What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)
Access to supply chains, Access to economic opportunity.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
We have held open fora with rural communities, district and paramount chiefs to introduce them to our plan and win their support.
We have made an agreement with the Department of Agriculture of Njala University to deliver specialist technical assistance directly to smallholder farmers with our sponsorship.
We have held discussions on national radio in Freetown introducing our model, and making them aware that we are ready to make deals with urban shop holders and rural producers.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
By the end of the first year, we aim to have penetrated one chiefdom with collection points, creating a network of farmers from whom we will regularly source paddy. We then aim to have established relationships with and sell to retailer networks within Freetown, the capital and most populated city.
By the end of the third year we aim to have increased the number of collection points in the key rice growing areas to cover an entire district, and sufficiently expanded our retail network in Freetown to distribute our increased supply. Furthermore, we aim to have put in place extension programmes in the chiefdoms we operate in and look to provide improved seed, fertiliser and ultimately machinery, to help communities farm better and increase their earning potential.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Distribution to a plethora of small retailers selling rice across the city brings us up against Freetown’s congested roads - it can easily take 4 hours to get from one side to the other during the day - and presents a significant logistical challenge. Our order management and delivery system will need to incorporate smart routing to ensure we meet delivery windows efficiently.
Furthermore, a lack of reliable power presents a challenge to production, necessitating the use of generators and thereby increasing the cost of running a processing plant. The use of fossil fuels can be kept to a minimum by using local labour - thereby also providing employment - and machinery only where necessary to ensure high quality and cost effective rice production.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Complete warehouse and begin to penetrate one chiefdom with collection points.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Finalise milling plant and distribute to retailers