IFAD and German Sparkassenstiftung select 12 startups to facilitate access to financial services and technology
- The project seeks to reach more than 200 productive and financial organizations.
- The project will benefit 9,000 households in 6 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico.
- A grant of US$2.2 million will be distributed among 12 startups.
Innovatech, a project implemented by the German Sparkassenstiftung and financed by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), kicked off its activities last Monday. During a virtual event, 12 startups were presented and will be responsible for achieving the objectives of the Innovatech project: linking agricultural producers with fintech and agritech companies to facilitate their access to markets and financial services, and thus contribute to the recovery from the impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with greater resilience.
This project will involve important strategic allies such as representatives from ministries of agriculture and finance, non-governmental organizations, productive agricultural organizations, fintech and agritech associations, banks, federations and other institutions from the 6 project countries. These include the Asociación de Productores Ecológicos, the Unión de Cañeros Guabirá, the Asociación Nacional de Productores de Quinoa and the Asociación Nacional de Productores de Oleaginosas y Trigo, in Bolivia; the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Development Bank, in El Salvador; the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, and the National Coffee Association, in Guatemala; the Fundación para el Desarrollo Empresarial y la Secretaría de Agricultura y Ganadería – PRONAGRO, and the Unidad de Administradora de Proyectos – UAP, in Honduras; Konsey Nasyonal Finansman Popile – KNFP, in Haiti; and Fideicomisos Instituidos en Relación con la Agricultura – FIRA and the Dirección de Desarrollo Rural de la Secretaría del Campo del Estado de México, in Mexico.
These stakeholders are key since, throughout the program, they will facilitate the linkage of the startups with the project’s target groups and will transmit knowledge, information and experience on the economic and social context of the project countries. In addition, the program has benefit partners who will be providing mentoring to the startups and productive organizations.
The 12 selected startups have sufficient solidity and experience in the implementation of fintech and agritech solutions, as well as a consolidated client portfolio in the countries where they operate. Between August 2022 and June 2023, the startups will be working in the project countries to adapt the innovative solutions described below, which will contribute to strengthening the rural sector.
- Sube Latinoamérica (Honduras) is a fintech that facilitates the construction of websites, payment gateways, payment links and discount coupons, focused on MSMEs. Country of origin: Honduras.
- AgroDigital (Honduras) is a fintech with an application to modernize the management of rural banks and community banks that seeks to increase the bankarization of agricultural producers. Country of origin: Honduras.
- Alfi (El Salvador) is a fintech with a gamified financial literacy, education and inclusion web platform and app. Country of origin: Chile.
- Acceso – Extensio (El Salvador) is an agtech that offers a digital field agent to receive critical crop information in the palm of your hand. Country of origin: Mexico.
- Mannitòks (Haiti) is a fintech that offers digital banking and wire transfer services. Country of origin: Haiti.
- Haitipay (Haiti)is a fintech offering wire transfers, digital wallet and financial services. Country of origin: Haiti.
- Verqor (Mexico) is a fintech that offers secured credit for the purchase of supplies. Country of origin: Mexico.
- Nilus (Mexico) is an agtech with technology for the communitarian purchase of food at risk of waste at low cost. Country of origin: Argentina.
- ImixLatam (Guatemala) is a fintech as a service with an agricultural credit marketplace. Country of origin: Colombia.
- SiembraCo (Guatemala) is an agtech that allows the creation of crops digitally connecting customers with farmers. Country of origin: Colombia.
- Hola Tractor (Bolivia) is an agtech for rental of machinery, tractors and crop supplements. Country of origin: Bolivia.
- Tu Gerente (Bolivia) is a fintech that allows the management of inventories and the creation of general reports of a business. Country of origin: Bolivia.
During her speech, Innovatech’s director, Christina Olsen, said:
“At Innovatech, contrary to traditional acceleration programs, we seek to develop long-term sustainable business models, generating a positive impact in rural areas and the agricultural sector. In the selection of the 12 startups we are not looking for unicorns or companies that are already highly financed, but rather we focus on companies founded in Latin America, with good work ethics and a strong interest in contributing to the rural development of their countries. To generate diversity among the teams and our startups, the participation of women in leadership positions was also a very important criterion.” Christina Olsen, Innovatech project director.
Enrique Hennings, IFAD’s Lead Technical Specialist in Rural Markets and Enterprises, said:
“Innovatech is a very important grant for IFAD, since it is the first time that IFAD has financed 12 technology startups to boost the agricultural sector.” He emphasized that these startups become strategic partners of IFAD, because they have the responsibility to move their businesses forward and the responsibility to support the most vulnerable populations in the countries where they will be working. “Both IFAD and German Sparkassenstiftung have full confidence that they will meet the objectives with excellence. Innovatech has generated a lot of expectation within IFAD and I am sure that once we achieve the objectives of this grant, many new doors will open.”
A grant of US$2.2 million will be distributed among the 12 selected startups for the implementation of various technological solutions in 6 Latin American countries.