Who is your customer?
Releaf targets Africa’s 500,000 Agricultural SMEs with revenues $100K-10M. 84% of African SMEs underfinanced and there is great immediate potential for these businesses to benefit from our investment platform. Africa’s agriculture sector that was $313B in 2013 is expected to grow to $1T by 2030 (World Bank). Nigeria’s agrarian market is $21B, 22% of the GDP, and is expected to double in size by 2030 (PWC). Releaf targets Impact Investors interested in Africa. More than 200 Africa Focused funds have more than $30B under management (World Bank). Additionally, Monitor Group estimates that the impact investing industry could grow from around $50 billion in assets (2009) to $500 billion in assets by 2019.
What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?
With 84% of African SMEs underfinanced, a $150Bn financial gap, these businesses don’t have the opportunity to scale and develop. They are not being given the chance to serve their communities. African SMEs also suffer from little to no affordable business services, contributing to poorly managed operations which don’t possess the ability to channel investments into growth and returns. Ultimately, finance is a catalyst for growth, not the solution. SMEs need to understand where their operations are underperforming, rectify them, and then use capital to scale.
What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?
Releaf 's currently focuses in the agricultural sector but our model is meant for all sectors with high prevalence of underfinanced SMEs. We have started with agriculture because it holds the greatest opportunities for SMEs to grow rapidly, satisfying domestic and international demand. Developments in the agricultural sector are also 11X effective at alleviating poverty than any other industry (World Bank). We compete with existing investment advisory firms by providing a web-based solution with tailored results rather than lengthy calls and email chains typical of the industry today.
Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?
Releaf secured a partnership with Africa’s largest agricultural research center, IITA and its largest financial institution, the African Development Bank. They provide us with yearly revenues, contact details, and other metrics of agribusinesses from their databases. We also contact companies through our personal networks, but anticipate building organic demand with more traction and marketing.