Monday marked the beginning of the Global Innovation through Science & Technology program running out of 1871 through the U.S. Department of State and CRDF Global. The program, taking place from June 9th to June 17th, brings 12 startups from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia to 1871, where they will participate in educational events and mentorship sessions aimed at helping them grow their businesses.
We will be introducing the entrepreneurs over the course of the program, so stay tuned to learn about these incredible people and their businesses. Let’s meet one of the entrepreneurs involved:
Alex Mwaura Muriu
Alex Mwaura Muriu’s newest venture, Farmspace Africa, strives to address the issue of food shortages in Africa, which exist despite the fact that 70% of the continent’s employment comes from agriculture. Farmers across the region currently struggle to expand their businesses due to a lack of funding. Farmspace Africa aims to fill this funding void and help boost the agricultural industry in Africa.
Farmspace Africa is a mobile application where urban middle- to upper-class individuals, investment groups, and other investors can provide crowd-sourced loans and investments to small agricultural businesses and farmers. The mobile platform allows the service to be widely accessible to farmers and investors alike, while its crowd funding nature is also intended to dilute risk. Alex, 27, hopes this brand of microfinance will propel Africa’s economies into a future of prosperity.
Growing up in Kenya, Alex draws inspiration from his mother, a small business owner who has been working and raising her children for 30 years. He says her perseverance and courage to venture into unknown territories motivates him. He has founded, and is currently running, two other tech startups.
Farmspace Africa received an Honorable Mention Award at GIST Tech-I 2013, during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia. When asked to describe his experience with GIST, Alex said: “One word: ‘Amazing.’ [Our mentor] Kia Davis is widely read and has greatly helped us refocus our efforts on the right things. The GIST Tech Connects have also been quite useful in helping us maneuver these murky startup waters.”