The African Diaspora Marketplace III Business Plan Competition finalists were invited to the Marketplace Event held in Washington, D.C. on September 15-16, 2015 to showcase their business ideas and concepts directly to the judges as well as to the development finance community, donors, and the general public. Finalists presented their business concepts in a trade show format. The primary objective of in-person interviews with the judges was to simulate real-world experience of pitching business ideas for funding to banks, venture capitalists, and other financial institutions. At the end of the event, the judges selected 14 businesses across eight countries to receive matching partnership grants of up to $30,000 each and other forms of technical assistance.
The Awardees are listed below:
Sector: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Mbeng Adio Mushroom Farm (MAMF) is an agricultural business that specializes in the cultivation of mushroom in Cameroon. With an annual production of 36,000 kg a year, it is currently the largest mushroom farm in Cameroon and Central Africa. Currently MAMF cultivates Pleuretus ostreatus, Sajor Caju, pleurotus Florida. MAMF’s vision is to expand its production and production capacity by investing in industrial mushroom farming technics and including Pink Oyster, Button mushroom, and portabella mushroom to its product line. These selected mushroom species are critical market commodities for Cameroon and neighboring markets. As an expanding business in an emerging economy, MAMF is committed to grow the value of its business to be more profitable while fulfilling the market needs of clients and expanding the country’s economy and the health of its people, contribute to the educational experience of students and encourage production practices that protects its employees and the environment. MAMF will be getting 80% of its supplies from local businesses boosting the local economy.
Hello Tractor, Inc. (“Hello Tractor” or the “Company”) is an award winning agricultural technology company focused on improving access to affordable farm mechanization for the rural poor, beginning in Nigeria. Hello Tractor has developed a low-cost Smart Tractor – embedded with GPS and telematics - which connect the Smart Tractor to our cloud-based software. Hello Tractor’s software pairs Smart Tractor owners with farmers who can text for tractor services, all coordinated in the cloud (think Uber). The Smart Tractor is versatile (with eight different attachments), low cost, and supported by trained technicians with spare parts for on-site repair.
Silver Jacks is a start-up pork butchery/restaurant establishment located in Nakuru, Kenya. SJ currently slaughter 100 pigs per year. SJ is also is now developing 6 other sectors: (1) SJ Pork Butcheries and grill: This sector sells the pork directly to the butcheries and for which we are applying this grant for; (2) SJ Fresh Meat Cuts: This sector is an online business that we are planning to open as soon as our supply for pork increases. SJ will be selling different cuts of pork and delivering to people’s homes, hotels and schools; (3) SJ Real Estate: This sector will be looking for profitable locations for the establishment of our butcheries, franchising and sales of our current locations; (4) SJ Microfinance: This sector will be responsible for making sure that our contracted farmers do have funding for feeds and care for the pigs until market weight. (5) SJ Biogas Company: This is sector will deal with the sales of Biogas in cylinders and piped which will be a byproduct of the expansion plan for support of the butcheries; and (6) SJ Value Adds: Once we have established the brand, SJ plans to diversify into making BBQ pits, grills, briquette, sauces and rubs, knifes and kitchen appliance.
Zalli Foods is a consumer packaged goods company that transforms indigenous agricultural crops into African inspired, nutritious snack foods. The company aims to serve as a bridge between West Africa and the US, by offering consumers the opportunity to experience West African culture through various snacks. It will participate in Ghana's economic development by providing small farmers with stable market access, women's empowerment through job creation and while helping to contribute toward diversification of Ghana's industrial sector. The business offering will begin with a line of Coconut Chips sold under the Zalli brand name. Over time, the company will introduce other African inspired snack food lines including other fruit and nut snacks (such as dried fruit mixes, nutrient bars, nut bars) and beverages.
Sector: Arts, Entertainment
Tastemakers Africa is a mobile app and content platform that turns the travel world on its head by repositioning Africa as a prime destination. Tastemakers goes beyond the Safari narrative with a design forward approach to uncovering destinations on the continent. Tastemakers goes beyond the Safari narrative with a design forward approach to uncovering destinations on the continent. Tastemakers target millennials with a hybrid approach that blends online magazine style content with a mobile app for booking curated experiences at bars, restaurants, hotels, and tours put together by influencers and locals. Unlike a guidebook which is only updated every few years, we have a real time pulse on the ground, real connections with local influencers, and are able to be nimble in our offering to travelers on the continent and around the world. Tastemakers main revenue stream is commissions in the mobile app. We’ve hand-picked merchants in Accra, Capetown, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi that resonate with millennials and Gen Y travelers and curate unique experiences at these local businesses. These are then bookable in the mobile app.
Sector: Educational Services
MLT Consultants offers Accredited Continuing Medical Education, Medical Facility and Laboratory Accreditation & Compliance Technical Support and Capacity Building Scientific and Technical Advising. MLT Consultants Mobile CME will utilize existing SMS technology and expand upon it using user responses. MLT Consultants unique platform provides content to users via SMS, once the user reads the educational content they can then answer questions responding using a text response. The genius of Mobile CME is that the traditional one hour course is broken down into three minute segments, that are added up to complete entire modules. This technology allows for the user to learn at their own pace, does not require the use of a desktop/laptop or the use of the internet (SMS based) both of which are not accessible to all citizens of Africa.
Sector: Health Care and Social Assistance
mDoc focuses on the Sub-Saharan African market and works at the intersection of patients and service providers to dramatically improve access to and quality of healthcare via technology solutions. mDoc aims to harness virtual technology platforms to increase access to chronic disease healthcare services by middle- and upper-income patients in 5 mobile technology-enabled and high-burden countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and to enable employers and physicians alike to provide a more integrated solution of clinical support necessary for the patient living with a chronic disease. By leveraging digital medicine platforms, mDoc aims to support physicians to provide education and tools to patients to improve self-management, and to facilitate communications between patients with credentialed and qualified healthcare professionals. mDoc will provide 24/7 access to virtual credentialed doctors, nurses, allied health providers including mental health providers, diabetologists, nutritionists etc. via sms, voice and online platforms. mDoc has engaged in several healthcare data and technology projects for a multilateral partnership (Global Fund) and ministries of health spanning over 6 African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Madagascar. mDoc’s “myhealthafrica” GIS- facility mapping app and virtual health platform for Ebola survivors was selected as one of 28 winning highlights of the Open IDEO Fighting Ebola Challenge.
Actuel is a creative furniture design business with a vision to become an urban lifestyle brand of contemporary furniture and home design in Ethiopia and beyond. Actuel designs and creates products that are functional, emotion inspiring and filled with passion for beauty and quality, and aim to brand and market different product ranges to its customers in exciting and new ways. By focusing on its core strengths of product design, marketing and collaborative innovation while strategically building the capacity of skilled local artisans and industry players to produce sustainably sourced and produced furniture, Actuel aims to force a paradigm shift towards demand for locally made high quality furniture, cutting edge design and contemporary living styles to Addis Ababa and break the reliance on imported substandard furniture. Actuel’s target customers are the rapidly growing globally connected and sophisticated urban residents of Addis Ababa and beyond. Actuel offers a range of furniture and home furnishing products that are suited to their needs by providing long awaited options for well-designed and constructed furniture. Actuel plans to open the doors to its first landmark store in Addis in September 2015.
Brundo International Ethiopia (BIE) is a spice blending and agro processing company based in Modjo, Ethiopia. It specializes in natural, organic, sustainable and heirloom products. It is best known for its unique spices, chili peppers, legume blends (hummus, shouro) and oil seeds (safflower, flax and sesame) that are exported to the US and EU markets. Brundo has a distribution facility in Oakland California that services its sister companies: a very popular, award winning Michelin recommended restaurant (café Colucci.com), a web-store (Brundo.com), a culinary studio and a spice store. Brundo’s employment practice is to provide women and children good health care and a better life. Brundo is a direct from farmer purchaser thus positively impacting the community around us. Brundo prides itself with over 90% women professionals and women employees.
Ethio-Recycling PLC seeks to establish waste paper recycling plant; and egg trays production facility from recycled paper. The end products are recycled pulp and egg tray. Ethio-Recycling will promote the use of technology and low investment. The manufacturing process is labor intensive, converts waste by recycling, uses non-wood materials, is eco-friendly; the project seeks to promote the skills of local workers, generate employment and income, and facilitate the participation of women in rural based industries and contributes to social development.
Sector: Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
African Biosciences Ltd. (ABL) is an innovative life sciences company in Nigeria with the aim to be the premier bioscience research service provider in Nigeria and across the African continent to improve bioscience research capacity. ABL will do this by providing e-commerce access to reagents and supplies, research capabilities in genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, bioscience research advisory services, bioscience technical training, lab-for-rent, contract research services, and specialized medical testing and DNA forensics services.
First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics (FASMICRO) is a pioneering semiconductor and microelectronics firm in Africa with expertise in the areas of embedded systems covering FPGA (field programmable gate arrays), microcontrollers and integrated circuits. The company creates interface with mobility, cloud and analytics by designing and developing electronics circuits and systems.
Sector: Renewable Energy
ARED has developed a mobile solar kiosk in Rwanda which is a one stop shop income generating business solution for people at the BOP level. ARED provide services such as charging small electronics, mobile money, and internet hotspot using a low cost franchise business model. ARED:
Offers a uniform distribution channel for different products, services and digital content. The primary service is charging small electronics mostly cell phones using renewable technology; sell electronic vouchers such as airtime, mobile money, products such as solar light and cell phones.
Offers entrepreneurship opportunity using a low cost franchise business model, for people that want to be in business for themselves but not by themselves with gender equality.
Offers product availability and brand visibility for the telecom companies/ or others we partner with. Collects data from customers, engage customers, offer internet, digital advertisement, content & comprehensive African App Store using local network connect it to a cloud data management services to lay the groundwork for more comprehensive intelligence service. Data generated by these sensors is transmitted in real-time via the communications network, then analyzed and managed through interactive back-end service system.
NGSCV focuses on Renewable Energy as an Independent Power Producer, building, operating and owning large scale solar PV power plants across various islands in Cape Verde – supplementing the critically needed electricity generation capacity. This project would comprise the construction and operation of a 1 Megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation power plant. The project will be built, owned and operated by NextGen Solar Cape Verde (NGSCV) with the plan to obtain project finance from US Government Agencies - Export-Import Bank (EXIM)/Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Based on the successful implementation of this pilot at Praia, NextGen Solar will be undertaking investments in several other sites across the islands of Cape Verde - for a combined total of 10MW of electricity generation.