WEAgri Bootcamp Summary
Atualizado: 26 de Jun de 2018
Strengthening Agricultural Supply Chains in Guinea-Bissau
Throughout the month of April, the members of InnovaLab, Guinea-Bissau’s first startup accelerator, traveled to three cities, one in each region of Guinea-Bissau, to facilitate the first WeAgri Bootcamps.
The WEAgri Bootcamps were hosted as a result of conversations and collaboration with the Association of Economically Active Women (AMAE) and the Association of Guinea-Bissau Farmers (ANAG), two of the largest labor networks in Guinea Bissau. These networks represent 17,000 members in total, and work to support members with resources and representation.
As a result of several discussions between ANAG, AMAE, and InnovaLab, it became clear that two of the largest challenges for small-scale farmers are the lack of capacity building resources and market access. InnovaLab proposed a solution of working with both organizations to support structural development of the producer network with the objective of aggregating agricultural products from across the country for local and international distribution.
Given InnovaLab’s focus on tech-enabled entrepreneurship, they also proposed leveraging their technological resources to develop an ecommerce platform to facilitate the sales and distribution of these producers’ agricultural products. This led to the development of Bandim Online.
However, in order to aggregate products for the platform, InnovaLab recognized the need to create a well-oiled system through which agricultural producers from any part of the country could make their products available for collection, and later sale. To begin engaging in the process of building this system, InnovaLab launch the WEAgri Bootcamps.
The key objectives of WEAgri Bootcamp Tour were to:
Strengthen entrepreneurship, leadership, and digital literacy capacities of select female producers in the rural areas of Bissau.
Support the bootcamp participants with the development of an organized network of producers in the rural areas.
Train the participants on best practices for leveraging technology for their businesses.
Raise awareness on the importance of the creation of an ICT ecosystem for social change in the agricultural sector.
For each day of the training, the InnovaLab team focused on three (3) key transitional themes: personal entrepreneurial development, organizational structure and initiative building, and lastly, how individuals and organizations can leverage technology to support business operations.
From April 12th - 14th, The first WEAgri Bootcamp was held in Buba with 15 participants from across the southern region of Bissau. InnovaLab found that many had the attendees had experience working at international organizations, and that participation in the bootcamp introduced them to more tools and context for innovation.
From April 19th – 21st, the team moved north to Bafata, where many of the attendees also worked as k-12 teachers. InnovaLab found that, although the overall level of attendee education was higher, the attendees still had limited digital literacy skills.
For the last session, April 26th – 28th, The InnovaLab team moved to Canchungo, working with women from the northern region of Bissau. In Canchungo, participants were deeply engaged in the pricing exercises that clarified how their processed products could best be priced to give them a business-sustaining profit margin.
Here are some of the key take away’s from the WEAgri Bootcamp:
Many of the participants expressed that, having attended other trainings hosting by international development agencies, this was the first time they had a training that really met them where they were at, both in regards to content and cultural.
Some of the attendees had never been introduced to any form of technology, and many were excited to learn how they could use it, specifically to support their businesses.
During the workshop session on organizational structure, it became clear that clarity of roles, processes, and activities is a major learning point for many members of the association.
The participants found it very valuable to learn about design thinking, which, from their feedback, shifted conversations away from focusing on the problem, to focusing on a solution.
For InnovaLab, ANAG, and AMEA, the work has only begun. As a result of the trainings, InnovaLab has gained a deeper understanding of the challenges that producers face, and the ways that educational, technological, and financial resources can be used to fill these gaps.
To present these findings, garner support of local and international stakeholders, and share the potential of impact of building an agricultural ecommerce platform, InnovaLab will host the #WeAgri Bootcamp Demo Days, from May 18th at the American corner Bissau (Tchico Té) and 19th, at the French Cultural Center in Bissau.
To learn more about Innovalab, visit: www.innovalab-gw.com