Food choices are shaped by food systems, where the private sector is the main player and investor. In Africa, the food environment is dominated by smaller companies, especially in retail and distribution. Small and medium-sized input suppliers, off-takers, processors and distributors along the food value chain are key drivers of job creation and regional economic growth. For nearly a decade, GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods has focused on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the nutritious food value chain in developing profitable business models and sustainably bringing nutritious and safe foods to market.
The Marketplace’s two-pronged approach supports a broad network of stakeholders with information and knowledge, through the Community of Practice, while targeted technical and financial support is offered to promising, innovative enterprises through the Innovation Accelerator.
The Community of Practice creates a network of entrepreneurs, businesses, universities, regulatory bodies, non-governmental organisations, associations, and anyone else interested in knowing more about how businesses can contribute to improved supply of nutritious and safe foods in low-income environments. It convenes regularly for networking and capacity building events. Between meetings, the Community stays in touch through various communications channels including newsletters, Marketplace websites, a dedicated Facebook page, and a business directory.
The Innovation Accelerator supports investible, nutrition-enhancing business ideas within the agricultural value chain. After careful review, promising proposals are eligible for technical assistance to support business planning, product and business development. Selected companies become eligible to receive grant funding and technical assistance to support the implementation of the business plan.
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