. Furthermore, acceleration. Today, techies are more
it puts the sexy back in agriculture comfortable in their offices and rooms
for our youths. Our farms could and farmers cannot fathom the essence
What is the objective of AfriLabs? become the offices of the future. of a hackathon. Bridging that gap by
AfriLabs is the network of innovation investing in immersion type experiences
open spaces and support organisations What are the major challenges for techies in farms while developing
across Africa. The organisation is for young ICT entrepreneurs in a methodology already has been
committed to promoting knowledge agriculture? pioneered by Wennovation Hub and
sharing, to enabling resource sharing, I like to speak more about CTA in YEEFA Agrihack in Nigeria.
and to promoting integration among opportunities. The many obstacles This could go a long way in translating
Africas emerging innovation hubs, in the food value chain provide current problems to future solutions
inculators, and hacker spaces that entrepreneurs with golden business and markets. Both public policy
have been instrumental to supporting opportunities if they are willing to advocates and their development
Africas new generation of technology invest in solutions, for example in partners such as banks, multilateral
innovators and enthusiasts. monitoring, storage, preservation institutions, funders etc. have to invest
and agro-industrialisation that more directly in suitable e-agriculture
What are inculators? enhance the value of crops and programmes in collaboration with
Incubators and accelerators are now animals to the end-users as well stakeholders in the ecosystems, like
jointly referred to as inculators. as middle-men in the value chain. incubators, accelerators, networks
They face familiar pioneer challenges. Along the many different operational of angel investors, and organisations
One of the main challenges is to challenges of running such a business, like AfriLabs that aggregate these
create awareness of both the general one interesting challenge for Africas efforts. This conversation must start
public and policy makers about the young entrepreneurs is how to and should result in precipitate efforts
value of their utility. Inculators are represent Africas staple foods to the and actions. 5
Building a healthy ecosystem for ICT
Countries could see economic growth in e-agriculture when the private and public sectors
are aligned to create a climate that fosters innovation. Some lessons can be learned from the
Caribbean and Latin America on creating a healthy ecosystem for ICT start-ups in agriculture.

Troy Weekes and


Leonard Seale of
CropGuard attend a
convening to create an
agtech ecosystem in


I n February of 2016 the Caribbean

Development Bank and the Trident
Angels Network, an investment group
and they formed a working group to
foster a healthy ecosystem.
farms in Barbados and closed contracts
with 50% of them.
The CropGuard example illustrates
of Barbadian business leaders, convened Validate with paying customers that software based agriculture companies
a meeting to talk about how they can CropGuard is one of such Barbados-based have the potential for quicker growth at
support scalable business development start-ups that was present at the February a lower cost because they do not need a
in Barbados. The Barbados Ministry of meeting. It tackles pests in agriculture physical product before they start creating
Labour, the Organisation of Eastern with an innovative software platform revenue. Entrepreneurs can test their
Caribbean States and the World Bank that connects farmers to agri-suppliers product on paying customers, giving
attended along with the Barbados Chamber while offering vital data to government them vital access to develop solutions
of Commerce, PitchIT Caribbean, Start-Up agencies. CropgGuard was launched in for their customers. This advantage is
Jamaica, Devlabs, and the Barbados Youth September 2014, and was the second prize lost if entrepreneurs are taught to first
Entrepreneurship Scheme. winner in the AgriHack competition seek out unrealistic investment. Most
Critical to the meeting were local sponsored by CTA in October 2014. early stage ICT start-ups in agriculture
start-ups in different stages of development, CropGuard had developed a product, do not need cash investment, they need
from students with a business idea, to but was not yet making significant sales. technical development and sales support.
small businesses looking to expand from Therefore, the team was encouraged Business leaders, business associations,
services to scalable solutions, to start-ups to start approaching large customers incubators and accelerators can create
generating revenues and hiring their first immediately and to test their product by impact by talking directly to entrepreneurs
employees. The stakeholders opened their solving the needs of paying customers. and giving them targeted sales or
networks to the entrepreneurs to allow Devlabs provided a sales opener, who technical support.
them insight into the market, access to had come out of the Start-Up Jamaica
potential customers and support services. network, to fill up CropgGuards sales Learn to pivot
All the players identified gaps in the pipeline in Barbados. In three months The following two examples highlight
support structure for entrepreneurs, CropGuard had approached all of the further lessons learned based on the

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
experiences of Devlabs in supporting ICT the innovation and entrepreneurial hub
start-ups in agriculture. Jermaine Henry of Latin America. In 2010 the Chilean
is an entrepreneur based in Kingston, Economic Development Agency
Jamaica, who specialises in business (CORFO) launched Start-Up Chile, which
development. He worked with a team to offers training, mentoring, networking
create a two-sided agriculture marketplace, events and US$40,000 in seed grants to
connecting farmers to wholesalers. Their start-ups. Universities support start-up
business would have to get both farmers entrepreneurship, and there are tax and
and buyers on their platform. His team immigration policies to attract foreign
was winning pitch contests, going to investment.
conferences, getting press attention, and ReinSystem is one of the start-ups
speaking at the United Nations about to come out of the fertile ecosystem in
alleviating hunger in developing nations. Chile. The team created the business at
Their business plan expanded to providing Universidad de la Frontera as their thesis
capital upfront to the farmers while project. ReinSystem was a combination
wholesalers sold their product. Yet after of hardware and software to help
a year and a half they had not finished farmers monitor soil conditions. They
building their platform and they had leveraged the universitys incubator,
not made one sale. Incubatec grant programme. The seed
funding they received allowed them
to develop the software and hardware
An advanced ecosystem to begin selling across Southern Chile.
After a year of generating revenues,
allows entrepreneurs to some members of the team realised that
fail and learn from their their revenue margins were too low and
decided to create a new business. From
mistakes. their work with ReinSystem they learned
that most large farms already have
Devlabs brought Henry and his sensors in their soil and that the indicator
team to Silicon Valley for an informal that makes the biggest impact is water.
fellowship. In the first week Henry was They decided to focus solely on vineyards.
talking to farmers and buyers. He realised In three months the team launched
that his solution was too complicated Irricrops, a software platform that helps
and unsustainable. Henry spent time vineyards manage irrigation. Irricrops
on the Oakland docks with wholesalers, is now experiencing growth five times collaborative relationships that support
watching them work and found that as fast as ReinSystem. the local ICT entrepreneurs and
their systems were analogue and time The Irricrops example illustrates trust building among the actors,
consuming. Henry saw an opportunity an advanced ecosystem that allowed like education institutions, start-up
for a software solution that would be entrepreneurs to fail and learn from incubators, accelerators, business
manageable to create and added value. their mistakes. The Irricrops team associations, government and
He pivoted from a marketplace to a learned from their first experience and multilateral programmes. Everyone in
management tool for freight forwarders launched their minimum viable product the ecosystems needs to understand
in his new company, Quicdock. (MVP) quickly, with contracts already the key points that make e-agriculture
Henrys experience shows that ICT pending. They applied for and received companies different from traditional
entrepreneurs in agriculture need to focus the same funding that they received for agriculture businesses and how to
on talking to their customers to develop a their first company. The ecosystem did support their growth.
product that fits the needs. Education and not penalise the team for their failure,
training programmes as well as but allowed for experimentation and
incubators and accelerators need to About the author
learning. Governments, foundations and
Barni Qaasim (
understand this and not distract multilateral organisations should not is a partner at US based Devlabs
entrepreneurs from building a product invest in companies, but should invest Venture Capital, which helps
and making sales. In addition, moving in the talent in the region. potential high-growth ICT start-ups
away from two-sided market places in the Caribbean and Latin America
and focusing on selling business to Collaborative relationship to become investment ready.
business are sustainable strategies for What the three examples show is
entrepreneurs that do not have access that when stakeholders including
to angel or venture capital and need to governments, investors and the
Related Links
make sustainable revenues business community, are committed
Website of Devlabs Venture
immediately. to investing in entrepreneurial success,
a diversity of entrepreneurs are
Learn by failure empowered to create inventive methods
Website of Start-up Chile
Chile is a country that has invested and solutions. An ecosystem in which
heavily in the software and ICT start-up agriculture technology can be developed
ecosystem and has transformed itself into and flourish, therefore, depends on the 7
Enabling user-inclusive innovation
in African agriculture
Ignitia has developed a disruptive technology that allows smallholder farmers in West
Africa to access accurate weather predictions. Engaging with local partners and initiating
reliable impact measurements were key factors to gain trust and scale-up the business.

W ithin ICT there are a few

successful examples of
technically advanced solutions that
end-users who are poor, live in rural
areas and often are low-literate.
The study includes the company
Finding local partners
A team of young entrepreneurs
decided to set up the operations of
radically change opportunities in Ignitia, with its headquarter in Sweden Ignitia in Accra and developed an
underserved markets, such as mobile and subsidiaries in Ghana and Nigeria. enhanced weather forecasting model.
payment solution M-Pesa. However, It all started with the realisation of The idea was to deliver 2-day forecasts
there is a lack of similar successful a young meteorologist that there were in such simple format that the simplest
examples by small and medium-sized no accurate weather forecasting models phone could be used and to the lowest
enterprises (SMEs) or new ventures. specifically developed for tropical possible cost for the user. Still, the
Many companies manage to do a Africa. Existing forecasts provided forecast had to be very accurate, not
promising pilot, but to execute a scale-up information that was more often wrong just for a district, but at the location
has proven very complex. The reasons than correct, leaving farmers trying to of each users farm.
are still not well researched and current predict changes in weather based on One of the first practical challenges
literature for scaling strategies in observing nature. The basic need for was the frequent power cuts, which led
Youth underserved markets are simply not accurate forecasts is to get a good the team to put the supercomputers
e-agriculture proving to prepare or guide entrepreneurs estimate of whether it will rain or not, that are critical in processing the huge
entrepreneurship well enough, with exception of a few sufficient for sowing and applying amounts of satellite data and run the
hands-on business accelerators such fertilisers, and to plan the harvesting. algorithms that the team developed, in
as Dasra (India), the Unreasonable Few farmers in Western Africa have Sweden instead of Ghana. It took two
Institute (US) and Villgro (Bangladesh). irrigation and low productivity effects the years (and a total of 15 man years) to
One longitudinal study of the Royal economic risk of buying high-quality research and develop the high-resolution
Institute of Technology in Sweden inputs that may go to waste if the farmer tropical forecast model before the
focuses on how innovative entrepreneurs has little idea whether the coming month service was piloted with farmers in
could scale-up while engaging with will be wetter or drier than normal. Northern Ghana.
During a farmer
training in Northern

Ghana, Ignitia
explains the concept

of predictions and
how the mobile
service works.

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
Ignitias team is

A start-up has to deal with receiving feedback
from farmers that their
the many mixed feedback yield has increased
with the assistance of
messages that it receives better forecasts.
from end-users and

During the pilot phase the business

model was tested. First of all, how to
engage with local partners such as
farmer cooperatives and NGOs to make
farmers aware of the service and to train
them. If these partner organisations see
the service as a productivity-enhancing
tool, they may be willing to pay for
it on behalf of the associated farmers.
Therefore, Ignitia first researched and
networked its way among local farmer
associations and international international staff in one of the NGO of farmers and then try tracking what
development communities to find the projects pointed out a problem with the the effect of this changed behaviour
right local partners. In parallel to this, symbols, they were changed into words. could be. For example, a willingness
the company researched farming The users may be illiterate but they have to chose higher quality inputs and
practices, so that it would understand proven perfectly capable of recognising the more fertilisers, because they are more
better how farmers would use weather few words that are used in the forecast. confident about when rain is coming
information depending on type of crop A start-up has to deal with the many by using the ICT tool, which then may
and different farming methods. mixed feedback messages that it receives in turn lead to higher yields. A study
The local partners became important from end-users and clients. This should done by students at Yale has given
actors that provided the company also certainly not be interpreted that decisions Ignitia preliminary results that their
with feedback on how the service was to change things are not necessary, service indeed does influence farmers
perceived in terms of accuracy over time but must be inspirational for further behaviour and that the forecast is
and to evaluate whether the service development of the ICT service and often shared among neighbours.
influenced farmers behaviour. Once business decisions. Today, the company The Ignitia entrepreneurs have
these factors have been validated and has a marketing team that includes also been subject of questioning and
impact measured, Ignitia is better competence in anthropology and have outright suspicion from international
equipped to approach more partners, introduced a rapid-prototyping process meteorology institutions, due to their
which are essential to reach out to the to test marketing ideas. Getting to know claims of achieving higher accuracy
poorest and the most remote farmers markets and end-users, whose preferences than other, more established
in Western Africa and for the business vary a great deal across such diverse organisations. Part of the controversy
model as local partner organisations countries as in West Africa, is expected is not about the science and what the
pay for the forecasts on behalf of the to take time and require testing of company has managed to develop, but
farmers. The other important channel different approaches. Observations comes down to the start-up being a
to market the service is offering the tool of what people do and the influence private company, which is selling its
through a mobile operator via short code on behaviour changes as they interact services in low-income markets. A
so that any person can subscribe to the with ICT based services, rather than start-up that is disrupting a traditional
service. The users are charged just a few interviewing, would sometimes be sector, is not welcomed by all with
cents per day from their mobile credits. more effective to overcome language open arms.
barriers and biased responses. For a
Learning from the illiterate users small enterprise with very scarce
Symbols for clouds, rain and sunshine resources this is rarely feasible.
would help low-literate and illiterate About the author
users to understand the forecast, the Impact measurements Ruth Brnnvall (ruth.brannvall@
team initially thought. In addition In the case of Ignitia there were some works at the
to the symbols, these messages also external studies that gave the company Department of Industrial
included the number 1, 2, and 3 to indications that its ICT tool was Economics and Management, KTH
indicate how certain the forecast was. helpful for smallholder farmers to The Royal Institute of Technology
However, the number indication caused increase their productivity, which in in Sweden.
a lot of confusion. The decision was turn may lead to increased economic
made to train farmers on this rather status and poverty reduction. Any
than taking it out of the message, as the business that produces a type of Related Links
message could be misinterpreted that decision tool for a farmer, needs to be Official website of Ignitia.
the company is dictating the weather careful with impact measurements as it
rather than predicting it. And when has to measure changes in behaviour 9
Balancing entrepreneurial values
with social impact
Social entrepreneurs in Africa have developed innovative ICT-enabled models for
agriculture with the aim of combining profit with inclusive rural development.
Their main challenges are scaling-up and earning an income while serving the poorest
rural communities.
private sector actors (e.g. short-termism),

public sector actors (e.g. budget constraints),

and civil society (e.g. entrepreneurial
limitations) leave many options open for
improvements, it is social entrepreneurs
mission to fill this gap by combining
social and entrepreneurial values.
The majority of small-scale farmers are
excluded from formal financial
institutions and borrow at high interest
rates from informal sources. Most lack
information and awareness of the benefits
of improved inputs such as hybrid seed,
concentrate feeds, fertilisers and pesticides,
Youth or machinery. Most smallholder farmers
e-agriculture rely solely on rainwater for their crops,
entrepreneurship while basic irrigation systems could double
a fields productivity. Social enterprises
play an increasing part in using innovative

T he concept of social entrepreneurship,

the idea of using business to solve
major social and environmental problems,
identified in the report as a key enabler
for social entrepreneurs in agriculture;
lowering transaction costs and enabling
business models and technology to solve
such challenges. Esoko, for example,
is a social enterprise that has developed
is gaining traction in East Africa and scale through provision of information, apps that train and support farmers in
particularly in agriculture. Poor farming finance, collectivising smallholders and monitoring production, increasing yield
practices, inefficient processing, storage providing market linkages. The report and marketing. Esoko tracks data generated
and supply chain infrastructure leads classifies social enterprises across three from the apps for analytics and uses it
to wastage, distorts pricing and supply. levers based on their interaction with to improved farm yields.
For the social entrepreneur such the bottom of the pyramid (BoP): access, One way to strengthen the efficiency of
challenges in the food value chain ability, and knowledge. (See table below.) lending to smallholder farmers is through
provide business opportunities. mining the credit history of potential
Intellecap analysed over 400 social Business opportunities customers for financial institutions.
enterprises across East Africa, of which Social entrepreneurship has the opportunity FarmDrive, for instance, conducts credit
many are working in agriculture. The to improve rural employment, to empower assessment of smallholder farmers using
findings have been captured in the Game communities, and to tackle various a digital book-keeping platform. The
Changers Report (2016). Technology was constraints in the food value chain. While enterprises technology enables farmers

BoP Involvement Value to BoP Agriculture Models Target Market

Access As consumers of critical Improved access to Agriculture inputs Rural and urban BoP
products and services critical products and
services that are high
quality and affordable
Ability As partners in enterprise Through skills Agro-processing and Rural, urban and export
value chain and/or skill improvements, increased capacity building of market (middle and
development productivity and output farmers upper income)
Knowledge Knowledge As consumers of Improved awareness and Information linked to Rural and urban BoP
Framework (Source: information behaviour change towards good farming practices
Intellecap 2016) better quality of life

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
to track their productivity, expenses and make it cost-prohibitive for small Africa need to design innovative
revenues which are analysed to reveal companies with limited scale to reach a financing mechanisms such as multi-year
performance patterns. The information network of thousands of disparate farms financing plans, result-based financing,
helps financiers to make lending decisions while larger companies encounter a host and other forms of blended finance in
based on the credit profiles of the borrowers. of logistical issues. Transportation order to cater to the growing demand.
Small vendors lack money and time to bottlenecks can also run up costs. With financing and support the enterprises
travel distances to remote rural markets to will be able to scale simultaneously
purchase fruits and vegetables. Therefore, Way forward creating profit and much needed impact.
social enterprise Twiga Foods has developed Intellecaps analysis has shown that Ultimately social entrepreneurs need
a tool that vendors can use to order stocks. East Africa has seen a proliferation of a lot of support not only financially but
It procures the produce directly from farmers entrepreneurship and innovative in capacity building and networking.
at a guaranteed price and delivers it to the business models with two factors This can come from governments, NGOs,
vendors. The vendors are allowed to make emerging as key for success. Firstly, donors, private sector actors (e.g. angel
flexible payments using mobile money the importance of providing end-to-end investors or impact investors), and
depending on what they sell during the day. support across all stages of the value increasingly specialised support
chain. Those enterprises that provide organisations for the social enterprise.
quality inputs and processing facilities, The support should not only target the
Social entrepreneurship support capacity building of farmers, and individual social entrepreneur, but must
has the opportunity to ensure market linkages were the most seek to create the perfect ecosystem for
successful. This model locks in revenue social entrepreneurship to succeed in
improve rural stream and collectivises smallholder their social mission. Because such
employment, to empower farmers to reap economies of scale whilst ecosystems are less advanced in rural
ensuring that farmers receive fair pricing areas, support should take into account
communities, and to for their products on a regular basis. the special measures to succeed social
tackle various constraints Secondly, enterprises should consider enterprises in rural circumstances.
leveraging technology. Enterprises with
in the food value chain. access to customer data can collect,
analyse and predict future trends and
Challenges for social enterprises highlight business opportunities. In the
Social entrepreneurs that serve poor and absence of such data, customer insights About the author
remote rural communities face many remain locked within individuals and Sheena Raikundalia (sheena.r@
obstacles. Although for social entrepreneurs enterprises and responses to challenges is a senior advisor
the social mission is as important as remain reactive. with Intellecaps consulting team in
profit-making, earning an income from Despite numerous examples of social Kenya providing strategic advisory
their activities is a must. A key challenge, enterprises in e-agriculture, social services to corporates, start-ups,
however, is the limited purchasing power entrepreneurship is still nascent in East development agencies and NGOs
of a low income rural population. Intellecap Africa and more than 60% of enterprises across the East Africa market.
noticed a shift in the way social enterprises interviewed for the report were younger
in Eastern Africa react to the challenges of than five years old. Around half of the
affordability. Creating affordable products enterprises have not achieved break-even
was synonymous to creating low-cost and 67% earn revenues of less than Related links
products with basic features. However, US$100,000. Investments of US$100,000 Website of Intellecap
social enterprises now focus on designing to US$500,000 are critical for the growth
innovative pricing and payment solutions of these enterprises, but currently demand Game Changers report (2016)
for full-feature products and services. for such investments outstrips supply. As
They use sliding fee scales or special such, impact investors focusing in East
discounts for people of lesser means or
A look in the iHub in
introduce new payment models.

Kenya where young

For example, there is the pay-as-you-go innovators meet each
model that is also referred to as a progressive other.
ownership model or rent-to-own model.
Social enterprises use this model to provide
rural asset financing for the low income
population. In this model, a consumer pays
an initial deposit for an asset and pays
instalments on a regular basis. Once the
instalments are paid to cover the balance
cost, the consumer owns the product and
can stop paying instalments.
Another challenge for social enterprises
is that they often have to build markets,
create demand for their offerings and
educate customers. Poor infrastructure
and uneven geographic distribution 11
Young ICT entrepreneurs provide
solutions for agriculture
The IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) ICT unit has established its own businesses by making
use of ICT tools, like drones. The members also give ICT trainings with the aim to enhance
agriculture and sensitise rural entrepreneurs.

J ust as there is e-commerce,

e-banking, e-learning, there is now
e-agriculture. It refers to the use of
youth-in-agribusiness programme
is to reorient youths towards more
productive engagement in agriculture
technology became widely accepted
among researchers who can use it for
data capturing.
ICT to provide solutions to problems through expanded opportunities in Using a Phantom 2 vision + drone
encountered in the agricultural sector. agribusiness, service provision, and the ICT unit could earn about US$1,000
E-agriculture is attracting youths to market-oriented agriculture, for every month from the services rendered
agriculture and some have identified example by making use of ICTs. to research scientists. With an aggressive
opportunities for income generation It conducts agribusiness incubations marketing strategy, and through
through enterprises that deliver ICT and offers training and mentoring to sensitisation and awareness on the
empowered services to farmers and other youth. Furthermore, it creates and usage and benefits of the drone, the
to other actors in agriculture. In other develops promising collective enterprises youth agripreneurs managed an
words, the advent of ICT in the and stimulates the involvement of increase in their drone business
agricultural sector has changed the youth in agribusinesses for the benefit activities and revenues, even resulting
face of Africas agriculture and now of the larger rural community through in a long waiting list of clients.
Youth forms part of what is attracting young employment, out-grower opportunities The ICT unit could purchase another
e-agriculture people into the sector. and income generation. sophisticated DJI Inspire 1 drone from
entrepreneurship IYA is a group of young graduates their earnings and now provide more
established by the International Investing in drones research-related services to scientists
Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) IYAs ICT unit has started its own depending on duration, location, and
in 2012, which foresees a bright future business to help farmers adopt to intensity of the work.
for e-agriculture in Africa. The youth modern farming methods. For Another group of clients emerged at
who are from diverse educational example, it adopted the use of drones the same time. Local farmers in the
backgrounds have embraced for capturing aerial pictures and video Joga-Orile in Nigeria learned about the
agriculture as a business. They are documentation of field activities, benefits of using drones and were
involved in several profitable monitor crop performance, and eager to hire the services of the youth
agribusiness enterprises from perform other research-related functions. entrepreneurs. Although drones are
involvement in the production, Starting the drone delivery services becoming cheaper, smallholder farmers
packaging, and marketing of farm within IITA, the group first had to in Nigeria are still not able to afford
produce. The goal of this IITA sensitise researchers to ensure that the the technology and do not have the
This photowas made

during adrone
operation conducted
by IYAs ICT unit in

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
Demonstration of Hello


A start-up has to deal with Tractor in Nigeria,
where currently only
the many mixed feedback 4% of the countrys
demand for tractors is
messages that it receives being met.

from end-users and


necessary knowledge and skills in

using the technology and analysing
the data. Therefore, the majority of
farmers prefer working together with
the entrepreneurs from IYAs ICT unit.
The expectation is an increase in
demand for the drone service in the
future and high return on investment
for the youth entrepreneurs, which
could result in competition with other
entrepreneurs involved in using drone
technology in agriculture who could entrepreneurs. It gets paid by Hello understand, and increase confidence
enter the market in the near future. Tractor for delivering trainings for in becoming an ICT entrepreneur.
However, the youth agripreneurs of them. So far IYA has received nearly This will change the dynamics of rural
IYA are not afraid of competition. 3,000 applications for the trainings. entrepreneurship in general and will
They have built an extensive network of IYA is also finalising and launching create unlimited opportunities for
scientists, researchers, and local farmer an e-commerce platform for the sale of youths to successfully run agriculture
communities that could secure further agricultural produce. The platform will as a business through innovative ICT
expansion of their business activities. link farmers to buyers and create a level service delivery and trainings.
playing ground for all the players along
Empowering youth the value chain to benefit. The application About the authors
entrepreneurs is being developed by the GreenWealth Festus Oluwadamisi Okunlola
IYA is also taking up the challenge of Agripreneurs, who are currently running ( is a
training other young agripreneurs in an incubation programme in IYA. The graduate of Plant Breeding and
Ibadan, Abuja, and Kano, on the use Incubates get stipends for up-keep and are Seed Technology. He joined IYA in
of a smart tractor developed by Hello expected to be at the incubation centre for 2015 and is currently working with
Tractor. The Smart Tractor is a versatile 18 months after which they establish the ICT unit of IYA in Ibadan,
machine with eight attachments to their own agribusiness enterprises with Nigeria. Adetola Adenmosun
serve farmers throughout the farm loans that are based on a bankable ( is a
production cycle. It has attachments business plan. graduate of Mass Communication.
which include those for tilling, Some of the incubates have seen She joined IYA in 2014.
ploughing, threshing, haulage, the opportunities that come with She currently works with the
irrigation pumping and sprinkling, iron establishing firms that could create communication unit of IYA
wheels for wet paddy rice production, solutions to agricultural problems using in Ibadan.
and other vital farming needs. The tractor ICTs, and in turn create job and wealth
is also fitted with a GPS antenna, local for themselves. However, major
SIM card, hard drive and telematics challenges to e-agriculture remain such Related Links
capabilities, which enables them to as high costs of acquiring the skills and Official website of IYA
connect the Smart Tractor to the the tools, and the level of reluctance
powerful cloud software of Hello Tractor, shown by farmers in adopting Follow IYA on Twitter
even in rural environments with low innovations. Convincing the older
connectivity. Its connectivity feature farmers to make use of these tools is
enables Hello Tractor to pair farmers difficult as many of them prefer to do
in need of tractor services with a Smart agriculture the conservative way.
More cases of ICT entrepreneurs in
Tractor owner within their vicinity However, the young farmers who are
through a simple text message service. taking over from the ageing farmers agriculture on ICT Updates brand
Hello Tractor sells its Smart Tractors will find ICTs more interesting and new website. Read exclusively on
to entrepreneurs, farmer organisations, will develop better skills over the years. about ICT
and individual farmers that provide IYA and within it the ICT unit, is entrepreneur Robert Gichuru from
agricultural mechanisation services committed to encourage ICT
Kenya, who has created Mulika Pesa
to farmers in Nigeria for US$4,000. entrepreneurship in agriculture. With
However, it has to train these its incubator programme, trainings, software. And about David Jonathan
entrepreneurs in maintaining the and by establishing entrepreneurial from Nigeria, who has started
tractors and promoting their services. activities themselves, they give the FarmAfriQue.
IYA now is involved in training the youth the opportunity to learn, 13
Unleashing the next generation
of entrepreneurs in e-agriculture
The Tony Elumelu Foundation has started a Pan-Africa entrepreneurship programme for
a total of 10,000 start-ups. Many of them work in agriculture and strive to modernise the
sector with technology-based solutions.

Tony Elumelu at 2015


TEF Entrepreneurship


I n December 2015, shortly after

Nigerian billionaire businessman
and philanthropist Tony Elumelu CON
and markets, amongst others.
To combat these sober statistics, there
has been a flurry of entrepreneurship
Building enterprises that last
The programme actively addresses the
diverse needs of young African
publicly committed US$100 million to competitions and accelerator programmes businesses, from funding to mentoring
empower African entrepreneurs, in the local start-up scene. As Marime to training and focused networking. By
recommendations poured in from Jamme, CEO-Entrepreneur and Curator doing so it ensures that the start-ups are
world leaders, technocrats and African of Africa Gathering, observes in the built to last. Throughout the task-based
business owners. The Tony Elumelu Huffington Post, these initiatives have business training exercise, each
Foundation Entrepreneurship had little success in supporting entrepreneur is guided by a mentor
Programme is rooted in the inclusive entrepreneurs due to the short-term with relevant sector experience. At the
philosophy of Africapitalism - the belief nature and an over-focus on a single end of this learning period, the young
that a vibrant African-led private sector aspect of the entrepreneurship value entrepreneurs are fully equipped to create
with significant participation from chain at the detriment of other areas the sound business plans after which they
entrepreneurs, is the key to unlocking entrepreneur needs crucial support in. receive the first non-refundable tranche
Africas economic and social potential. The entrepreneurship programme of seed capital of US$5,000. The second
The Entrepreneurship Programme is the Tony Elumelu Foundation addresses US$5,000 investment is only eligible to
now in its second year of a decade-long these sustainability challenges that entrepreneurs who have demonstrated
commitment to grow 10,000 African have afflicted many past SME-support consistent progress and is given in the
start-ups and businesses capable of initiatives. The programme is deliberately form of either a loan or equity.
collectively creating at least one million holistic with seven core pillars: start-up Since 1 January 2015 65,000
new jobs and contributing up to business skills training, expert mentoring, applications have been received from
US$10 billion in revenues across Africa. seed capital funding, access to an all over the continent. During the first
Studies reveal that 60% of small and online resource library, membership in two years 2,000 entrepreneurs have
medium-size enterprises collapse within the Africa-wide alumni network of the made the final cut to become Tony
a few months of launching in Kenya, Tony Elumelu Foundation, frequent Elumelu Entrepreneurs based on their
while 95% of SMEs die within twelve meetups with stakeholders (including scores on five factors: feasibility, market
months in Nigeria, due to constraints top policy-makers), and participation in opportunity, financial understanding,
that vary from insufficient financing to Africas biggest annual entrepreneurship scalability, leadership potential and
a lack of access to mentorship, networks, networking Forum. entrepreneurial skills. The other 63,000

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
The majority have built businesses in the their businesses. In line with this, the
Africas youth are more advanced end of the value chain Foundation produces evidence-based
including processing, cold rooms, reports to support policymakers in
aggressively identifying storage, distribution and increased addressing key issues in finance, access
opportunities in reliance on ICT. They are utilising to markets and information, high
innovative techniques that enhance the operating costs, scarce inputs and
agriculture, and leveraging competitiveness of the sector, resulting equipment, obsolete land laws, and high
innovation and in standardised produce and products taxes that affect start-ups. In May, the
that are eligible for export overseas. Foundation released the Unleashing
technology tools to build This trend of utilising technology to Africas Agricultural Entrepreneurs
sustainable and profitable increase transparency and efficiency in publication at the 2016 World Economic
agriculture is widespread in Africa and Forum on Africa in Rwanda.
agri-businesses. gives insight to what extent entrepreneurs The reports insights come from case
candidates remain as members engaged are employing ICTs and a range of studies and experiences of Tony Elumelu
in the Tony Elumelu Foundation technology platforms to drive development agricultural entrepreneurs, as well as
Entrepreneurship Network where they in agriculture. Transforming agriculture input from established stakeholders,
receive non-financial support and will unlock jobs and improve skills at practitioners and investors across the
access to diverse opportunities for a time when forty million young people value chain. Eleven key recommendations
their business ideas. in Africa are out of work. Over 30% of are included for decision-makers in the
the finalists who work in agriculture private and public sectors to improve
Young entrepreneurs have joined local cooperatives to share the agriculture value and supply chains:
in agriculture the training they have received and cheaper and more reliable access to
Amongst these start-ups, agriculture is provide support to farmers. Others have finance, insurance, and inputs such as
by far the most popular sector. The data become inspired to return to school to fertiliser, seeds, livestock vaccination,
suggests that contrary to mainstream earn advanced degrees in agriculture. pesticides; more formal degrees of
belief, Africas youth are aggressively training and extension services;
identifying opportunities in agriculture, SME-friendly policies improved storage and warehousing
and where possible, leveraging Entrepreneurs do not exist in isolation. to mend the fractured value chain;
innovation and technology tools In order for entrepreneurs to succeed, agri-friendly financial products, like
to build sustainable and profitable they must operate in economies with warehouse receipts to enable borrowing
agri-businesses. Over 20,000 of SME-friendly policies in place that allow from banks; reduced taxes or tax
entrepreneurs in the network are engaged them to thrive, generate income and breaks and provision of infrastructure
in ventures along the agriculture value create employment for others. Essentially, to support and engender productivity
chain and at least 600 of the 2,000 to succeed, they need the public sector rather than hinder entrepreneurial
finalists are involved in agri-business. to create an enabling environment for investment in the long term.

Four of the finalists in the Tony Elumelu Foundation About the author
Entrepreneurship Programme: Somachi Chris-Asoluka (somachi.
Crowd Farm Africa Ltd is a Kenyan Enric Farm Fresh Delivery Enterprise is the head of
crowd-farming company. Crowd Farm in Kenya is an online store that facilitates research for the Tony Elumelu
Africa uses technology to promote home and office delivery of locally- Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria.
shareholding farming, strengthen local sourced organic fresh fruit and vegetables.
agricultural value chains, and connect It provides local farmers with trainings,
smallholder farmers to markets. Crowd seeds and seedlings for planting. The sales
Farms online platform enables investors strategy targets working professional and
to invest in the food value chain. business owners with no time to visit food
All investments are centrally managed markets and supermarkets. The company Related Links
by Crowd Farm Africa to ensure high makes a small premium on every delivery. Website of Tony Elumelu
returns. ( ( Foundation Entrepreneurship
Sub-zero Foods Networking Company Fasbol Global Link Limited in Nigeria http://tonyelumelufoundation.
in Nigeria is an e-platform that preserves produces, packages and distributes org/teep/
and distributes a variety of frozen foods, gluten-free foods and flour through Tony Elumelu Foundations
like sea foods, poultry, fruits and vegetables. its online platform. The client base publication Unleashing Africas
All produce is preserved via freezing includes gluten-sensitive individuals, Agricultural Entrepreneurs.
technology, marketed online and celiac disease patients and diabetic
distributed to customers. The mission patients. The companys vision is to be Article in The Huffington Post of
is to reduce food wastage and losses the preferred supplier for people living Marime Jamme.
caused by poor preservation and storage with health challenges in Nigeria.
methods. ( ( 15
Support for ICT entrepreneurs to
match each need
French mobile phone provider Orange has developed several support programmes
for ICT start-ups in Africa and the Middle East. By providing the right, tailor made support
facilities it aims to enable a home-grown e-agriculture sustainable growth model for
innovative, young entrepreneurs.

Social Venture

Prize winners 2015.


L aunched in 2011, the Orange for

Development Programme (O4D)
supports the development of
All finalists and the Entrepreneur
Clubs choice award winners will
receive support to develop their
of their fields with a mobile phone
(even with the simplest models), from
any geographical location of a certain
innovative solutions to meet local products and services in a six-month radius. This smart system allows
needs and contribute to the creation private coaching programme that farmers to save time and water.
of digital ecosystems to drive social includes professional entrepreneurs, Winning the Orange Prize in 2011
progress and economic development ICT experts, and NGO representatives. has had a decisive impact on the
in Africa and the Middle East. Only the first prize-winner will be development of his enterprise. Kan
The programmes three pillars are: awarded a registered patent. acknowledges that the prize opened
developing infrastructure and The French mobile phone operator many closed doors as the prize gave
connectivity, providing services also supports entrepreneurship by his company credibility, in particular
tailored to needs, and supporting sharing experiences and know-how with banks. International experts also
innovation in local ecosystems. by offering access to its exchange back his ICT solution. He has received
Agriculture is one of the main areas platforms and networks and by an award at the Geneva International
of engagement together with facilitating the creation of new exhibition of inventions in 2012 and was
healthcare, education, financial ICT services through application then selected by the French-speaking
services, and women. programming interfaces (APIs). Institute for Sustainable Development
Better connectivity to farmers Furthermore, Orange opened incubators and represented at the World Water
through a reliable infrastructure in Senegal, Mauritius, Niger, Mali, and Forum in Marseille. With all the
gives opportunities building tailor Guinea. The idea for these incubation support he managed to improve
made support and services for programmes is to design an inclusive the product and could increase his
farmers. Therefore, the O4D space with horizontal governance that clientele to more than a hundred
programme also invests in start-ups brings together the public sector, the paying customers in Niger.
in e-agriculture, which take part in private sector and civil society, to Another entrepreneur who received
Oranges various support channels increase the success rate for start-ups. support, is Aboubacar Sidy Sonko
(see box on page 17). One of the from Senegal. He founded the virtual
flagship activities is the Orange Technical support agricultural hub MLouma in 2012,
Social Venture Price. This prize Abdou Maman Kan from Niger is one which publishes real-time information
awards three start-ups each year with of the prize-winners of the first edition on the price, location and availability
25,000, 15,000, and 10,000. Since of the Social Venture Prize with his of farm products. Farmers and buyers
2011, twenty-two start-up enterprises enterprise Tele-Irrigation. He developed can receive updates via the internet,
have received not only prize-money, a technological process allowing SMS notifications or a call centre to
but also extensive support. farmers to remotely pilot the irrigation quickly find out where to buy their

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
Photo on the left:
Orange start-up support in

Farmers working in
Africa: their fields in
preparation to plant
Entrepreneur Club: this free digital corn in Gnoungouya
hub enables anyone to access Village, Guinea.
operational advice, tools or Orange
activities whatever their
entrepreneurial stage.
Orange Social Venture Prize: since
2011 the winning entrepreneurs have
been awarded 265,000. A further 22
enterprises have benefited from
expert coaching.
Imagine with Orange: a free Orange
platform to test entrepreneurial ideas
products at the best price. MLouma and concepts with a community of
won the 2014 Orange Developer Start-up support 12,000 members in 56 countries
Challenge, integrating three APIs worldwide.
in the process: USSD, to make the
programmes should also
platform available via feature phones; promote trainings in how startup
SMS, to notify users of prices; Billing, Incubators: co-created by Orange
to charge users communication credits
to use ICTs in agriculture to and its local partners in 5 countries:
while they browse. Since winning the end-users to create a CTIC in Senegal, CIPMEN in Niger,
Challenge and integrating the APIs, EBENE in Mauritius, SABOUTECH in
MLoumas user base has grown from
critical mass of users. Guinea, CREATEAM in Mali.
500 exclusively web-users to more Orange Fab: a 3-4 months
than 100,000 mainly mobile phone prize-winners many saw difficulties acceleration programme with the
users in 2016. The ambition now is to which they had to adapt, or that objective to sign a partnership opened
to cover Senegals entire agricultural occasionally became too big to be in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Jordan and
sector and make inroads into solved, which was for example the Cameroon
neighbouring countries. case of Kachile in Ivory Coast. This Orange Developer/ APIs: a platform
Our major challenge at the start was company was one of the prize-winners dedicated to developers to access APIs
to reach farmers who live in rural areas of the 2011 edition, but because of the that can be downloaded and bought.
without access to the internet, says crisis in the country and an immature Orange also organises regular API
Sonko. The Challenge was our best market, it could not survive. Or take the Challenges since 2014.
opportunity to extend our services Agasha Business Network, created by
to the mobile market that could reach Sharon Againe, a 2011 prize-winner, Orange Digital Ventures: this capital
farmers more easily. Sonko appreciates who designed a web marketing agency venture takes financial minority
most of all the technical support that promotes and connects African participation in tech start-
received from Orange Senegal in SMEs in agriculture who are having upsChallenges since 2014.
the implementation phase. Our two difficulties in accessing the global
strengths are the scalability of our market. Technical problems prevented Teranga Capital: created in March
service and the quality of our the web-based platform from being 2016 in Senegal, this capital venture is
partnership with Orange and their created. Now the concept continues in dedicated to the missing gap
network of APIs in Africa, he adds. the AgaSha Group, the publisher of between 75,000 and 300,000
Agribusiness Directory East Africa investments in ICT enterprises.
Challenges remain for winning that consists of linking agribusinesses,
enterprises experts, professionals and supporting
Sonko hopes that start-up support sectors in agriculture. It also facilitates
programmes also will focus on Whatsapp Agribusiness Information
promoting solutions and training in the Platform groups with over 1,500 About the author
use of ICT in agriculture to end-users participants sharing opportunities, Catherine Flouvat (catherine.
that are the producers, transporters experiences and challenges in real works for
and traders. This would achieve a time with experts and practitioners. Orange on Corporate Social
critical mass of users in agriculture Both successes and failures determine Responsibility in Africa, Middle
for the good of all stakeholders. And the future of O4Ds entrepreneurship East, and Asia, in particular, with a
it should open APIs to other young programme by providing the right, focus on strategies to improve farmers
entrepreneurs in the field of ICT4Ag. tailor made support facilities, which life in rural areas by making use of
Not all the prize-winners do have enable an e-agriculture sustainable ICT services.
the same success story. Among the growth model for enterprises. 17
Insights from Benins EtriLabs
Technology hubs give young innovators and entrepreneurs the unique opportunity
to develop their products and services and to make them marketable. The lack of
awareness about the opportunities that e-agriculture has to offer, is one of the main
obstacles to succeed.

T he youth in Benin are increasingly some innovative products and services

connected to the internet by for agricultural usage have been
smartphones. They mainly use mobile developed and marketed yet.
apps to gain information and exchange These include Agri-Help, an enabling
it with family and friends. Mobile apps platform to determine urgent problems
are also used for agriculture purposes in food production that was developed
by some. There is a growing, but still during the Space Apps Challenge 2016,
weak recognition of the opportunities a competition organised by NASA.
e-agriculture could provide for young Another app that has been launched
entrepreneurs and innovators. from EtriLabs is Smart Grange, an
To develop a product or service that is automated management system for
marketable and suits the demands of farmers that allows them to develop
all the stakeholders that are involved parallel activities while managing
in agriculture needs time, money, and the farm via the app.
networking skills. To help the youth
entrepreneurs and innovators to improve Partnerships
Youth their skills, to connect them in local and In addition, EtriLabs has partnerships difficulties to find further financial
e-agriculture international networks, and to make with other technology hubs and support dedicated to technological
entrepreneurship their innovations suitable for end-users, incubation programmes. For instance, innovation in agriculture, inadequate
is why technology labs spring up all it is a partner in the AgriHack Talent promotion and subsidies for young
around in Africa. Programme in West Africa, also known agronomists, and low awareness of
In Benin, Etrilabs is such an incubator as the Youth Enabled AgriHack Fish the opportunities of e-agriculture
that welcomes e-agriculture innovators. Farming (YEFFA). This is a project entrepreneurship within Benin.
Benin is a country heavily dependent supported by CTA and managed by To boost technological innovation
on agriculture. The agricultural sector Wennovation Hub Nigeria. Within in agriculture in Benin and in the
contributes to more than 30% of the YEFFA many stakeholders, such as sub-region, EtriLabs suggests to clearly
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), provides fish farmers, wholesalers, retailers, define successful cases to increase
75% of export earnings, and 70% of academics, and policy makers awareness on opportunities. It also
total employment. The sector could give participate with the young innovators. would like to involve more agricultural
young innovators and entrepreneurs in In August 2016 a site visit, boot camp, youth organisations in the debates to
e-agriculture many opportunities to and a hackathon were organised define agricultural policy
strengthen their business case. simultaneously in four cities: Cotonou recommendations that include references
(Benin), Lom (Togo), Warri (Nigeria), to e-agriculture. Furthermore, hackathons
Mentoring and advising and Lagos (Nigeria). At the EtriLab in and e-agriculture competitions should
EtriLabs is a project of Educational Cotonou two protoypes were selected give investors, policy-makers, and the
Technology and Research International for further development and support: youth the chance to understand the
(ETRI), an NGO dedicated to the use of e-MAS and Fisher_Innove. The regional business opportunities in agriculture
ICTs for development. It aims to support final is scheduled to take place in Lagos. through innovations.
technology developers, entrepreneurs, EtriLabs faces different challenges to
civil society, businesses, and governments support young innovators and
About the author
to create and stimulate the usage entrepreneurs. Inadequate financial
Louis Agbokou (louisassou@
of innovative technological solutions resources, lack of direct support from the is engineer of rural
in agriculture. government in Benin for e-agriculture development in Benin, consultant
The lab supports youth through innovations, the inadequacy of local in agricultural entrepreneurship.
mentoring and advisory. It provides stakeholders to build an enabling His blog: https://suivifermesdele
a workspace in which innovators can environment that suits particularly the
exchange their ideas with others. young entrepreneurs, are among others
EtriLabs also facilitates dialogues the most important challenges.
between stakeholders in agriculture, According to Murielle Anatohon, Related links
which helps the young innovators a lot, Programme Assistant at EtriLabs, young Website of EtriLabs
because their network is still limited. innovators that successful went through
Strengthened with EtriLabs support the mentoring process still face

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83
Young Voices

They did not believe that a 15 years

old student could advance with
the app
Seventeen years old Nicholai Rajkumar is a student of St. Georges College in Trinidad
and Tobago. He is pursuing studies toward a career in IT. Nicholai at age 15, completed
a Microsoft course in App Development, which aided his participation in the Caribbean
AgriHack Talent Competition in 2014.

Nicholai RajKumar(left),
icholais passion for ITs combines

withhis mentor Atiba

with his interest for agriculture. Phillips (middle) and on
I have always loved pursuing IT, and the right his AgriHack
the idea of involving agriculture makes Talent team mate.
me feel elated to be giving back to the
farmers, as they provide so much for us,
he says. The IT aspect in agriculture came
initially as a surprise for him. As a young
innovator in the Caribbean, he believes that
there is a huge demand for agricultural
based ICT applications, if released and
promoted well. More and more the
population is becoming aware of healthy
food practices and demand good quality
of food from farmers, Nicholai says.
The application Nicholai and his Hackathon age. Without agriculture we will surely
team have developed for the Caribbean The App was designed to be simple, cease to exist.
AgriHack Talent Competition placed effective, and written and sold in farmer Nicholai outlines that being very
them in the finals. The app is a guide friendly jargon. Information on crops young at 15 years during the AgriHack
for farmers in Trinidad and Tobago and livestock, soil management, pest Talent Competition posed major and
to increase productivity and marketing management, fertilisation, a live weather unexpected challenges. I think the
their products. I could not find any app forecasting for the week ahead, and judges did not believe that we could
that provides farmers with easy news feeds for current events, are now advance with the app as a viable product
accessible problem-solving information. all available for farmers with one click along with a business prospectus and
Therefore, the app that we have developed or touch. New users sign up for the app to formalise partnerships, as well as
allows for a wide range of features to by setting up a profile My Profile our pre-occupation of being in school.
inform farmers about crops and livestock, that allows them to log-in and sign-in He admits that indeed it has been quite
pest management, and irrigation, says to the Messaging Centre, which is a difficult to build a business venture and
Nicholai. With the support of the dialogue platform where stakeholders recommends organisers of hackathons
Community HUB Corporation - a can meet and market their produce. A and other entrepreneurial events on ICT
Caribbean NGO that aims to enhance feature for Feedback is also available innovation amongst youth to provide a
youth and communities by leveraging to communicate with the developers. special stakeholders fund for supporting
ICTs - Nicholai and his team designed The app is designed to run on Android, young innovators. Nicholai would like
and built the application for the local Windows and iOS platforms. to see, for example, better buy-in
farmers to access agricultural information What is Nicholais role in the methods from stakeholder agriculture
by the internet. enterprise? I am the marketer and organisations. More validation could
After the AgriHack Talent Competition designer of the application. I am help us as young people to move into
in Suriname at the Caribbean Week of responsible for the choice of colours, the business world and provide the
Agriculture 2014, Nicholais team developed pictures, and the overall layout for the appreciation for innovation across
further the app by implementing a app. He adds that he represents the app the sector, says Nicholai.
text-to-voice speech output for the in different media and in business events
weather forecast, they integrated maps that are arranged by the Community Related links
to the soil management feature, and HUB. He reinforces that young people Website of the Community HUB
attained support from CARDI, FAO, IICA must get involved in agriculture. Corporation
and the Ministry of Food Production in As youth, we must continue in the
Trinidad and Tobago. footsteps of our farmers in this modern 19

AgriHack Talent Programme News about UAVsEvaluation of The MasterCard Foundation Fund for
CTA has initiated the AgriHack Talent incubation programmes Rural Prosperity has launched the
Programme to support youth ICT Measuring Value Created: By Impact Innovation Competition and the Scaling
innovations and entrepreneurship in Incubators & Accelerators (November Competition for innovative entrepreneurs
agriculture. A new component of the 2014) is a report of I-DEV in conjunction that work on new financial products
programme is Pitch AgriHack! - a with the Aspen Network of Development and services that can effectively meet
bootcamp followed by a pitching Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and Agora the financing needs of people living in
competition, and opportunities to win Partnerships, which examines and poverty in rural and agricultural areas.
grants and investments. Pitch-AgriHack! evaluates the value created by impact
targets existing e-agriculture start-ups with incubators and accelerators for The Africa Agriculture and Trade
working prototypes or services already entrepreneurs. Investment Fund focuses on investments
in operation. into the agricultural sector. It targets small, and http:// medium and large scale agricultural Insight into incubation in farms as well as agricultural businesses
rural areas along the entire agricultural value chain.
This report with the title Good
Incubation in India: Strategies African Business Angel Network is
for supporting social enterprise a pan African non-profit association
in challenging contexts (January 2016) founded to support the development
was commissioned by the UK of early stage investor networks.
Governments Department for
International Development. It looks at CapitalFinder from AlliedCrowds is
Plug and Play the challenges of incubating enterprises a free database on alternative finance
CTAs tech-dating for agriculture event outside of the metropolitan cities. in the developing world. It lists from
showcases the range of ICTs/mobile crowdfunding platforms to venture
platforms developed and being capitalists to government programmes.
implemented along the agricultural value Knowledge in the impact
chain. The event offers ICT innovators accelerator market The Seedstars Group is a Swiss-based
Youth the opportunity to demonstrate their The Rockefeller Foundation, in venture builder that is active and invests
e-agriculture solutions to interested clients; users to conjunction with Monitor Deloitte tried in emerging markets in Asia, South
entrepreneurship discover the latest ICT platforms along the to understand the needs of start-ups America, The Middle East and Africa.
value chain; investors to identify viable by studying the ecosystem of more than
areas for investment; donors to discover 160 impact accelerators, in the US, South African venture capital firm 4Di
emerging areas for support; and agriculture Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Capital announced a first close of
policymakers to understand and explore Asia. The results have been summarised US$16.8 million in initial commitments
areas for action. in the report Accelerating Impact: for a new technology venture capital fund. Exploring Best Practices, Challenges,
and Innovation in Impact Enterprise As worldwide start-up fund that is very
Acceleration (February 2015). active in Africa, Village Capital looks set to scale up its activities after announcing
the close of a US$17.7 million fund by
Social entrepreneurship in its investment arm VilCap Investments.
agriculture in Kenya
A case study of health and agriculture Capria Accelerator announced the
social enterprises in Kenya (March 2014) launch of a US$100 million fund that
Disrupt Africa was produced by a team from ODI, will invest in equity and debt funds
Read all about Africas start-up Bertha Centre for Social Innovation targeting early-stage impact businesses
initiatives, incubation and acceleration and Entrepreneurship, University of Cape across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
programmes, and hubs on the tech Town, KCA University, Nairobi, and the
start-up portal Disrupt Africa. It is a East Africa Social Enterprise Network UNICEF has launched a US$9 million
one-stop-shop for news, information and (EASEN). This is one of the few reports Innovation Fund to target open source
commentary pertaining to the continents that focuses on social entrepreneurship technologies for children
tech start-ups and their ecosystem. in agricultural in Kenya. Tech accelerator mLab Southern Africa
and the Technology Innovation Agency
Innovation Village Links to start-up funds and fund have launched the App Fund 2016 with
Innovation Village is about promoting sources grants of up to US$35,000.
new technologies, businesses, products, Start-ups are being backed by both
services, and start-ups in Africa. This overseas and domestic investors and VC4Africa is the largest online
news blog gives information about funds. Not sure where to look for community of entrepreneurs and
innovation and business in Africa, investment for your business idea? investors. Entrepreneurs have access to
especially for start-ups and young This list of start-up funds could help free online tools, mentorship
entrepreneurs. you further (Source: CTA and Disrupt opportunities and private deal rooms. Africa -

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83

Ways of fundraising for young

e-agriculture entrepreneurs
Many start-ups rely on fundraising in their own networks. However, new platforms have
unlocked new ways to raise money for start-ups.

TechCamp West Africa,
ike all enterprises, e-agriculture

2015, inAccra, Ghana.

businesses need finance to evolve At such eventsyoung
products, to grow, and to make a innovatorsget in touch
valuable presence in the marketplace. with different
Understanding the needs in the market, stakeholders, like angel
documenting potential marketable investors, to increase
their business network.
solutions and sectoral challenges, and
developing a business plan to address
them, must be the first step. Furthermore,
you have to ward of any possibility of
failure by distinguishing between money
for you and business money. Once
convinced that the business can pay
you and itself; then you are ready to
start the journey to drive your business.
Most e-agripreneurs do not have
enough own capital to invest in the
start-up. The decision to borrow money
is paramount. Where must the money
come from? When I started my own entrepreneurs or family members who can help your company. Try contacting
business, my bank closed the day I left have experience in the field. Identify other start-ups in that angels portfolio
my job. My money was stuck in there. people who can either put money in to see if he or she would be a good fit
I had to start offering services even your business with a promise on shared for you.
with no resources or peace of mind. ownership or deferred investment in The advent and relative growth of
Fortunately, I had my first contract to which you can define their returns in crowdfunding platforms have proven a
set up a computer network in a friends the future. Another option is to use great advancement for start-ups to sell
company. It made sense linking up with clients advance payment. This, however, their idea direct to the consuming public.
someone who had trained me on assumes that you have some record to One of the benefits of crowdfunding is
entrepreneurship so that he could fund trade for trust. If you do, this is a good that none of your investors are
the purchase of the network resources source of investment cash since they shareholders in your company, so you
and the other equipment needed. pay you in advance and pay you your get to maintain equity while raising
No doubt, fundraising starts with your worth once you are done. capital to get your company off the
own skillset and your networks. Dhairya New opportunities of fundraising have ground. The difference is that you have
Pujara the founder of Ycenter and my occurred recently. An angel investor, for to deliver something to get that money;
business partner in Ycenter Africa, an example, is a wealthy individual who whereas angel investing and venture
enterprise that trains value chain ICT4Ag invests his or her personal capital in a capitalists provide investments up front
design thinkers, says rightly that company in exchange for equity in that so that you can build out a company
knowledge is the first tool that is needed company. Angels typically fund a start-up and deliver a product to customers
to create impactful and scalable solutions. at the seed stage of a company. If down the road.
He indicates that on-the-field learning investing with a group, they can do it
experiences that provide cultural as part of an angel fund or as part of
awareness, learning languages and an angel syndicate. When you bring an
empathy with the market is necessary. angel on board, you want to make sure About the author
My own experience when I started the you have the right one. They become Kiringai Kamau (kiringai@gmail.
precursor of my ICT4Ag business, your business partner whether you like com) is an agricultural economist,
Octagon Data Systems in 1995, is that it or not. You would hope that the founder of ICT4Ag businesses, a
networks and own knowledge are more angel, in addition to capital, brings in farmer support NGO, and a mentor
important than cash given or borrowed. new knowledge and networks to the of community and individual
start-up. While there are angels that enterprises. He leads the Center for
Advance payments have tremendous insight into building a Agricultural Networking and
In the end your start-up needs capital to company, there are also young founders Information Sharing (CANIS).
survive. So speak to successful and trusted who might not have the knowledge that 21

Shave, haircut and a video

Even without smartphones, internet or electricity, rural Malawians are gaining access
to video material through young entrepreneurs called DJs who work mainly from
barber shops.

A farmer previews a
and some are making their own movies

video with his DJ.

or music videos. They share the videos
they make with their friends, so even
though they are off the internet, they
have a real-life social network to swap
original and copied content. Some DJs
can provide other ICT services, as farmers
begin to demand them, for example
they sell blank CDs, and helping to film
or edit videos of local events.
The burning centres pay no royalties,
so Malawian entertainers have the cold
comfort of becoming famous without
getting rich. But for the non-profit
development sector, the DJs can be ideal
partners, to get educational videos into
farmers hands. In 2015, the international
Youth NGO Access Agriculture distributed
e-agriculture educational videos for farmers in 3GP
entrepreneurship and on DVD to 70 DJs. The DJs sold

I n small towns in Malawi, young

men who want to start their own
ICT business are teaming up with
The customers
The shop itself is just a small room with
some plastic chairs or a wooden bench,
456 DVDs and 645 videos in 3GP on
the parasitic weed Striga, 551 DVDs and
547 3GP videos on rice, and 507 DVDs
the unlikeliest of partners, including and a PC on a table. The DJs live in small and 559 3GP videos on chilli growing
barbers. The entrepreneurs are almost towns with electricity, while they also and processing. By tapping into
always men in their 20s or even teens. sell cold drinks, stationary or other small entrepreneurial DJs, educational videos
Most have some schooling and can items and ICT services. The clients are can be distributed to thousands of
read and write. They call themselves often smallholder farmers. After buying rural people.
DJs, copying video materials for a small supplies and paying to charge up their
fee in a shop called a burning centre. cell phones, the farmers pass by the
Many of these DJs partner with burning centre to upload some videos About the authors
relatives or friends who have some sort or ask for other small ICT services. Back Jeff Bentley (jeff@agroinsight.
of shop. This senior partner buys a used in the village, they watch the movies in com) is an agricultural
computer or a PC assembled in Malawi, the evening with friends or family. anthropologist at Agro-Insight.
which can cost about US$200: a lot of The customers rarely ask for a specific Paul Van Mele (paul@
money for the youth, but affordable for title; they say they want so many movies is
an older man with a small, profitable of a certain genre (Nigerian, Hollywood, co-founder and chairman of
business. Kinship is crucial in this Indian or Malawian gospel music, for Access Agriculture. Ronald
relation. There can be mistrust and example). Each upload costs between 20 Kondwani Udedi (rkudedi@gmail.
tension between shopkeepers who buy and 100 kwacha (US$0.03 to US$0.14), com) is an ICT and media expert
a PC and simply hire a youngster: the depending on the DJ and the file size. at Malawi Polytechnic.
older man doesnt understand exactly The more successful DJs buy DVDs in
what the young one is doing. the city, or from travelling salesmen,
A barber is the perfect partner for rip (download) the content onto their
an ICT shop. Both businesses rely on a hard disk, and convert it to 3GP format Related links
little skill, some fixed capital assets and (smaller file size, and runs on a phone). Website with farmer-to-farmer
a loyal customer base. When the barber Struggling DJs swap movies with videos available for free
can no longer find more heads to cut, their friends. download.
an ICT shop where they burn video
materials may be a logical way to The network Website with blogs, books, articles
and other resources on agriculture
expand, and clients like the combined Few of the DJs have access to internet or
and communication.
services of uploading videos while email, although they do have Facebook
getting a haircut. on their cell phones. The DJs like movies

October 2016 ICT Update issue 83

Developing your business strategy

A s the digital age advances further
rapidly, more and more e-agriculture
entrepreneurs are able to launch a start-up
and existing businesses to focus
on operational as well as strategic
management and marketing plans.
Lean Canvas
Developed by Ash Maurya in his book
Running Lean (2010), the Lean Canvas
This text is an
adaption of a section
cheaper and faster than ever before by The canvas has nine sections: Key tool is an alternative to the BMC. of the upcoming
leveraging technology, access to wider Partners, Key Activities, Value It focusses more on start-ups. Thus, publication of CTA:
range of skills, grants, competition money, Propositions, Customer Relationships, it is more adapted to young ICT Path to Success: a
crowdfunding, and accelerator and Customer Segments, Key Resources, agripreneurs and is widely used, for guide for effective ICT
incubator programmes. e-Agriculture Channels, Cost Structure and Revenue example by East African tech hubs. Agripreneurship.
entrepreneurs can choose to take a Streams. The BMC tool allows for The Lean Canvas tool also has nine
traditional approach to developing ICT4Ag entrepreneurs to plot out their levels: Problem, Solution, Unique
a business plan or they can examine new ideas for any new or existing businesses Value Proposition, Unfair advantage,
approaches, such as the Lean Start-up and test different scenarios before Customer segments, Key metrics,
Canvas and the Business Model Canvas. writing a single line of code. Channels, Cost structure, Revenue
Delivered on a single page, this tool is Streams. A key component of the
Business Model Canvas (BMC) fast becoming the global go-to method Lean Canvas is the Problem section,
As specified by Osterwalder Alexander for plotting strategies and seizing which is particularly important, as
in The Business Model Ontology: A ICT-driven opportunities. It can be used most e-agriculture entrepreneurs do
Proposition in a Design Science for both non-profit- and profit-focused not have a profound understanding of
Approach (2004), it enables both new agribusinesses. ( agriculture. (

Element Business Model Canvas Lean Canvas

Target New and existing businesses Start-up businesses purely
Focus Customers, investors, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurs purely
consultants, advisors
Customers Lays emphasis on customer segments, channels Does not lay much emphasis on customer
and customer relationships for all businesses segments because start-ups have no known
or tested products to sell
Approach It lays down the infrastructure, lists the nature It begins with the problem, a proposed solution,
and sources of financing and the anticipated the channels to achieving the solution, costs
revenue streams of the business involved and the anticipated revenue streams
Competition It focuses on value proposition in quantitative It assesses whether the business has an unfair
and qualitative terms as way to stay smart in advantage over the rest and how to capitalise
the market on it for better grounding
Application It fosters candid understanding, creativity, It is a simple problem-solution oriented approach (Source: Canvanizer.
discussion and constructive analysis which enables the entrepreneur to develop com:
step-by-step V8fgIx) 23