Local companies disrupting food systems

January 28, 2019

Throughout Africa and the Middle East, entrepreneurial women and men are finding innovative ways to deal with socio-economic and environmental challenges by setting up economically sound and inclusive companies. These “inclusive entrepreneurs” bring together community stakeholders, technology, expertise and new approaches to solve deep-rooted problems.

The Disrupt! approach

What’s an effective way to provide long-term support for exceptional entrepreneurial talent and ideas? Especially if they can make a case proving that businesses with positive social impact are viable in their country?

The Hivos Entrepreneurship Support Program has developed an approach called the Disrupt! event. It is a business accelerator that delivers tailored support for entrepreneurs with a specific focus on the role and inclusion of youth and women. The aim is to increase their influence and positive impact on sustainable production, consumption, services and paying jobs.

With the support of coaches, mentors, banks, investors (including our Hivos Triodos Fund and Hivos Impact Investments), local incubators and partner networks, we have built an overall support structure in various countries that creates opportunities and nurtures new initiatives. The Disrupt! involves face-to-face meetings and online follow-up mentoring to help frontrunner entrepreneurs scale their business and become catalysts of change.

Disrupt!FOOD! Zambia: January 30 to February 1

This event showcases, promotes and connects companies and networks that are linked to the Sustainable Diets for All agenda. There is a peer-to-peer learning and training component on January 30 and 31, and on the morning of February 1, all participants present their companies and ideas to a broad audience.

Highlights of the Disrupt!FOOD! Zambia 2019 event for Hivos include:

• 12 investment-ready frontrunner companies pitching to see whose business case is the most innovative and effective.
• Official announcement of Hivos as secretariat for the SADC-wide FemBioBiz program. This is Africa’s biggest support program on women-led businesses in the bio-science).
• Official signing of a collaboration agreement between Hivos and the Zambian Development Agency (ZDA).
• Hivos’ first ever Sustainable Foods Market.

Take part in a Disrupt! Event

Hivos has organized Disrupt! events in Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Ivory  Coast,  Egypt,  Kenya,  Malawi and Zimbabwe. We bring together entrepreneurial talent with an interest in sustainable consumption and production combined with a social agenda. Our Disrupt!SEED! focuses on universal access to diverse, high quality and preferred  seeds. The Disrupt!WASTE! tackles problems in the waste management sector. Our Disrupt!FOOD! looks at food systems and sustainable consumption and production. The Disrupt!ENERGY! is about promoting renewable energy uptake and productive use of energy. And our Disrupt!TECH! co-designs ICT-related business ideas while addressing the underrepresentation of women in the sector.

Are you interested in being part of a Disrupt! event? If so, please contact Marnix van Holland at mvanholland@hivos.org.