“The Missing Middle” is what we call the gap in finance the majority of entrepreneurs face in getting from a viable prototype or early customers to a full-scale proven business. This talk was presented at Sankalp Global 2022 by Luni Libes, co-founder and CEO of Africa Eats. In Part 1, Luni explains who he is, and how he came to fill in this otherwise missing middle. In Part 2...
Despite over ¾ of Africans being farmers or children of farmers, not every African is able to eat three meals per day. Most of that is due to post-harvest losses, with up to ⅓ of the grain and almost ½ of all the fruit and vegetables grown never making it to a plate to eat.
Because of the post-harvest losses, Africa spends tens of billions of dollars per year importing food. Ending this downward spiral of mounting debt ends when Africa is a net exporter of food.
There is far too much friction in funding the existing, homegrown, for-profit solutions to hunger and poverty too often ignored by financial institutions. Not just initial funding, but growth-stage funding and critical financial services.
A solution for all these issues is Africa Eats, a holding company with a diverse set of African food/ag companies supporting hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers, feeding millions of Africans.
Africa Eats does not try solving this problem from scratch, but instead begins with two dozen fledglings (graduates) of Fledge, the global network of conscious company accelerators. Dozens of young, for-profit, growing companies chosen from thousands as most likely to succeed, with impact embedded in their product or service, and who have all received two months of intense training, capital, and follow-on support. Companies which in 2022 earned over $24 million in aggregate revenues and which worked directly with over 100,000 smallholder farmers.