A Nigerian agritech startup, ReelFruit, has been adjudged one of the two winners in Africa to receive a $50,000 funding each from the Village Capital Accelerator programme, from among a total of 10 such startups selected from across Africa.
The just-concluded accelerator programme focused on startups whose solutions address food security issues and improve results for small farmers on the African continent.
At the end of the competitive processes, RealFruit, owned by Nigeria’s Affiong Williams, and Ghana’s Complete Farmer were selected by Village Capital according to its peer-selection model.
Reelfruit produces a wide range of dried, healthy fruits and nuts snacks sold across hotels, schools and over 250 retail supermarkets in Nigeria. The products are made from fruits which include mango, pineapple, cashew, banana, etc.
Asides producing nourishing foods, RealFruit’s preservation model received acclamation for ensuring that wastage of those perishable agricultural products is minimised.
Speaking on the just-concluded accelerator programme, the regional manager for Village Capital, organisers of the programme, Adedana Ashebir, said “I’m especially proud of ReelFruit and Complete Farmer that consistently impressed their colleagues throughout the peer due diligence process.”
He also lauded the African agritech culture as well as the entire programme.
“I’m thrilled that we had representation from Zambia for the first time, a Senegalese company representing Francophone Africa, and nine ventures from seven countries.”
The accelerator will not only provide funding for the startups; the two winners, ReelFruit and Complete Farmer, will also receive training to ensure that the business continues to make strides in the agricultural sector.
Village Capital is a non-profit organization that finds, trains and funds early-stage ventures solving major global problems across various sectors – agriculture, education, energy, financial inclusion, and health.
It’s Agriculture Africa accelerator programme is focused on solutions that improve outcomes for small farmers and address food security issues.
This is because it recognises that solutions that improve and scale smallholder farmers will help the African economy.
“We’re really excited about this agriculture cohort, which includes some incredible diverse solutions from across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We kept our call quite broad: from hardware to vertical farming, and I’m glad we were able to comb through a strong semi-finalist batch to land where we are today.
“I’m also thrilled to expand our support of Ugandan and southern African ventures with this group,” Adedana Ashebir, Regional Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Village Capital, was earlier quoted as saying.
Apart from Affiong Williams’s Reelfruit, other selected startups included Uganda’s Akellobanker, a startup which allows farmers to purchase inputs on credit; Agro Supply, a mobile layaway service; Kenya’s Capture, a workflow streamlining solution; Raino Tech4Impact a cold chain solutions provider; Senegal’s Aywajieune, an online platform for sea products; Ghana’s Complete Farmer an agric investment solution; Zambia’s eMsika, an e-commerce platform; and Rwanda’s Volta Irrigation, an irrigation services firm.
Ms Affiong Williams, from Cross River State, is married to Tayo Oviosu, the CEO of the finance company Paga.
A graduate of Physiology and Psychology from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, Affiong also holds a postgraduate diploma in Business Management from the same university.
She also attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business where she took part in the Seed Transformation Programme of 2018.
After her postgraduate diploma, she worked with Endeavour South Africa from 2008 to 2012 where she rose to the position of Portfolio Manager. She returned to Nigeria in 2012 and started off ReelFruit, her own agribusiness. She is said to have started the company in her apartment in Surulere, Lagos, with an initial savings of $8,000.
She was listed by Forbes among Africa’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs in 2015.
Credits: Technext.ng.com, Google