As humanity, we face dire consequences of our ongoing exploitation of the planet in the decades to come. It is our obligation to find, develop and scale solutions for those challenges utilizing the power of entrepreneurship, science and nature. But we cannot afford any longer to separate the world into different states of development. We are a diverse group of entrepreneurs from Africa and Europe and we see our contribution towards the change of the current trajectory in MOTHERLAND.
We believe that enabling communities to transition into self-sufficiency is a crucial element to become prospering in a regenerative and resilient way. Achieving self-sufficiency will ground the foundation for sustainable development towards a good future everywhere for everyone on planet earth.
We also believe in the imagination, problem-solving capabilities and the aim for scalable solutions of entrepreneurs. That’s why we started a series of online conferences in March 2020 together with +50 entrepreneurs from all over Africa. We consciously chose to not be in the driver seat, but we ensured that we worked in a structured, participatory way, and things kept momentum.
Our initial question was: Which challenges are worth solving by the use of technology to impact the lives of potentially a Billion people? To achieve such a stretched goal, we needed to identify a linchpin where we would be able to unleash enough momentum to get such a large flywheel going. To identify such a magnifying topic, we facilitated a structured process to develop identified areas of massive impact and reduced the list of challenges together with the participants.
Later on, we ran a survey (n=53) to validate our short list of challenges in the food and agriculture space. As a result, we decided to focus on the post-harvest value chain because we learned that a change in agriculture will be strongly driven by the local demand for healthy, nutritious, and secure foods. But as long we see market inefficiencies and information asymmetries prevail, we won’t see a development in the agriculture space to serve the local demand for food consumption and refinement either. So, by solving post-harvest problems we believe that also a sustainable development in the agricultural space will be kickstarted.
While our focus during the current phase of MOTHERLAND is on local drivers towards transitioning communities into self-sufficiency and self-reliance, the meta-objective of MOTHERLAND lies in defining a framework for building solutions from the bottom up.
Once we have successfully created positive impact with our current trajectory, we will scale the effort into different regions of the world as well as other verticals.
Our research of activities in this space has shown that hundreds of small and often local startups and initiatives are exactly trying to tackle this market failure. This proves our hypothesis strongly! But instead of building an own startup in that space we believe we have to empower those local startups and initiatives by making technology, experiences, and best practices accessible to scale all these efforts in a decentralized way.
To validate and strengthen this hypothesis we are currently building up a database of 500 such initiatives in Africa. This database will be the foundation for our next step to analyze the startups in depth to understand their offering, technical requirements and challenges. We will execute this next step together with our African partners and master students from ESCP. This step will be finished in Q1 2021.
This will mark the starting point for concrete action in filling the functional gaps with new entrepreneurial solutions and filling regional gaps by supporting existing solutions in their scaling.
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