The Village Capital, The MasterCard Foundation, Duncan Goldie-Scot have announced the Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015 program for Financial Technology Start-ups in Agriculture for Accelerator that is expected to increase income for smallholder famers in East Africa.
The program will involve 12 start-up firms that will undergo business development training with the aim being to unlock innovations that increase access to financial services for smallholder farmers.
At the end of the program, the two start-ups ranked highest by other entrepreneurs in the program will each receive $50,000 USD to help scale their businesses and impact.
The initial 12 enterprises will be chosen on the basis of how their ideas can increase incomes for smallholder farmers by improving their access to financial services. Typically, smallholder farmers in East Africa cannot participate in the mainstream economy because they lack access to financial services as a result of their location, their lack of financial literacy, and other barriers. Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015 plans to meet this need by supporting the best local early-stage ventures increasing financial inclusion in the East African agriculture industry, benefitting smallholder farmers, investors, communities, and entrepreneurs in the region.
Village Capital will provide selected ventures with intensive business development training, mentorship from local business leaders and investors, and face-to-face interaction with potential customers.
Additionally, the program aims to create 200 jobs over the next two years in East Africa, with an estimated 60% of jobs going to individuals living below the poverty line. Graduating enterprises are also expected to increase revenue growth by 4.5 times and distribute goods and/or services to 200,000 customers (with a primary target of smallholder farmers) within that time period.
Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital, highlighted the significance of this program: “Village Capital connects the best early-stage entrepreneurs to real customer needs across the world, and smallholder farmers in East Africa need access to quality financial services. Together with The MasterCard Foundation, we are addressing this problem by training local start-ups to scale their impact to benefit local farmers.”