The past five months or so have been filled with numerous tasks here at Finding XY. In this Newsletter, we are excited to share with you updates, insights and progress across our various projects; implemented and designed by Finding XY. We share with you updates about the Agricultural Apprentice Incubator, Women in Agriculture Impact Investment (WAII) Facility and the Africa Clean Technologies Fund ( ACTF).
Please receive our quarterly Newsletter!
THE AGRICULTURAL APPRENTICE INCUBATOR (AAI)
Early this year, Finding XY launched the Agricultural Apprentice Incubator which is aimed at unlocking investment and Facilitating Trade in Ugandan refugee settlements through agricultural interventions. Using a 9-month curriculum, Finding XY has capacitated 3 female-led Agri-SMEs with business knowledge in diverse aspects of business, financial management, and sustainability. These SMES have, in turn, provided mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities to start-up Agriprenuers from the target communities, helping them develop innovative agricultural business ideas tailored to their local contexts. To realize the business ideas and foster trade, a grant of USD 2,000 will be provided to select agripreneurs and USD 10,000 to each Female-led Agri SME for partnership building.
On 18th July, 2023, Finding XY held a co-creation workshop themed “Unlocking Investment and Facilitating Trade In Refugee Communities Through Female-Led Agribusinesses” that sought to identify strategies and mechanisms to close agricultural operational and investment gaps in refugee communities. Participants included female-led agri-businesses, agri-prenuers, policymakers, impact investors, financial institutions, and development partners. The workshop discussions revolved around how agricultural productivity in refugee and host communities can be improved and what is necessary for the sustainability of the interventions, what types of capacity development and financing solutions would work best in refugee communities, and what mechanisms can be used to address barriers and close food security and value chain gaps in the resilience zones.
Overseen by Finding XY, the Agri-SMEs delivered a comprehensive 4-Day Business-to-Business training to their respective agripreneurs. The trainings factored in practical field visits to contextualize theoretical sessions that focused on closing the conventional gaps including inventory management, quality control measures, post-harvest handling, record keeping, and financial management, among others. Post-training, structured and consistent technical guidance is being provided to the agripreneurs, all facilitated through the WAII facility's inclusive training initiatives. The next phase is monitoring the trade partnership approaches consented to by both the Agri-SMEs and the agripreneurs. Memorandums of Understanding were signed to commensurate the relationship.
The Agricultural Apprentice Incubator has received tremendous support from impact investors and financiers such as I gravity, Equity Bank and Response Innovation Lab to provide expertise in technical assistance and innovative financing mechanisms and solutions in refugee settlements. The support is garnered towards supporting female-led agri-SMEs and agriprenuers forge new partnerships to optimize their business operations.
WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE IMPACT INVESTMENT (WAII) FACILITY
Finding XY is deliberate on identifying and establishing collaborations with partners to further unlock debt or equity financing for female-led agri-SMEs in Uganda and Kenya through the Women in Agriculture Impact Investment (WAII) Facility. The facility has a growing pipeline of 180 and 75 female-led Agri-SMEs in Uganda and Kenya respectively. Finding XY conducts a robust investment readiness scan to ascertain the gaps and strategize for alleviation to better position the enterprises for investment. The facility accelerates early growth stage of SMEs investment using a blend of instruments and a gender lens approach through bridge financing cover and loan-discounting.
The facility continues to partner with institutional and impact investors to accelerate investment in female-led Agri-SMEs. Since the facility launch in June 2022, investors including, Nordic Impact Funds, Dareed Holdings Limited, Ellon Holdings Limited, Asante Financial Services, Stanbic Bank and Equity Bank have collaborated with Finding XY to unlock investment among our portfolio Agri-SMEs. Through a partnership with USAID FtF Inclusive Agricultural Markets Activity, the facility has leveraged a de-risking mechanism of utilizing grants to offset the interest charged or principal. As a result, over USD 400,000 has been raised for 6 Agri-SMEs and 20 receiving structured investment readiness support. Furthermore, USD 450,000 in additional financing has been raised leveraging the structured business advisory to address gaps that often hinder capital acquisition. We are deliberate on engaging with investors to address the “gender gap” through Gender Lens Investment and a blend of development and commercial finance.
Finding XY recently concluded a Monitoring and Evaluation on selected portfolio companies to establish and measure business progress and milestones in line with financial performance, team improvements, service and programs milestones, GY and environmental impact milestones. It was observed that substantial improvements have been achieved regarding business management practices, financial management, business visibility, and traction from relevant financiers, and opportunities for partnerships. However, these enterprises are still victims of limited access to land, financial resources, and technology, as well as gender-based discrimination and cultural barriers that restrict their participation in decision-making and leadership roles. Addressing these obstacles is crucial to harnessing the full potential of female-led Agri-SMEs and promoting gender equity within the agricultural industry, as they play a pivotal role in food security and rural development.
WAII is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets Activity and is implemented by Finding XY.
AFRICA CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES FUND (ACTF)
Over the past months, through the ACTF program, Finding XY has profiled feasible projects where investment can be made and increased co-operation among clean technology manufacturers and businesses to define clean technology needs and financing needed. Among the profiled companies is Tulima solar, Solar Nation and Trans African Supply Services (TASS). Investor presentations and project teasers have already been prepared for each of the three and are all set for fundraising.
In a bid to expand its knowledge and build partnerships with similar institutions in the Clean technology industry,Finding XY has participated in training workshop on hazardous chemicals, participated in a consultation workshop about renewable energy hosted by UNREEA, participated in a workshop about aproaches to realizing community action for climate change adaptation in Uganda hosted by Uganda National Academy of Sciences and also attended the Launch of the climate Finance Accelerator hosted by the British High Commission.
Over 90% of the domestic solar companies indicated that access to finance is a key barrier for further business growth. Finding XY therefore continues to seek partnerships with investors such as UECCC under their Energy Scale Up project and Convergence under their Gender Responsive Climate Finance Window with an end goal to finance adoption clean technology companies and create green jobs by enabling the use of productive energy and enabling the growth of local clean technology companies.