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Scaling digital
Agriculture Innovations
through Start-ups (SAIS)


We are happy to announce the launch of our first SAIS Female Founder Award 2024!

This award will be recognizing and promoting exceptional African female entrepreneurs with an innovative AgTech, FoodTech or ClimateTech business who have achieved success in their fields, create social impact and encourage other women to start or grow their own businesses.
The winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be determinated and announced on stage at the VivaTech in Paris on May 22nd-25th 2024. Stay tuned for more information on the finalists!

Apply here for the award and let your success story inspire others.

Our online application is online until February 29th 2024 ????


Who we are:

We are a company development and accelerator programme for African tech start-ups in the agriculture, food, and livestock sectors. Start-ups and their solutions are a central pathway to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We offer annual Investment Readiness Programmes (IRPs) in English, French, and for the livestock sector. Our goal is to put you in a position to raise capital for growth. To do so, we provide you with access to a growing network of experts, mentors as well as investors and business partners.

We have worked with close to 65 start-ups from more than 21 countries from Africa. About 65% of the start-ups we supported were able to raise follow-on funding of more than 40m USD in total after joining our programme.

SAIS stands for “Scaling digital Agriculture Innovations through Start-ups” and is a project implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation/Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is co-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.


What we offer:

We offer three tailor-made Investment Readiness Programs (IRPs). One for English-speaking start-ups from Africa, one for French-speaking start-ups from Africa (PPI) and one exclusively for livestock start-ups from Africa.
In each IRP you will get tailor-made support. We do not believe in one-size-fits-all solutions and go the extra mile to structure the support we can offer to your individual needs and growth plans.
You will get access to a wide range of services with a virtual value of about 50k EUR. These services are:

  • Access to our network of experts and mentors for individual coaching sessions;
  • Additional services to improve a specified area of your start-up or business model (legal, marketing, hardware etc.);
  • Dedicated tech support to strengthen your digital product and backbone and improve your data analytics;
  • Integration into a local hub to broaden your network and contacts for a duration of six months;
  • The opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and exchange with other founders as well as with our growing group of alumni;
  • Access to web-based training modules covering core topics of start-up management and growth;
  • Access to the broad network of partners and institutions of GIZ;
  • Access to the Female Leader Circle, especially for female founders and female management staff.

A dedicated SAIS team member, the so called “SAIS navigator”, will guide you through the programme. Upon admission, together with your navigator you will design a tailor-made development plan to specify what you want to achieve with our support and how to reach this.


SAIS in Numbers

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Who can apply?

To be eligible for the SAIS Investment Readiness Programme,
you must meet the following conditions:

Legal form


You must be registered and operate in Africa

You must provide a certificate of registration.

Team (founders)


You must have a founding team of at least two people who work ideally full time for the start-up

Your founding and management team should have entrepreneurial and technical experience in their area of operation

Digital product /service


You must have a viable digital product that positively impacts the incomes of its customers

Your product must have a positive impact on the African AgTech, FoodTech or livestock sector (vertical sectors that have an influence can be accepted like eCommerce, FinTech, Logistics, EdTech etc)

Market access and traction


You must have launched its digital product at least six months before the application period

Your start-ups must provide evidence of traction (customer base, first revenue)

Business model


Your start-up should have an easily understandable and convincing business model (clear statement of the problem, clear digital solution, clear customer segment, and clear revenue stream)

Add-ons (But not musts)


Your team consists also or completely of women founders or women in high management positions

You or one of your founding team member has an IT background

You and your founding team has member have previous start-up experience

With your product you target a vulnerable group of customers


What our

participants are



The Team

Michel Bernhardt

Michel Bernhardt
Team Lead SAIS

Michel Bernhardt 2

Stephanie Wiedner
Advisor Start-up Sourcing & SAIS IRP

Caspar Olenhusen 1

Caspar Olenhusen
Advisor Livestock IRP

Jacques Nyembe

Jaques Rene Nyembe
Advisor francophone IRP

Tina Lochmann

Tina Lochmann
Advisor SAIS IRP


Fares Seaidi
Advisor for Partnerships and Investor Relations

Phillip Tettenborn

Phillip Tettenborn
Advisor Investor Relations & Community


Shalindri Perera
Programme Component Manager


Luca Zimmermann
Junior Advisor Livestock IRP


Annalena Fuchs
Advisor Start-Up Sourcing


Marion Baak
Admin & Finance


Stefania Spalletta
Office Management


Ornella Escalada Corsi
Advisor IRP


Pegah Jamali
Advisor M+E