Africa Rural Connect: My First Step as a Micro Venture Capitalist
by Steve Amara
Is there any way someone can say he cannot access good information nowadays if he is provided with good tools and platforms? I do not think so. This is what Africa Rural Connect does: it connects people with the same goals to shape good projects for African agriculture. As such, it gave me access to the right persons and information at the right moment to start concretely operating as a micro venture capitalist.
I recently launched a social micro-venture capital company called Mwanamke Afrika, LLC, which means African Woman in Swahili. Its mission is to provide rural women farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa with seed funding so that they can launch their farms or, if larger scale, agribusiness venture. As I had been following Africa Rural Connect on social networks (mainly Twitter and LinkedIn), I thought that posting my idea could give me more visibility and maybe lead to connections with women farmers or African women-centric project holders. I should admit that this was probably the best thing I did as “a new-generation investor”, the way I use to call investors willing to bet on rural Africa.
I first saw an idea called “2 chickens and a cock”, initiated by a current Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso called Rasheda Unkonda Sawyer. The principle of the idea, entirely set to be developed in rural communities, is to offer a given family 2 chickens and 1 cock. Those animals will reproduce and give other chickens that will be given to another family. The domino effect will allow each family to have an animal usable for feeding purposes and to income generation as well.
I found it really interesting and mailed the author to get more details about it. Our visions were aligned on the necessity of empowering women, the importance of considering them as the key entry for sustainable agricultural development. The required investment is approximately $1,500 shared between 10 families with 150$ each with a potential ROI 10 times the initial amount. We are planning to meet each other as soon as possible to step forward on this exciting case.
The second idea, “Fighting rural household poverty through piggery”, was posted by Christopher Mulindwa who owns a company dedicated to pig farming and marketing of pig products in Uganda. As for the agriculture part, this swine breeding project intends to create a domino effect in rural Ugandan households though the raising and selling of pigs. Some women will be provided with piglets that they will raise to reproduce so that they can have a real piggery. As for the commercial part, Christopher’s company will assist the farmers with all the marketing aspects, and the recent interest of an Israeli veterinary services officer in the project will help to robust the medical part.
The initial investment was $6,000, with an ROI of 4 in approximately 5 years and very measurable positive impact on the poor households whose revenue will increase. It could easily reach an even larger scale though, with the involvement of Israeli and Ugandan veterinary services that we are now considering. Thinking about the beginning of those business stories appeals to me, the great pleasure of trying to earn my living by doing what I love most to better poor people’s life. If you are thinking the same way and doing something (or trying to do something) someway related to African agriculture, then consider being active on Africa Rural Connect. Do you need any more words? I will end with these:
The above deals are expected to be closed by the end of this year, so I will always remember that my very first business cases as a micro venture capitalist started on Africa Rural Connect!
To find out more about Steve's micro-venture capital company and idea, visit Mwanamke Afrika, LLC and "Seed funding for aspiring women entrepreneurs in rural areas", or contact him directly by viewing Steve's Africa Rural Connect profile.
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