GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Program for African AgriTech and FoodTech Startups

Deadline: 31 August 2021
Open to:
African AgriTech and FoodTech Startups
Benefits: services, advisory, coaching sessions, events and more


Applications are open for the GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Program 2022. ‘Scaling Digital Agriculture Innovations through Startups’ (SAIS) is a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The overall goal of the project is to support African startups in scaling their digital innovations; these innovations should enable users in the agriculture or food sectors to increase their income. Up to 18 startups are selected annually to participate in a nine-month Investment Readiness Program fully funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The aim of the Investment Readiness Program is to support more African startups in improving their business models, gaining access to investors and business partners, and achieving greater impact. Seven output indicators (also called investment readiness criteria or investment readiness output indicators) have been defined to assess and monitor the investment readiness level of selected startups.


  • Open to African AgriTech and FoodTech Startups;
  • SAIS is looking for innovative startups that are about to scale rapidly and apply digital solutions to the agriculture and food sector which enable their users to improve their income;
  • In addition, digital products or services that help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 are a plus and will be taken into special consideration.

Selection Criteria

Mandatory Criteria

  • Legal representation
    • The startup must be registered and operating in at least one African country.
    • A certification of incorporation will be a prerequisite.
  • Team
    • The startup must have a team of at least two people.
    • The management team must be highly motivated and work at the business ideally full-time.
  • Digital product
    • The startup must have a viable digital product with a clear positive impact on its users’ income.
    • The product must be aligned with one of the digital technologies listed below.
  • Access to market and traction
    • The startup must have launched its digital product at least six months prior to the application period.
    • The startups provide evidence of good traction (customer base, first revenues)

Competitive Criteria

  • Business model: The startup should have an easily understandable and very convincing business model (clear problem statement, clear digital solution, clear customer segment and clear revenues stream).
  • Customer data: The startup should have access to customer data via its digital solution (number of customers and gender); if this is not the case, building customer databases will be one of the first development measures if the startup is selected for the IRP.
  • Level of innovation: Innovative and disruptive solutions will be regarded as an asset. Solutions that help mitigate the post impact of Covid-19 will be taken into special consideration.


The Investment Readiness program includes:

  • Weekly advisory and coaching sessions: Weekly advisory and coaching sessions held virtually during which strategies and measures for rapid growth and scaling, product improvement and innovation, leadership and business management operations are developed and implemented with the startups.
  • Additional services: Based on the startup’s commitment, access to additional services to optimize certain segments (e.g. legal advice, marketing, coding, product optimization, etc.) of the startups.
  • Hub integration: Integration of the selected startups in one of our partner hubs in their home country in order to facilitate their visibility and establish contact with relevant actors in the local startup scene.
  • Access to GIZ-SAIS network: Access to investors and business partners from the GIZ-SAIS network.
  • Extended services: Add-on services for female entrepreneurs.
  • Meet-up events: Up to three in-person meet-up events. Depending on the COVID-19 situation over the course of 2022, it may be possible to shift the in-person meet-ups to online events. At the moment the plan is to start the IRP with a kick-off workshop in Capetown, in January 2022 (CW4), followed by a virtual mid-term check-in June 2022; a demo-day with investors and business partners will conclude the program in September 2022.

How to apply?

Application deadline is August 31, 2021. All submissions must be complete on or before this date.

For more information, please visit the official website.