As the year winds to a close, there is no better time to reflect on the moments that have made the most impact on our journey to achieving global food security.
Here are some of the highlights:
By year-end 2017, we had outgrown our office space at Robert Nebolisa, Igbo-Efon Lekki, and seeing the pace at which our staff numbers were growing, our first big step in 2018 was moving to a new office at Akiogun Street, Oniru Road, Lekki Phase. We designed this space to reflect our corporate culture and encourage every member of our team to be productive all day long.
We also opened a new office at the Civic Innovation Centre in Abuja.
Fancy some pictures of our new space? Techpoint did a full feature on us that you can read here.
Next came the big announcement that we were one of the 15 startups selected from Africa to be part of the 2017 cohort of the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund from GSMA.
The Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund is one of the three Innovation Funds run by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) and our selection meant that we were awarded a grant worth $325,000. This grant provided us the opportunity to scale our impact based initiatives to more farmers across Nigeria.
Fostering productive partnerships with other companies has been instrumental to our operations this year. Some of the companies we’ve partnered with include:
Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited
Peakthrust Insurance Brokers
AFEX commodities exchange
Guaranty Trust Bank
Stanbic IBTC Bank
First City Monument Bank
Paystack Payments Limited
We received a lot of media attention this year both locally and internationally. Some of the more notable mentions are listed below:
Disrupt Africa – Startups among finalists for AppsAfrica Innovation Awards
BBC World Service – Turning Subsistence Farming into an Investment Opportunity
Fans and Followers
Our online following grew in leaps and bounds. Not only did we grow to over 220,000 followers across our social media channels, mobile app users grew to over 70,000 while subscribers on the Farmcrowdy platform increased to over 71,000.
These are people from all around the world who are committed to the Farmcrowdy mission of empowering farmers and have now become ambassadors who share our message of achieving global food security with their friends, family, and colleagues.
As more people joined us this year in different capacities, we couldn’t be more proud of our corporate culture and the amazing team that has made it easy to achieve the vision that we set for ourselves.
Two members of our team (shout out to Bee and Cath) went from engaged to married, we threw our first baby shower for another member of the team (hey Mama T.) and welcomed her beautiful princess to the world, all in this year!
Our first ever Farmcrowdy Talent Show unleashed our creative geniuses but it was also a time to relax, and have fun.
We’ve lost count of the number of cakes we ate this year as we celebrated each and every member of our team on their birthdays.
We can honestly say that 2018 was a year that we truly lived our Core Values (see below) and we are taking this energy into the new year.
Events and Awards
If awards were handed out to startups that participated in most events for the year, we would no doubt emerge the winner. We were invited for quite a number of Agriculture, startup and business events this year and we tried to honour as many invites as we could.
We also won awards at some of these events. They include:
Agritech Company of the Year Award 2018 (Meet The Farmers Conference)
Best Agritech Solution (Apps Africa Innovation Awards 2018)
Digital Business Of The Year 2018 (Global African Business Awards)
National Productivity Order Of Merit (NPOM) Award 22nd May 2018 (National Productivity Centre)
Agro-Innovator of the Year (Nigeria Agriculture Awards)
Official Partner, 2018 Information Communication and Telecommunication Conference, and Exhibition (ICTEL EXPO)
Agritech Platform of the Year (Nigeria Technology Awards)
ITU Telecom World Awards 2018 Recognition of Excellence
Certificate of Attendance (Meet the Farmers Conference Lagos)
Certificate of Participation; eNigeria 2018 Conference, Exhibition and Awards (National Information Technology Development Agency; NITDA)
Africa Fintech Festival
Farmcrowdy partnered with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to host the agri-tech panel at the 2018 ICTEL Expo
Our CEO also won these awards:
2018 Top 5 Outstanding Entrepreneurs in Nigeria – The Young Entrepreneur Award and Summit
Tech Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 – Nigeria Technology Awards
Award of Excellence in Recognition of Exemplary Contribution to Enterprise and National Development – Upgrade Africa
Exceptional & Selfless Leader – Farmcrowdy
One of the most recurring requests we received in our first year was to open more farms for sponsorship, and that’s one area we improved on in our second year.
We opened more farm units and farm sponsorships increased considerably. We went from empowering over 2000 farmers in 2017 to more than 7000 farmers in 2018.
We also hosted Farmcrowdy farm sponsors to two farm tours this year, the first to our rice farms at Patigi Local Government Area in Kwara State and the second tour to some of our poultry farms in Ifo Local Government Area in Ogun State.
During these farm tours, sponsors were able to meet the entire Farmcrowdy team, farmers and the Technical Field Specialists. There were question and answer sessions with the CEO Onyeka Akumah and a networking session amongst the farm sponsors.
We expanded to three new states including Patigi in Kwara State, Kaduna, and Oyo to take our presence to a total of 10 states in Nigeria.
This year, we were included as one of the startups that would be visited by the Vice President of Nigeria in his Tech Tour. The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, along with the Minister of Science & Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency – NITDA, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, and other government officials and dignitaries visited our office to meet with the Farmcrowdy team.
Apparently, he’s a huge fan of the impact we are having on the agricultural and technology ecosystems in Nigeria and even referenced us in a speech he gave at the prestigious Harvard Business School titled, “Africa Is Rising,” where he cited Farmcrowdy as one of the startups pioneering groundbreaking innovation in agriculture.
We were also visited by Busola Dakolo, Professional photographer & Founder, Skills Kitchen & Integrated Services Ltd; we hosted 15 ladies from LEAD (Leadership Empowerment Achievement & Development) Camp. LEAD Camp is a signature program at Junior Achievement Nigeria.
In the latter part of the year, the Venture Capital Communities visited our office as a part of the Vilcap Ecosystem Tour. We had the pleasure of hosting 15 delegates from hubs across Africa including Senegal, Mali, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Togo, Ghana, Uganda, and South Africa.
More recently, the Media Crew at Meet The Tech Leaders visited us to take video shots and pictures of the office and the Team
Sponsors Meet and Greet
The first sponsors Meet and Greet for the year 2018 held at our Lagos office on the 18th of April. Journalists from the British Broadcasting Corporation, London were also present to interact and interview some of the team members as well as some of our existing sponsors for a feature programme airing on BBC.
Mid-year Staff Conference
Our mid-year staff conference was lit!
We had inspiring speakers like Steve Harris, Nigeria’s leading performance coach and Debo Omotunde who spoke to us on key subjects including belief systems, vision, and focus.
It was a time to reaffirm our commitment to the vision, strengthen team bonds and speak on specific strategies that would help us achieve our short and long-term goals and vision.
2nd Year Anniversary and National Digital Agriculture Day
Our 2nd year anniversary was on November 14 and we spent the day celebrating our farmers and farm sponsors, as well as welcoming friends and family to the office.
We are very proud of the progress that has been made in Agri Tech in Nigeria and we are confident that more progress will be recorded in the years following. To this end, we proposed and filed November 14 with the Ministry of Trademark and Patent as the ‘National Digital Agriculture Day.’
The National Digital Agriculture Day (NDAD) will now be marked annually on November 14 to signify the start and rapid growth of the digital agriculture revolution in Nigeria.
Overall, it’s been a great year. Our #HumansofFarmcrowdy series on Social Media highlighting members of the Farmcrowdy Team was well received by our followers from all around the world.
We are thankful for the incredible love and support from our investors, farmers, farm sponsors, fans and followers. We are grateful to every member of our team, both in-house and on-site. The farmers we work with have become a big part of our story and we are glad to have been able to work with them.
Thank you all and happy holidays!