Mame Diarra Sarr is one of the winners of the seed-fund, and she developed an efficient way of producing organic strawberries locally in Senegal at an affordable cost.
Mame Diarra Sarr is one of the winners of the seed-fund, and she developed an efficient way of producing organic strawberries locally in Senegal at an affordable cost.

Five Senegalese innovators have been selected to receive USD$2,000 (roughly UGX7,491,700) seed-funding from the Senegal Start-Up Accelerator—to kick-start their business. In addition, they also received six months of business incubation. The winners on the other hand stand a chance to secure additional funding upon completion of the program.

The Senegal Start-Up Accelerator, run by Kosmos Innovation Center and Reach for Change, has been looking for young Senegalese entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that could tackle the challenges facing the agriculture sector through technology to join its program for the last two months.

The accelerator is designed to support innovators in the fishing and agricultural sectors to develop their commercial solutions and maximize their impact, helping them to navigate the early stages of business growth.

Mamadou Mar Faye, External Affairs and CSR Manager, Kosmos Energy, in a press statement, said—through the accelerator program, they’re delighted to do their part to ensure young, promising entrepreneurs have the skills and support needed to help turn their innovative business ideas into reality.

Over the course of six months, the program will provide the winners with intensive and expert individual and group training, organized visits to established businesses for market research and professional mentoring.

“Each winner will be guided through the process of developing a product that is ready for market and meets a real market need, contributing to the creation of a healthy and competitive agricultural sector in Senegal,” said Mamadou.

The winners of the Senegal Start-Up Accelerator, from left to right: Ailou Diallo, Mouhamadou Lamine Kébé, Mame Diarra Sarr, Arfang Mafoudji Sonko and Abdourahmane Diop.
The winners of the Senegal Start-Up Accelerator, from left to right: Ailou Diallo, Mouhamadou Lamine Kébé, Mame Diarra Sarr, Arfang Mafoudji Sonko and Abdourahmane Diop.

Winning the seed-fund, the winners successfully completed an extensive screening process, including interviews and background checks, an assessment panel and an intensive two day bootcamp. The bootcamp culminated in a pitch before a jury panel with judges from Reach for Change, Kosmos Energy, and prominent experts from the agricultural and fishing industries in Senegal.

The Winners

1. Mouhamadou Lamine Kebe, Tool Bi
Designed an innovation that works to facilitate irrigation with an electronic innovation and improve agricultural yields.

2. Mame Diarra Sarr, Fraisen/Waalu Ma Aagri
Developed an efficient way of producing organic strawberries locally in Senegal at an affordable cost.

3. Abdourahmane Diop, Jappandil
Developed a platform that connects farmers to qualified agricultural experts, service providers and materials needed to improve farming practices and access the latest innovations.

4. Aliou Diallo, Sigle:Senphytomed Suarl
Working to improve access to herbal products and natural remedies while reinvesting in the conservation of medicinal plants.

5. Arfang Mafoudji Sonko, GIE Senbioagro Corporation
His innovation works to reduce food waste while creating employment and transforming excess yields into market-ready products.

Notably, SudaPay a Civic Tech startup that allows municipalities to drive higher revenues by digitizing the collection of local taxes and financially including merchants—will be representing Senegal at the Seedstar Global Competition in Switzerland in April this year.