January 5, 2015 (Nairobi)—Village Capital, in partnership with The MasterCard
Foundation and Duncan Goldie-Scot, today announced the launch of its accelerator
program, Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015. The program
will select 12 start-up firms for business development training. The aim is to unlock
innovations that increase access to financial services for smallholder farmers. At the end
of the program, the two start-ups ranked highest by other entrepreneurs in the program
will each receive $50,000 USD to help scale their businesses and impact.
The initial 12 enterprises will be chosen on the basis of how their ideas can increase
incomes for smallholder farmers by improving their access to financial services.
Typically, smallholder farmers in East Africa cannot participate in the mainstream
economy because they lack access to financial services as a result of their location, their
lack of financial literacy, and other barriers. Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture:
East Africa 2015 plans to meet this need by supporting the best local early-stage
ventures increasing financial inclusion in the East African agriculture industry,
benefitting smallholder farmers, investors, communities, and entrepreneurs in the region.
Village Capital will provide selected ventures with intensive business development
training, mentorship from local business leaders and investors, and face-to-face
interaction with potential customers. The program aims to create 200 jobs over the next
two years in East Africa, with an estimated 60% of jobs going to individuals living below
the poverty line. Graduating enterprises are also expected to increase revenue growth by
4.5 times and distribute goods and/or services to 200,000 customers (with a primary
target of smallholder farmers) within that time period.
Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital, highlighted the significance of this
program: “Village Capital connects the best early-stage entrepreneurs to real customer
needs across the world, and smallholder farmers in East Africa need access to quality
financial services. Together with The MasterCard Foundation, we are addressing this
problem by training local start-ups to scale their impact to benefit local farmers.”
Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015 is especially interested in
ventures that solve problems in agriculture, or for which smallholders or agribusinesses
represent part or all of their customer base. Applications are currently open here:
http://www.f6s.com/villagecapitalfintecheastafrica and will be accepted through
February 25, 2015. The selected applicants will be announced at the end of March 2015.
For more information, please contact George Omedo and John Mulqueen, FinTech
Associates, at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Village Capital sources, trains, and invests in early-stage ventures solving major social
problems through profitable business solutions. We put investors face-to-face with the
best entrepreneurs in agriculture, energy, education, health, and financial inclusion, and
in the last five years, we have been the most active small business development
organization worldwide. Since 2009, our award-winning peer-selection investment model
has supported 450 ventures in 30 programs across 9 countries. Our alumni have created
6,000 jobs, served 6 million customers, and raised more than $100 million in follow-on
capital to scale their businesses and impact, and 96% of our alumni would recommend
our programs to other entrepreneurs.
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto,
Canada, with over USD 9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner
organizations in 49 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and
prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth
learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard
Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and
independent entity. The policies, operations and funding decisions of the Foundation are
determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO. For more information
on the Foundation, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.
Duncan Goldie-Scot is a founding director of several FinTech companies in East Africa,
including Musoni, the first 100% mobile-only/cashless microfinance institution in
Kenya. Musoni runs its operations in Kenya and is expanding across East Africa. First
Access combines financial and mobile data to reliably predict credit risk for borrowers in
informal markets, dramatically reducing costs for lending institutions. BitPesa is an
innovative remittance service, also dramatically reducing costs of sending money to
Africa. He is also a founding director of Access Afya, an award-winning network of mini
health clinics operating in informal communities in Nairobi, Kenya.
For press inquiries, contact Kate McCrery, Village Capital, firstname.lastname@example.org