Do you have an agribusiness with a climate-smart innovative solution? Apply for funding and business development support from CGIAR before 22 December 2022

The Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global research partnership that unites organizations engaged in research on food security, invites applicants for the CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator program. The program aims to support agribusiness in scaling climate-smart innovations to solve pressing challenges in agribusiness value chains.

Successful applicants to the program will receive the following benefits:

  • Technical assistance from CGIAR scientists that encourages agribusinesses’ adoption and strengthens their compliance, safety, and accountability practices.
  • Technical assistance on impact measurement and management (IMM) from CGIAR scientists and experts.
  • Technical assistance on investment readiness from IFDC-2SCALE and its network to help secure private sector financing.
  • Provision of a de-risking Grant of USD 20,000 to four successful companies at the end of the program.
  • Access to investors and corporate partners to attract follow-on funding and potential business opportunities.

Interested agribusinesses must fulfill the following to apply:

  • Be legally registered and compliant with regulatory authorities. Applicants should present the following supporting information:
  • A Certificate of Incorporation for a Limited Company or Partnership Deed for a Partnership Business.
  • Two years of audited accounts.
  • Contact details of the company’s references.
  • Team composition.
  • Curriculum Vitae for the management
  • Tax Compliance Certificate.
  • Have a clear inclusive strategy for smallholder farmers, women, and youth within the business model in at least one of the dimensions: ownership, management team, workforce and policies, supply chain, and/or customers.
  • Be a for-profit company and demonstrate commercial viability and either be profitable or on the path to profitability. NGOs, corporate companies, and consultants will not be considered
  • Be operating in the following countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia

For more information on the program, visit: CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator

To apply, visit: Application

 


Common Mistakes You May Be Making as a Businessowner & How to Avoid Them

Small business owners have great ideas and solutions – after all, that’s probably what led you to launch a business; but sometimes, these ideas lack the proper execution that lead to success. While there may be several reasons a small business is underperforming, here are some common and avoidable mistakes small business owners make, along with tips for overcoming them.

  • Not Taking the Time to Plan: Lack of planning leads to the production of lower-quality work. Here, you are trying to do everything at the last minute without clear targets or a path to those targets. Take some time to prepare a detailed business plan, and ensure it brings out what your products or services are, how will you earn income, how you will finance business costs, and many other details critical to its success. Having a business plan will provide you with a road map for your business, identify potential challenges, and outline what resources you will need to run your business. Learn more about how to prepare a business plan by clicking here.
  • Trying to Do It All by Yourself: It is helpful to include people in your thought process as you are bringing your idea to life and choosing solutions to challenges that might arise. One mind provides the same range of answers and can keep an entrepreneur from gaining more knowledge that would better support the business. Rely on a team of diverse individuals, depending on the needs of your business for human resources, and delegate tasks according to their expertise.
  • Overspending or Underspending: Overspending often leads to the accumulation of debt, and underspending overlooks essential factors that would need to be carried out for business success. These two factors hinder the idea’s viability and can lead to closing a business or never seeing it fully off the ground. Create a budget to project your business expenses and income for a given period, for example, the upcoming year or quarter. Review that budget against actual expenses to understand where you might have overspent or underspent on your business, giving you a solution to the problem.
  • Forgetting About Financing: No matter how good an idea is, we need to think about where funds will come from to get that idea up and running and what will be required from us as business owners to access them. A business plan should outline how much start-up capital or financing you’ll need to launch or grow your business. Before approaching funders, make sure your business plan is clear and well-structured and that you have a short pitch prepared addressing why your business is a great investment to make. Seek formal financing wherever possible, such as loans from reputable institutions, government funds, or donor funds, to avoid high or unclear costs, unfair collection practices, and potential safety risks.
  • Not Marketing or Advertising: The world learns about what we are doing through marketing and advertising. When your business is not advertised or marketed well, it loses out on potential clients. Depending on your target market, use a marketing channel that guarantees a wider reach and engagement from your target market. With increased digitalization around the globe, consider using online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, which are popular in East Africa, to put your business products or services out there. Create a content plan for the week or month to ensure your target market is always informed of new products or services your business is providing. If you have enough capital, consider paid advertising for platforms that are most popular to your target marketing such as Facebook. Ensure you include your business contact information and address in your marketing materials to make it easy for your potential clients to find you.
  • Losing Focus: Losing focus is the same as losing the heart of the idea. Most small business owners lose focus when they do not have a proper schedule for their daily, weekly, or monthly tasks for their business. Create a calendar with scheduled tasks, each with a start and end date. Having a calendar with scheduled tasks will help you to balance high-effort and high-priority tasks while tracking your progress against set deadlines for tasks.

For an idea or solution to excel, it needs proper planning and greater emphasis on all the points mentioned above. Putting all of them into practice will add more life to the idea and open more significant opportunities for the solution and its viability.


The holidays can be a great time to boost sales – here’s how!

The holidays are a few weeks away, and most people are saving up to celebrate in the best way possible. For entrepreneurs, this season presents an excellent opportunity to boost your sales, maximize your business profits and build sustainable relationships with your customers. In this article, we will help you take advantage of the holiday season to grow your business.

  • Prepare early: People buy more products and services during the holiday season, so having enough inventory to cater to higher demand is a must. Identify what products or services that your business will likely sell more and have them in stock or get in touch with your suppliers in advance to supply them in time. This helps you prepare in advance and gives you enough time to fix any issues that may arise such as late deliveries. Having enough stock will make your customers feel you are able to meet their needs, and it contributes toward building a solid relationship with them.
  • Provide special discounts and offers: Special discounts and offers can be a good way to attract new customers and reward those that you already have. Before discounting your products or services, ensure you have a clear goal of why you are doing it. It could be to increase sales, engage new customers, or to build brand awareness or customer relationships. One example of a special discount might be offering an amount or percentage off if a customer spends a certain amount; for instance, spend Rwf 100,000 and get Rwf 100 off. This can encourage customers to buy more or bring new customers through your doors.
  • Customize packaging and provide unique service delivery: Most aspects of the business have evolved due to competition, so it is important to think through ways you can make your business stand out. Personalize your packaging so customers feel that the product or its packaging was especially made for them. Once you receive an order, include the customer’s name and address with a personalized appreciation message. This will make them feel a sense of belonging and care from your business, and customers will be bound to stick with you as their preferred business.
  • Use holiday themes for your social media marketing: When thinking about marketing messages, posts on social media, and emails or SMS messages to your customers, think about how you can include holiday greetings that are most relevant to them. Create marketing content with graphics or visuals of important dates happening during holidays such as Christmas and New Year. This will make your content more relatable to your customers because it reflects something that they are also celebrating.
  • Use social media to engage customers: Every customer wants to be appreciated for spending their hard-earned money at your business. Rewarding customers who engage with your business on social media can make less active customers more active or attract new ones. Host polls about interesting topics that relate to the holidays or polls about what should be discounted from your product line. Host online quizzes about your business and reward your followers who get the answers right. Think of it as giving back to your customers for supporting your business.

With some thought and careful planning, the holiday season can be a great time to grow your business. Whether by thinking ahead about what items will be most in demand, providing a special discount, or using holiday themes, there are different ways to engage customers during this time. Reach out to us with any suggestions you think can help small businesses take advantage of the holiday season to increase sales and grow their business.


Are you a woman entrepreneur with a tech solution? Apply for the Les Margaret Awards before 9 January 2023

JFD, an international growth accelerator operating in Europe and Africa for women in tech invites applicants for the Les Margaret Awards. Women in tech will be awarded in three areas – entrepreneur, intrapreneur and junior, with each having a European and Africa winner. This year’s edition of the awards will focus on addressing the gender investment gap with “Invest in Her” theme.

Interested participants must have innovative solutions that address one or several societal or environmental issues and also create jobs and value for their country’s economies. Interested participants can apply for one of the three categories:

  • Entrepreneur: for female founders or co-founders of tech start-ups
  • Intrapreneur: for women working for companies that have developed an innovative project in agreement with their employer while still being employed
  • Junior: for girls aged between 7 and 18 years with an idea, concept or start-up project that addresses a problem through the application of technology or who have developed a prototype using one or more technologies

Successful participants in the entrepreneur and intrapreneur categories will receive media exposure worth EUR 1 million for a year along with access to major international events, digital equipment, mentorship, and funding through JFD partners. Juniors will receive tailored support for the development of their projects, digital equipment, and a EUR 1,000 scholarship. They will also be mentored and coached by the JFD partners and will benefit from high media exposure.

To apply for the Awards, visit: Applications

 


Are you a FoodTech or AgTech company in need of funding? Apply for the Growth Impact Accelerator program before 30 January 2023

GROW, a global agriculture and food technology accelerator invite applicants for the Growth Impact Accelerator Program, backed by AgFunder. The program seeks to support foodtech and agtech startups tackling the global challenge of sustainability. Through the program, successful applicants will receive USD 100,000 in investment funding from AgFunder. Participants will receive additional benefits including:

  • Access to growth partners for product testing, development, and scaling
  • Matching with global agrifood multinational corporations to support customer validation and feedback, deploying pilot projects, and securing new sales contracts
  • Access to AgFunder’s private and institutional investment global networks to support fundraising
  • Access to an experienced team of coaches and mentors
  • Access to physical workspace in Singapore (or virtual office address, if overseas) throughout the program duration
  • Access to media exposure and publicity through AgFunder’s news platform, events, and a demo day at the conclusion of the program
  • Support with Singapore EntrePass visa application through GROW’s partnership with Enterprise Singapore

Interested applicants should have solutions in the following areas:

  • Advancing smallholder farmers
  • Supply chain rationalization
  • Alt-proteins and novel foods and ingredients
  • Climate-smart agriculture and aquaculture
  • Personalized nutrition & health
  • Food waste valorization
  • Circular economy

To apply for the program, visit: Application form


Are you a woman entrepreneur with a solution that addresses climate change? Apply for the TVARAN program before 20 November 2022

Villgro, in partnership with Cisco, invites applicants for the TVARAN Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs driving Climate Change program. The program seeks to support the growth and expansion of women-led social enterprises focused on climate action.

During the six months of the program, participants will be required to share their go-to-market plans. From this, five women entrepreneurs will be selected to receive pilot facilitation, market access, technical assistance, and mentorship from Villgro and Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility.

Entrepreneurs interested in the program must have social enterprises in areas like renewable energy, water and waste management, and climate-smart agriculture. To be eligible for the program, interested applicants need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Have a social enterprise with a minimum of 50%-woman ownership
  • Have a solution that addresses climate change
  • Have a market-ready solution or a solution that is already in the market

To apply, visit: TVARAN Applications


youth

Call for applications for the Anzisha Prize Fellowship program. Apply before 27 November 2022

The Anzisha Prize Fellowship program opened applications for young African entrepreneurs with businesses that have created job opportunities for youth in their communities. Through the program, successful applicants will be equipped with tools and resources to help them run successful businesses.

During the course of three years, the program will track the performance of the business and the entrepreneur. Businesses that demonstrate exceptional growth and initiative will be rewarded with benefits and services such as short courses, cloud services, and cash stipends. At the end of the second year, entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses for a chance to win their share of grand cash prizes valued at over $50 000.

The grand prizes are split into four categories:

  • Job creation prize
  • Revenue growth prize
  • Storytelling prize
  • Integrating systems and processes prize

The program is open to all young African entrepreneurs who fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be between 15 and 22 years old with an ID document or passport to present as evidence.
  • Be a national of an African country with a business based in Africa for African customers/beneficiaries
  • Have an operational business
  • Be a founding member or one of the founding members of the business

To apply, visit: Anzisha Prize Application


Are you in need of training and mentorship to scale up your business? Apply for the fourth cohort of the SME Lab Africa Accelerator Program

SME Growth Lab Africa, a community impact project created to upskill SMEs in Africa, invites applicants for the fourth cohort of the Africa Digital Accelerator Program. Through this Program, established business owners across African countries will gain access to business training, mentorship, and support to take their businesses to a higher level.
Successful applicants will be taken through a 4-week extensive training led by exclusive facilitators in for modules in selling techniques, marketing strategies, financial literacy and management, and legal counselling. Additionally, participants will have access to community events, mentorship from experts, and a certificate of completion.

Interested applicants must fulfil the following to register:

  • Be business owners based in any African country
  • Be between 18-40 years of age
  • Commit to attending virtual sessions and group calls
  • Be willing to volunteer and participate in community events and project

​To apply for the Program, visit: Applications


women entrepreneurship

Do you have a project focused on supporting women-led businesses in Africa? Apply for funding through the Women Entrepreneurship Enabler's program  before 11 November 2022

The African Development Bank Group‘s (AFDB) Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative has launched its second call for proposals for the Women Entrepreneurship Enablers program. The program supports projects that enhance the viability and sustainability of formal women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and enables them to access financing opportunities to grow their businesses.

Through the initiative, AFDB is offering grants of up to $250,000 to organizations helping prepare African women-led businesses to drive the continent’s economies. The program targets women’s business associations, incubators, accelerators, women-led cooperatives, and civil society organizations that promote the development of women entrepreneurs on the continent.

Interested applicants should submit proposals demonstrating innovative approaches to building a supportive ecosystem for women’s entrepreneurship aimed at improving access to finance for women SMEs. Applicants are expected to develop a comprehensive and sustainable capacity-building program to enable access to finance in partnership with financial institutions.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Have projects implemented in more than two countries
  • Project duration should not exceed two years
  • Be based in Africa or provide evidence of partners with African entities
  • Be legally registered and operating for more than three years with strong financial and procurement procedures
  • Partnerships with public or private sector players are highly encouraged
  • Have experience in managing external funding and executing donor-funded projects

To apply, visit: AFAWA Applications


AgriPitch

Are you an Agripreneur startup in need of capital investment? Apply for the AgriPitch Competition from Africa Development Bank

The Africa Development Bank (AFDB) invites African youth Agripreneurs to the AgriPitch Competition. The competition aims to support Agripreneurs focusing on building the profitability of their businesses and becoming investment ready.

Selected Agripreneurs will be trained and mentored in an interactive and tailored two-week training program to prepare them for presenting their businesses to investors. Participants will access virtual training sessions covering product development, marketing, business management logistics, revenue channel identification, and investment readiness. Additionally, winning Agripreneurs will have access to a total grant pool of USD 140,000 at the end of the competition.

The competition is open for three categories of youth Agripreneurs: early startups (at least three years), mature startups (more than three years), and women-empowered businesses. Interested participants must fulfill the eligibility criteria depending on their category.

For early startups, they must:

  • Be at the very early stage of developing ideas or concepts for Agripreneurship
  • Have a clearly defined prototype or proof of concept or a product introduced to the market

For mature startups, they must:

  • Have market traction with an existing product, technology, or service already in the market
  • Have a clear investment growth strategy or plan
  • Be a legally registered corporate entity

For women-empowered businesses, they must:

  • Meet eligibility requirements for either early startups or mature startups
  • Have a women founder or have women owning at least 51% of the business

The deadline for applying is on 4 November 2022

To apply for the competition, visit: Application forms