The story actually starts in Kampala, Uganda’s buzzing capital, where TTi Pre-cooked Beans took part in SusTech4Africa. Organised by OVO in Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal and for the African diaspora, SusTech4Africa is a competition for starting and growing companies that use sustainable technologies. During the boostcamp, participants take part in trainings and get questioned about their business model and financial planning by a team of volunteers existing of experienced entrepreneurs and students. Entrepreneurs who pass the boostcamp, receive intensive coaching and a prospect for a loan.
“Shayo flew from Tanzania to Uganda specifically for this event”, remembers entrepreneur Hugo Van de Voorde. “The project was still in its starting phase back then, but he was an already experienced business leader. Shayo had started and expanded a backery with three to four branches before selling it. You immediately noticed he had experience.”
As OVO’s lead screener, Van de Voorde get his hands on TTi’s project file. “Shayo’s project was very detailed. He could already present a complete business and financial plan. Of course, we still discussed a lot about the details, but what was important to me is that he was very open to our ideas and suggestions for improvements.”
Refining the plans
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, which has also paralysed African economies, the project has been delayed, but by now the construction of the production site has started. “On the technical level, we helped with the design of the site, by for instance making suggestions regarding food safety. We also joined the thought process to hash out how to organise everything in the best way possible”, explains Van de Voorde, who has been a consultant and business owner himself in the horticulture sector.
“Our main role was to challenge Shayo and share our experience. In this way, the human resources plan, kick off timing and financial plan were improved”, summarises lead screener Van de Voorde. After a positive evaluation by the screening team, the project is proposed to the lenders to receive funding.
Widespread benefits of pre-cooked beans
Shayo buys the beans from 800 local farmers from two cooperatives supported by Rikolto, and international NGO. “The farmers growing brown beans benefit from a long-term cooperation with a buyer that offers a good and stable price. It enables them to invest in quality improvement and sustainable agricultural practices”, describes David Leyssens, the Regional Director of Rikolto in East Africa.