‘Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Startups’ (SAIS) is a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have launched the 2022 GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme.
The overall goal of the project is to support African startups in scaling their digital innovations; these innovations should enable users in the agriculture or food sectors to increase their income. Up to 18 startups are selected annually to participate in a nine-month Investment Readiness Programme fully funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The aim of the Investment Readiness Programme is to support more African startups in improving their business models, gaining access to investors and business partners, and achieving greater impact. Seven output indicators (also called investment readiness criteria or investment readiness output indicators) have been defined to assess and monitor the investment readiness level of selected startups.
- The competencies of the founding team are improved (e.g. pitch training, operations management, leadership, startup valuation (“pre-money”), clear roles, and responsibility of management team).
- The startup’s data room is improved and all necessary documents for effective due diligence are available (e.g. pitch deck, annual balance sheet, accounting, bank statements, forecasts, and exit strategy).
- A digital system for monitoring the startup’s user base is established and provides data (“data analytics”).
- A market research and competitiveness analysis of the startup is available for their own national market and possible expansion markets.
- A strategy and a catalogue of measures for marketing & sales are available and guide the actions of the founding team for scaling the start-up.
- The startup’s product (“digital agricultural innovation”) is market-ready (e.g. customer-driven product development, product-market fit, data security, suitable for national regulations).
- The startup’s customer growth is improved (improved customer acquisition rate).
- Weekly advisory and coaching sessions: Weekly advisory and coaching sessions held virtually during which strategies and measures for rapid growth and scaling, product improvement and innovation, leadership and business management operations are developed and implemented with the startups.
- Additional services: Based on the startup’s commitment, access to additional services to optimize certain segments (e.g. legal advice, marketing, coding, product optimization, etc.) of the startups.
- Hub integration: Integration of the selected startups in one of the partner hubs in their home country in order to facilitate their visibility and establish contact with relevant actors in the local startup scene.
- Access to GIZ-SAIS network: Access to investors and business partners from the GIZ-SAIS network.
- Extended services: Add-on services for female entrepreneurs.
- Meet-up events: Up to three in-person meet-up events. Depending on the COVID-19 situation over the course of 2022, it may be possible to shift the in-person meet-ups to online events. At the moment the plan is to start the IRP with a kick-off workshop in Capetown, in January 2022 (CW4), followed by a virtual mid-term check-in June 2022; a demo-day with investors and business partners will conclude the program in September 2022.
- The startup must be registered and operating in at least one African country.
- SAIS is looking for innovative startups that are about to scale rapidly and apply digital solutions to the agriculture and food sector which enable their users to improve their income. In addition, digital products or services that help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 are a plus and will be taken into special consideration.
- Please note that early-stage startups will not be considered for the program.
For more information, visit https://vc4a.com/giz/giz-sais-investment-readiness-programme-2022/