VENTURES AFRICA – Entrepreneurs in the agribusiness and rural financial services sector in Zimbabwe can take part in the Zimbabwe Agribusiness Competition and stand the chance of being awarded grants of between $250,000 and $1.5 million.
The competition organised by the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (EACF) seeks to support private sector companies by offering them grants that are channelled towards developing, testing and implementing new and innovative business ideas.
The challenge hopes to stimulate private sector businesses in Zimbabwe to find profitable ways of raising rural incomes by developing markets for products and services that meet the needs of the rural poor.
Entrepreneurs can submit business ideas in agricultural inputs and output marketing, seed multiplication and distribution, smallholder out-grower schemes and rural finance initiatives.
The EACF has held two similar rounds of competition in Zimbabwe, through which it awarded 19 businesses funding in excess of $10.5 million in the form of grants and interest free loans.
Agriculture has for years been the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, employing about 70 percent of the population and providing about 60 percent of all raw materials for the manufacturing industry.
Droughts, economic sanctions, political instability and low funding, have however, contributed to Zimbabwe losing its standing as ‘Africa’s food basket’.
Zimbabwe’s investment opportunities in agriculture involve farming of citrus, mushrooms, soya beans, tea, coffee, horticulture, wheat and barley, honey production, pork, poultry and dairy production for processing as well exports.
To apply for the Zimbabwe agribusiness competition click here. The deadline is September 19.
In the first stage of the registration process, participants are required to indicate the nature of their business idea, its viability and ability to impact rural development. Participants will present a detailed business plan to the vetting team in the second stage, before an independent investment committee selects the winners.
The Zimbabwe agribusiness competition is funded by the Australian Government Aid Program (AusAid), the UK Department for International Development in Zimbabwe (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
The AECF, which is a $150 million private sector fund hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) supports businesses in agriculture, financial services, renewable energy and technologies for adapting to climate change.
The AECF also organizes several competitions in Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan.