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DFID awards Edinburgh University £10.8m to grow Africa agri-tech

by AprilSix Proof

Businesses across ten Africa countries will receive business coaching

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has awarded a University of Edinburgh research group £10.8 million to help make agricultural technology available across ten African countries.

The Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael announced this week that the University subsidiary Research Into Results (RIR), will work with small businesses in countries across East and Southern Africa to offer the latest research and innovation. The role of RIR will be to coach businesses to help find private investment.

Dr Andy Frost, Director of Research Into Results, said: “The SEED Programme will develop technology-driven social enterprises whose products and services increase the profitability of smallholder farmers.

“There is a substantial unmet need for the ambitious social enterprises in the Africa. Institutions, NGOs and local entrepreneurs lack the skills and experience to build large-scale investible businesses; on the other side, venture capital in the region lacks quality investment deal flow.

“SEED is an ambitious programme, it aims to be a game-changer, to create viable social enterprises for the benefit of smallholder farmers and by so doing provide robust evidence on the effectiveness of social enterprises as a vehicle to get past research investment into use, at scale.”

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