The Nourishing Africa Entrepreneur Support Program, launched in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, which focuses on small-scale enterprises, is currently wrapping up activities for the initiative. The initiative started in December 2020 and has trained over 1,000 young Nigerian agri-food entrepreneurs, helping them to improve their business operations and become resilient and adaptive agribusinesses.
The program, targeted at young people between the ages of 20 and 40 (57% of which are women), is engaged in critical food and cash crops and livestock value chains, from the provision of inputs and primary production to processing, logistics, storage, and distribution in 11 states in Nigeria: Abia Anambra, Delta, Edo, FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo states.
The program has provided knowledge and support to these Nigerian grassroots SMEs to help them pivot and recover from the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses, keeping employees engaged and assisting them to emerge from this crisis even stronger. By leveraging technology and innovation, Nourishing Africa developed the Entrepreneur Support Program consisting of a Business Resilience Diagnostic Tool. The tool enabled agri-businesses to assess the health of their companies and the capabilities of their leaders – both pre and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Titled 'Agribusiness Entrepreneur Development,' the seminar was an intensive 12-day virtual training for participants to understand their business operations and value chain activities as agri-food MSMEs. The training was critical to increasing the resilience, growth, profitability, and sustainability of the Nigerian agri-food businesses.
The program has fulfilled these critical aspects of the initial program design and achieved impact through these multi-pronged interventions. Nourishing Africa remains committed to providing ongoing support to these agri-food entrepreneurs and others across the country and continent to maintain existing growth paths, strengthen their capacities, and accelerate their business growth. This support will be channelled through the Nourishing Africa online resource and data Hub – the Membership Community and vibrant network. The team will continue to facilitate strategic convenings and workshops to transfer knowledge and create resilient agribusinesses. Activities such as the First Thursday monthly sessions bring together entrepreneurs and other critical stakeholders to engage in a peer-to-peer exchange of insights, build knowledge and skills, and discover new solutions to shared challenges. Currently, Nourishing Africa supports over 4,000 agri-food SMEs across 37 African countries, providing knowledge, data, funding, advertising opportunities, access to new markets, and a community of like-minded agripreneurs to partner for long-term success and impact.
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About Nourishing Africa
With a vision of a sustainable and thriving food system driven by over 1 million dynamic, young, African entrepreneurs, Nourishing Africa is a digital knowledge and membership hub focused on supporting African agri-food entrepreneurs scale their businesses through collaborative models, peer-to-peer support, and provision of critical resources, tools, and opportunities, including funding, capacity building, data, events, e-learning, media showcase, and mentoring.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org