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LEARNING AND SHARING SERIES SESSION 1: EXPLORING BUSINESS MODELS

The first session in the Fund Learning and Sharing Series titled Exploring Business Models was held on 3 December 2020. This was followed by a second session on Building Successful Partnerships.

This initial session was mainly aimed at the sharing of lessons and insights within the Fund portfolio, although some non-Fund actors were also invited to attend. It is the intention of the Fund to broaden the audience base as these sessions continue.

The panel representation for the session reflected four of the diverse and evolving business models within the Fund portfolio. The individual panellists were Crispin Murira, Founding CEO of Copia (Kenya), Fennie Lansbergen, Director East Africa at Enviu (Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya), JohnCarl Dunyo, Head of Product Innovation and Distribution and Lily Keledorme, Head of Farmer Engagement at Farmerline (Ghana) and Dr. Rachel Kabuyah, Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Twiga Foods (Kenya).

The panel discussion was facilitated by Mikael Hook, Director Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab. Nashipae Leteipan, Fund Communications Manager, supported in moderating the entire session.

The session started with Milton Lore, Team Leader of the Fund who welcomed the attendees to this session and the Learning Series at large. Milton summarised the Fund impact to date, noting that when evaluated pre-Covid, over 3 million households have better access to finance as a result of the work of the portfolio. He noted that the work is not done, and the more knowledge sharing and cross-pollination of learnings that occurs within the portfolio and beyond, the more that can be achieved.

Mikael then prompted the various panellists for their insights and experiences. As a result, stories were heard from the panellists on their original and evolving business models to date. The discussion in particular looked at the key drivers of pivots and how the business models of the four featured projects were changing. The impact of these business model changes on their individual business and its customers was discussed. It is to be noted that some business model changes discussed were occurring pre-Covid, but some were as a result of, or being accelerated because of the pandemic itself.

Particular aspects covered in the discussion included the need for pivots or changes when regulatory environments change. Other aspects included being placed to take advantage of new or related opportunities and networks formed to service the changing needs of farmers, or being able to overcome the new business challenges resulting from success/scale in serving rural communities. Further discussion focused on considering business model evolution when non-core functions taken on can no longer be handled internally due to the scale or cost implications.

Specific challenges and opportunities posed by the pandemic were also touched upon, such as how to reduce physical contact with farmers, but still provide customer service and maintain value and trust.

Approximately 50 individuals attended the event, and comprised of participants in the portfolio, Mastercard Foundation and Fund Management partners, and other actors or influencers involved in financial inclusion in Africa.

The session had active engagement from attendees who raised several questions for the panellists.

Links:

The Learning Series Session 2 webinar recording is available here: click here

In case you have any feedback on this or other learning sessions you can email learning@frp.org with your contact details and comments or queries.

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