Good Food for Cities

Generation Food: transforming Ouagadougou's food system

June 26, 2023

Like many young people, Burkina Faso’s youth is increasingly turning away from the agri-food sector due to its low wages, socio-economic challenges and lack of rewarding job opportunities. Generation Food aspires to support young, motivated entrepreneurs with sustainable business ideas through an incubator.

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Region description

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Offering necessary support to young Burkinabe people so they can develop their sustainable food business plans

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Two years

The challenge

67% of Burkina Faso's population is under 25 years old. Young Burkinabe face many socio-economic challenges, including a lack of rewarding job opportunities providing them with a decent income.

In Burkina Faso, almost 80% of the population works in agriculture, but only 0.2% of them are trained for this. In Burkina, as in the rest of the world, young people are increasingly turning away from the agri-food sector and its low wages.

However, they lack the necessary support (coaching, advice and feedback, access to finance, equipment, etc.) to develop their business plans in order to make their business ideas come true.

This incubator will be a place where young, beginning entrepreneurs and people with experience and expertise will inspire and reinforce each other. Young women and men will be trained in all the skills needed to create successful businesses. This way, we increase the chances of success for these businesses.

Bernadette Ouattara

Rikolto's project coordinator - West Africa

Our approach

Rikolto, in collaboration with the City of Ouagadougou, launched a Generation Food incubator aimed at both young people who have an idea to start a business and those who already have a business and want to make it more sustainable and profitable.The Generation Food incubation programme consisted of the following milestones:

  • A two-day Generation Food Hackathon, during which 60 participants were divided into groups to work on new business ideas related to sustainable agricultural production, urban and peri-urban agriculture, agri-food marketing, food waste reduction and sustainable consumption. Experts were invited to provide technical information and insights on the challenges and opportunities of the selected topics. At the end of the hackathon, participants were encouraged to form teams to participate in the continuation of the incubation programme.
  • A six-month training programme combining practical experience, such as field visits and discussions with entrepreneurs, with practical training focusing on accounting and financial management skills, marketing, market analysis, inclusive business models, quality and social skills (leadership, management, networking, etc.). 80 young entrepreneurs working in groups developed a good business plan and business case, which they pitched to the Ouagadougou Initiative of the City of Ouagadougou.
  • The incubation programme continued with 60 young entrepreneurs in the second year. They are paired with experienced entrepreneurs as mentors or coaches, and can participate in follow-up training on business and soft skills. Rikolto and its partners also assist them in reaching out to potential customers for their products. In addition, the 15 best business plans receive seed funding for their businesses, and by connecting them with other investors, we help them explore additional funding opportunities.
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  • 80 young people, of which minimally 30 are young women, will be able to participate in the Generation Food incubation programme.
  • The project has a duration of 2 years, from September 2020 to August 2022, and a budget of €250,000.

Expected results by August 2022

  • 60 hackathon participants were encouraged to innovate and co-create business ideas ;
  • 80 young people have acquired the skills to start a business through the training programme;
  • 60 young people (including at least 30 women) are going through the second incubation year;
  • 15 new innovative agri-businesses have been created and have access to start-up funding;
  • A rotating fund has been set up to make sure that other youth entrepreneurs can tap into start-up funding in the future;
  • The Generation Food incubator is being embedded in the city infrastructure.

By giving young people the opportunity to put their ideas into practice, we stimulate innovation from the bottom up and show the food industry that change is possible.

Hamado Tapsoba

Former Director of Rikolto in West Africa

Generation Food around the world

Generation Food is part of Rikolto's international Good Food For Cities programme. In different cities around the world, including Burkina Faso, Arusha, Leuven and Quito, Rikolto supports municipalities in formulating food policies and putting them in practice. In co-creation with universities, businesses, local food production/distribution initiatives, municipalities and farmer cooperatives, we develop business models (from farm to fork) that make the transition to sustainable cities possible. Through Generation Food, Rikolto advocates for the active participation of young people in shaping the future food system.

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Who do we work with?

Gillès Foundation


Bernadette Ouattara

Food Smart Cities programme coordinator
+226 70 26 86 96

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