Agro Business

Now Open: The GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme for Agtech Start-ups in Africa

Application Deadline: January 31, 2022

The program “Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Startups” (SAIS) is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) GmbH (German technical cooperation). The overall objective of the program is to support the scaling up of digital solutions developed by African startups.

These solutions should enable users of the agricultural or agro-food sector, mainly women and young people, to increase their income. Each year, the program will select up to five startups to participate in a nine-month Investment Readiness Program (IRP) fully funded by BMZ. The objective of the program is to help selected startups improve their business models, and provide them access to investors and business partners.

The program is based on seven performance indicators to assess the level of investment readiness of selected startups:

Indicator 1: The managerial skills of the founding team are improved, the sharing of roles and responsibilities within the management team is clearly defined.

Indicator 2: The start-up’s database is updated and all the documents necessary for effective ‘due diligence’ are available (e.g. pitch deck, annual balance sheet, accounting report, bank statements, forecasts and strategy Release).

Indicator 3: A digital start-up user base monitoring system is established and provides reliable data.

Indicator 4: A market study and an analysis of the startup’s competitiveness are available for the national market and possible expansion markets.

Indicator 5: A strategy and a catalog of measures for marketing and sales are available and guide the actions of the founding team to develop the start-up.

Indicator 6: The start-up’s digital product is customer-focused and ready to market (e.g. product adaptation to target market, data security guaranteed, adaptation to applicable national regulations).

Indicator 7: The startup’s customer acquisition rate has improved.


The GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Program is aimed at entrepreneurs who have developed and brought to market a digital product that solves a specific problem in the agricultural and the agrifood value chain. Applicants must meet the following conditions:

Legal form
– The startup must be registered and operate in at least one of the following countries: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Chad, Togo, Tunisia.
– A certificate of registration will be requested.

Team (Founders)
– The startup must have a founding team of at least two people.
– The management team should be highly motivated and work for the startup, ideally full time.
– The management team should have entrepreneurial and technical experience in their area of ​​operation.

Digital product/service
– The startup must have a viable digital product that has a positive impact on the incomes of its users.
– The product must be aligned with one of the digital technologies listed below.

Market access and traction
– The startup must have launched its digital product at least six months before the application period.
– Startups must provide evidence of good traction ’(based on customers, earliest incomes).

Business model
– The startup should have an easily understandable and very convincing business model (clear statement of the problem, clear digital solution, clear customer segment and clear revenue stream).


Online training structured around several key themes in the development of startups (management and governance of young companies, economic study, methodical development of business plans, finances and financing tools, the constitution of a financing file, essential elements of negotiation with an investor…etc).

Weekly sessions of personalized coaching, advice, and mentoring tailored to the specific and individual needs of each startup, during which strategies and measures for rapid growth will be developed and implemented with the startups.

Access to additional premium services; depending on the start-up’s commitment and performance, additional services will be offered to optimize certain key areas (e.g.. legal advice, online marketing, digital product optimization, design, coding…etc).

Integration into a local hub in order to facilitate contact with major players in the local startup scene.

Access to the GIZ-SAIS network: the program coordination team, based in Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany, will facilitate access to investors and business partners of the GIZ-SAIS network. In addition, the program will help selected start-ups to improve their visibility and networking nationally and internationally through participation in national, regional, and international events dedicated to African entrepreneurs.

Please note: The Investment Readiness Programme will be held entirely in French.

Program structure

  • March 2022: Meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, for the launch of the program. Depending on the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting may be held online.
  • March 2022 – December 2022: Coaching and individual support for startups.
  • August 2022: Mid-term evaluation meeting in Bonn, Germany, and study trip to Paris, France.
  • December 2022: Presentation of successful startups to investors and closure of the Program.
  • January 2023: Master Class for the 2 best startups in the program.

Selection Process

  • Monday, January 31, 2022: End of the online application process at noon, Paris time.
  • From February 8 to 11, 2022: Interviews with shortlisted start-ups.
  • Wednesday, February 16, 2022: Online boot camp with the fifteen best startups selected.
  • Monday, February 28, 2022: Final virtual pitch (the evaluation will be done by community vote and by a jury of experts)

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme

Leave a Reply