10 SMEs in agriculture to be picked for circular agribusiness accelerator

Kenyan farmer

A Kenyan farmer. Agri-based start-ups that work to promote a circular economy by using food waste to produce new products are invited to apply to the second cohort of the O-Farms SME accelerator programme.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Agri-based start-ups that work to promote a circular economy by using food waste to produce new products are invited to apply to the second cohort of the O-Farms SME accelerator programme.

The program, an initiative of Bopinc, Village Capital and the IKEA Foundation, seeks to facilitate start-ups with innovation support infrastructure that will not only enable them to grow as businesses, but also to sustainably feed the country’s growing population, without depleting natural resources.

The program will help the SMEs refine their innovations, strengthen their business models, access financing opportunities and create a founding community advocating for better adoption of a circular economy and supportive policies and legislation.

“Agri-circularity creates a more sustainable food system that drives innovation through developing innovative business models that reduce agricultural losses thereby creating new economic opportunities and jobs in the region,” noted O-Farm.

To qualify, start-ups shall be required to have registered in Kenya, with at least one of the founder or co-owners being Kenyan. The agribusinesses will be required to use food waste to produce new food products that promote a circular economy.

For instance, they could use rejected tomatoes to make ketchup, rejected bananas or orange peels to make animal feed, rice husks to make compost/organic fertilisers, pineapple crowns to make biodegradable packaging materials or other food waste to produce bio-energy. The applicants shall also be required to be a growth stage enterprise with an existing customer base (post revenue) that is purchasing their products.

“The accelerator is completely focused on circular agribusiness with the goal of making circularity a mainstream approach for improved rural livelihoods and sustainability,” noted O-Farms.

Successful applicants will be taken through customised training programs on agri-circularity. They shall also receive technical assistance to embed circularity principles in the business model including strengthening the systems and processes. They shall also receive personalised and group coaching to unpack training into business implementation. Further, they shall receive links to financial and investment opportunities.

Out of the 10 successful applicants, two peer-selected SMEs will also receive grant funding of up to Sh3 million to implement identified milestones. The call for applications is open until 30th September 2022, and only online applications will be reviewed and accepted.

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