The program supported 10 entrepreneurs across the African continent who are improving agricultural resource efficiency and increasing the incomes of smallholder farmers. The three intensive, four-day workshops of business development training and mentorship took place on:
- Workshop 1: August 14-17
- Workshop 2: September 24-27
- Workshop 3: October 29 – November 1
What We Learned
- Incorporating customers into programming yields better results. The highest-rated session was the “farmer’s forum”, where entrepreneurs met with 50 smallholder farmer clients of Juhudi Kilimo in the field to get real-time feedback.
- The deep sector focus on smallholder farmers yielded our strongest response from mentors and investors to date. The program built an effective community of practice of over 60 mentors, representing organizations ranging from Savannah Fund to USAID.
Two companies received $50,000 in investment from Village Capital and Juhudi Kilimo:
- Ojay Greene (from Nairobi, Kenya) sources fruits and vegetables directly from smallholder farmers and sells them to high-end markets, principally supermarkets and hotels in Kenya; and
- Future Pump (from Nairobi, Kenya) produces a solar-powered water pump for use in irrigation.
Feedback from Entrepreneurs
100% of the program’s participating entrepreneurs would recommend a Village Capital program to other entrepreneurs. Their comments, anonymous via survey, included:
- “The farmers’ forum was super. They are the ultimate users of our products/services and their feedback is very valuable.”
- “The whole concept of our startup became clearer.”
- “The finances [session] was most important, not so much for the session itself but the work that was required to prepare for this session. I now REALLY understand our financial model!”