Blog & News

News 13.APR.2023

Demoday Innovatech

Panama City, Panama, April 13, 2023.

Startups from the Innovatech project present solutions to boost access to financial services and technology that will benefit 9,000 households in Latam.

IFAD and Germany’s Sparkassenstiftung held a Demo Day in which they presented the digital solutions of 12 startups to benefit more than 200 productive organizations in six countries in the region.

Of the 12 startups in the project, 5 will enter a scaling process with an approach to investors, networking and additional support.

The startups worked for six months on the development of their solutions, through a distributed grant of US$2.2 million. After six months of work as part of the pilot phase of the Innovatech program, the 12 fintech and agtech startups that make up the project, financed by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by Germany’s Sparkassenstiftung, presented -during the Demo Day in Panama City- the solutions they developed or adapted to facilitate access to markets, financial services and technology for productive organizations, and thus contribute to the recovery from the impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with greater resilience. Among the challenges detected that the productive and financial organizations face in the six countries of the project -Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico- are the low adoption of digital solutions in the field, digital illiteracy, the search for consolidation in a new country, territorial expansion, the impact of climate on agricultural processes, off-line operation, among others. Based on this, and thanks to the linkage with the target groups of the project and the exchange of knowledge about the economic and social context of the host countries, the startups presented the following solutions:

  • Hola Tractor (Bolivia): through a digital platform, it facilitates access to services such as machinery and other types of assets, innovating in the interaction between owners, potential users and other stakeholders.
  • TuGerente (Bolivia): through its application, called Zozzi, seeks to provide a tool for producers to keep track of costs, expenses and income of their production processes.
  • Alfi (El Salvador): through a free learning application with playful elements, it connects financial education with financial products, promoting the inclusion of small producers.
  • Acceso – Extensio (El Salvador): offers a digital field agent to receive critical crop information directly on mobile devices.
  • ImixLatam (Guatemala): technology that seeks to facilitate access to financial tools through a centralized network of local businesses to expand the reach of financial services in rural areas.
  • SiembraCo (Guatemala): developed a technology platform focused on establishing commercial links between agricultural producers and consumers, enabling virtual sowing.
  • Mannitòks (Haiti): its MACHE solution, an e-commerce platform that includes the Mannitòks digital payment mechanism, offers Haitian agricultural products and connects them with logistics providers, digital payment solutions and financing mechanisms.
  • Haitipay (Haiti): provides a digital management tool for Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and a mobile application for their members.
  • Sube Latinoamérica (Honduras): provides online resources to help small organizations in the rural sector build and manage their own website and apply tools such as payment gateway, collection links, discount coupons, among others.
  • AgroDigital (Honduras): its application, called MiCaja, seeks to strengthen administrative and financial capabilities, such as information management and preparation of financial statements, to contribute to transparency and good management of financial resources in rural savings and loan associations.
  • Nilus (Mexico): provides technology for low-cost community purchasing of food that is at risk of going to waste.
  • Verqor (Mexico): facilitates access to various products and services for small producers, such as financing, business linkages, agro-input purchases, technical assistance, among others.

The startups have worked closely with strategic allies, such as representatives of the ministries of agriculture and finance, non-governmental organizations, banks and federations, benefit partners who provided mentoring and the agricultural production organizations themselves, in order to generate these solutions. In this way, the startups have entered the massification phase of the Innovatech project, with the objective of implementing their solutions and directly impacting more than 200 productive organizations.

During the presentation of the solutions, the director of Innovatech, Christina Olsen, expressed:

“At Innovatech we seek to bring fintech and agtech startups closer to rural areas in Latin America, learning first-hand about the barriers and how to adapt business models to these challenges, in order to integrate areas that have not been included for the moment (…) I invite you to understand the potential impact for people and their families that each of these digital solutions can bring.”

Enrique Hennings, Head of the Multi Country Office for Mesoamerica, Caribbean and Mexico of IFAD, mentioned that:

“It is important to highlight the diversity of services we have achieved with Innovatech. We have companies that work in financial inclusion, financial education, access to financing, electronic marketing (…) it is a diversity of services that is reaching the base of the pyramid. It is something very important, this change in business models, to be able to really serve this farmer who has been displaced or who has not been included for a long time”.

During the Demo Day, an evaluation jury selected the five startups whose solutions may represent the greatest potential for scaling the strategies and tools developed during the project beyond its objectives. The five startups selected for this process, which will be developed at the same time as the massification stage, are Hola Tractor (Bolivia), alfi (El Salvador), Imix and Siembraco (Guatemala) and Sube (Honduras).

The jury was composed of Christina Olsen and Enrique Hennings, together with Javier Vásquez, Co-Founder & Builder of Staterra and Managing Director of EntoPro; René Castro, Country Director of FIDA in Panama; Gustavo Añez, Founder of Koban; and Tony Carbonero, Co-Founder of SNBX and Co-Founder & CEO of INNBOX.

The Innovatech project will conclude its massification phase in June 2023, with the possibility of continuing with a second edition, based on the results and impact obtained in this first version.