In Africa, agribusiness – more than any other economic sector – has the potential to reduce poverty and drive economic growth. The agricultural sector is a major source of food supply, income and livelihood for over 60% of the rural population in the African sub-region and is an important contributor to foreign exchange earnings. It remains the primary source of subsistence, employment and income for over 64% of the continent’s population. Agriculture is a significant contributor to National GDP in African countries, even in those countries whose economies are dominated by mining and manufacturing. On average, agriculture contributes 34% to national GDP and accounts for about 33% of the reported economic growth in African countries (UNDP 2012).
Agribusiness incubation has emerged as a critical tool that can be used to create competitive agribusinesses in Africa and to accelerate the development of the continent’s agricultural sector. Consequently, high level African Union delegations, at different international fora, have advocated for the private sector to support agribusiness incubation in different country commodity priority value chains across Africa.
A number of agribusiness incubators have been established in Africa and there are several initiatives for strengthening agribusiness education. Agribusiness incubation has proven to be a very successful mechanism for launching new enterprises by creating an environment where start-ups can be nurtured and allowed to flourish.
Experience from various agribusiness incubators especially in Asia and Africa indicates that the success rate of incubator-launched businesses is above 85% (Ibid 2012).
“A business incubator greatly improves the chances of survival of start-up businesses during the first three years, when they are most vulnerable” says, Ms. Louise de Klerk- CEO, Timbali Technology Incubator, South Africa.
FARA UniBRAIN is organizing to host the 1st African Agribusiness Incubation Conference (AAIC) and Expo to be held in Nairobi at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC), Kenya on 28th -30th September 2015.
The conference targets to bring together agro value chain actors across Africa to share experience, showcase their products/innovations and network. More than 500 delegates representing industries, policy makers, government representatives, institutional leaders, donors, youths, students, start-ups, incubators, incubates among others.
The conference is themed:Catalyzing the sustainable transformation of Africa’s agriculture through Agribusiness Incubation: towards job and wealth creation, food security and poverty reduction. African Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN) has its vision to be the hub of innovation for African agri-business incubation. Its objectives includes: facilitating establishment and growth of sustainable agribusiness incubators; to enhance knowledge, information, best practice and lessons learnt in agribusiness; To facilitate and coordinate innovative business models for agribusiness financing and investment; To promote and enhance access to market for the network agribusiness incubators; Strengthen the capacity of AAIN and its partners to deliver on agribusiness incubation.
Components of the conference and exhibition
- Agribusiness incubation conference: The conference will have ten sessions on various sub-themes/topics of agribusiness and agri-business incubation that will be presented by eminent personalities from experts across the globe.
- Best incubator and innovator awards in agribusiness incubation to encourage and promote agribusiness incubation.
- Exhibition on African Agribusiness Incubation: An agri-exhibition will be organised as part of the agribusiness incubation conference in which the incubators and their incubatees, Sub-regional organisations (SROs), partners and other agri-organisations will exhibit their technologies/innovations/products so as to attract clients and investors
- B2B meetings and speed networking: Participants will have structured discussions with different exhibitors and resource persons to understand about the available products and services in the different value chains.
- Networking Dinner: The networking dinner will include a cocktail reception, and will be held on the second day of the conference.
The following are the proposed sub-themes/topics for the conference:
- Agribusiness incubation for inclusive development in Africa
- Successful business models for agribusiness incubation (case studies)
- Agro-technologies for commercialisation and new business prospects
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) & Technology Commercialization
- Enabling African Agribusiness ecosystem
- Gender mainstreaming in agribusiness incubation
- Agro-value chain and market development for agribusiness incubation
- Fuelling agribusiness through agriculture value chain finance
- Youth engagement and capacity building for sustainable agribusiness in Africa
- Agribusiness education: A gateway for better growth in Africa
Side events to run concurrently with the main conference
- Boot camp: Interested agribusiness incubators in Africa will hold boot camps as part of the pre-conference activities to identify potential innovations among students, academia, research and start-ups in their respective value-chains that could be incubated. A panel of independent judges will be identified by AAIN to review written submissions from all agribusiness incubators in Africa, who wish to participate in the competition. The judges will then narrow the numbers to ten finalists who will be invited to pitch their innovative business ideas during the AAIN conference. The judges will decide on the two best presenters, however the delegates at the conference will also be given an opportunity to vote for the finalists based on their pitches. Both the results will be taken into consideration to choose the final winner(s). The winners will be awarded with $10,000 and $5,000 to start their businesses respectively.
- Starting and sustaining an agribusiness incubator (three-day training session)
- B2B sessions and investors meetings
The conference will consist of a combination of plenary sessions, technical workshops, pre-organized business-to-business (B2B) meetings and a market place/trade fair (Exhibition). It will also include awarding of the best incubator in Africa and best innovative business ideas among students, academia, research and start-ups in their respective value-chains.
FARA UniBRAIN is inviting you as one of its stakeholders to participate in the conference and exhibit the various products and innovations within the purview of your mandate. This will be an excellent platform for you to share with the world outputs emanating from your interventions that will change the perception of agriculture, share experiences and network, possibly forge new partnerships with global agribusiness practitioners and other value chain actors from diverse sectors. AAIN UniBRAIN Partners includes FARA, ANAFE, PanAAC, ASARECA, CORAF/WECARD, CCARDESA, AIP-ICRISAT
To register as a member of AAIN and for the conference kindly log on to www.africaain.org
Please find within link attached a general flyer introducing AAIN and a conference brochure detailing the object of the conference and what is in it for you.