Sunday, January 5, 2014

Incubator offers hope for agribusiness startups

Entrepreneurs with innovative agribusiness ideas have an opportunity to be part of a 16-week incubation programme that will see them develop sustainable ventures.
The initiative dubbed Agribusiness for Impact Incubator Programme is initiated by the Growthhub platform that seeks to promote start-ups across the East African region.
In an interview Patricia Jumi, one of the co-founders of the Nairobi-based incubator, said that the 16-week incubation would see 12 companies selected and supported to establish and grow their businesses.
“Many youths still see agriculture as a last option and think of engaging in it for the short-term gain like farming just to make money from it even though there is a growing need for a more progressive kind of agriculture,” she said.
Ms Jumi explained that a paradigm shift of agriculture to a more capitalist one as in the manufacturing sector would create more employment opportunities and have greater social impact.
“People want to be entrepreneurs but they do not know if their ideas are good enough. We need to help them think beyond the norm across the whole agricultural chain to enable them create sustainable industries out of their ideas,” she said.
Youths with creative ideas on agro-processing businesses, adoption of modern farming practices, improving food security as well as increasing income generation for farmers have until January 9 to submit their ideas to the competition.
The selected teams will in February undergo a four-week intensive training on good business models and addressing customer needs and how to transform their agribusiness ideas into start-ups.
After this five teams will be chosen and each will receive a capital investment of sh430,000 ($5,000) to build a prototype and test their product or service.
The teams will then have 10 weeks to implement and execute their business ideas before making their final pitches to potential investors in May.

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