Going To Scale

14 African start-ups link up with one another commencing first business relations
Photo: © GIZ

With the aim to increase income, the GIZ project Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations Through Start-Ups started its first Investment Readiness Programme for African start-ups that have a digital solution in the agriculture or food sector.

The start-ups selected for the programme in 2019/2020 had to make it through different rounds in the selection process.

The rounds of selection

In the first round a group of experts from various fields of action selected 30 of the more than 200 submitted applications. In the second round these start-ups pitched their business virtually to a jury of GIZ representatives, corporations and company developers. From this virtual pitch, the jury nominated 14 start-ups from such different sectors as e-commerce, internet of things, precision farming, supply chain management, fintech and animal health for the programme.

The launch of the 2019 programme then took place in Nairobi. The selected start-ups had the opportunity to meet with the team of the Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations Through Start-Ups project as well as with their respective company developers. The first day the participants got acquainted with one another and started networking. During this session, keynote speeches by representatives from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Digital Africa Initiative provided valuable insights into growing Africa through entrepreneurship and attracting investors.

The entrepreneurs had the opportunity to pitch their start-up to the audience. This not only served as further practice for pitching in front of potential investors in the future but also laid the groundwork for networking with participants operating in a similar field.

Photo: © GIZ

The second day was workshop day, the start-ups moved in closely with their company developers Seedstars and GreenTec Capital. Throughout the day, the entrepreneurs worked out specific goals for their businesses to reach in the coming months. In order to reach these goals, the start-ups will receive personalised virtual coaching from the company developers.

Attendees at the event showed tremendous enthusiasm and commitment, generating a wonderful atmosphere of working together. The experience was exceptionally positive and enriching for all participants.

The Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations Through Start-Ups project plans the next event to take place in the second quarter of 2020. Then the project team, company developers and start-ups will meet again personally to discuss their progress in the programme and future steps.

The team is especially eager to work together with the African entrepreneurs in the coming months and is expecting great outcomes. Unfortunately a meeting in person is not possible in times of COVID-19. Therefore the project team is currently looking at the possibility of an online format.

The start-ups in the Investment Readiness Programme

  • Afrikamart
  • Bringo Fresh
  • Cookshop Food Services
  • eMsika
  • eProd Solutions Ltd.
  • Fresh Box Rwanda Ltd.
  • Kitovu Technology Company
  • Lentera Ltd.
  • Livestock 247
  • Shopit
  • Upande
  • Zowasel

About the project

The project Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations Through Start-Ups (SAIS) is implemented by GIZ on behalf of BMZ. The Investment Readiness Programme was kicked off in December 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The objective of SAIS is to scale digital agritech innovations which have been developed by African start-ups. These innovations will enable their users in the agricultural or food sector to increase their income. To accomplish this, the project provides selected start-ups access to six months of fully-funded support for company development.

This Investment Readiness Programme includes virtual coaching and training sessions with experienced growth managers from GreenTec Capital and Seedstars that target the needs of the selected start-ups and provide additional services where required.


For further information on the project please contact michel.bernhardt@giz.de .