Following the success of Boosting Women in Agriculture Pitch Night in Lilongwe in May, selected Southern Region female-led agribusinesses will have a lifetime opportunity to present their business plans to a renowned all-female jury and a room full of industry expert, whose winner is set to obtain a loan of up to K100 million.
It is being organised with funding from European Union (EU) in partnership with European Investment Bank (EIB), Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and the country’s two leading financial institutions, First Capital Bank and Ecobank.
Marques — in the company of EIB’s Dr. Marcus Schulte; First Capital Bank’s head of marketing, Twikale Chirwa and Ecobank’s head, commercial banking, Victoria Chanza, said “the women-led agriculture experts will pitch their business ideas and future plans on how to contribute to suitable agriculture sector development in Malawi as well as to employment generation in the sector”.
“The Pitch Night will be the culminating event following a series of business development and business management trainings that will take place ahead of event.
Marques — who is team leader for EIB Agriculture Finance Facility Malawi — added that the WomeninAg Pitch Night is part of an euro 25 million agricultural financing facility being managed by First Capital Bank and Ecobank, backed by the EU and EIB, as part of the broader Team Europe support for sustainable commercialization of smallholder farmers across Malawi and southern Africa.
In her remarks, Chanza said this agricultural financing facility resonates well with Ecobank’s product of ‘Elevate’ made specifically for women-focused businesses that provide products, services and tools to help such female entrepreneurs to succeed.
She said Elevate targets individual women businesses or 50%-led female companies, products made by women and now focuses on agribusiness value added chain.
“This is the second time for us to involved in the WomeninAg Pitch Night and those who will not win but presented well articulated business plans, will be encouraged to open accounts with Ecobank for strong investment partnership just like we did with the Lilongwe event,” she said.
Twikale Chirwa said First Capital Bank is proud to be associated with WomeninAg, saying Malawi’s economy if agro-driven and they are duty bound to help the sector develop.
“We have Makwacha product at First Capital Bank, which augurs well with the Pitch Night concept and we are looking forward to witness how the contestants will showcase the business ideas they will present ready for our support.”
He added that the Makwacha product “also offers technical and business development support” adding that the the rural masses are set to be reach out through their branches across the country.
A press statement from the organisers says the Boosting WomeninAg Pitch Night aims to enable soft skillsets, business acumen and strengthen value chain integration, which includes smallholder participation.
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