The phase 2 competition of the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme participants echoed a common purpose: to use Mozambique’s abundant and underutilised natural resources to better the wellbeing of their communities.
One such participant is Iolanda Almeida who impressed the judges and investor panel that included the CEO of Gapi - Sociedade de Investimento, Dr Francisco Antonio Souto, Rafael Nzucule from Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and Alexandre Daniel from Banco Comercial e de Investimentos (BCI).
Almeida was not one to miss the FemBioBiz opportunity to accelerate her coffee producing company; she took this year’s competition to an ‘innovative level’ by pitching via Skype video call.
Through her company, Inma Limitada, she is determined to support Ibo’s local coffee producers on the island for social inclusion and sustainable development. Endemic to Mozambique’s coastal forest, Ibo coffee, once brewed, develops intense herbal flavours (mainly laurel, but also mint, eucalyptus and liquorice), the distinguishing feature of this unique and interesting product. The coffee is appreciated for its low caffeine level (less than half of arabica and a quarter of robusta coffee) which many value.
The company has two major products: the Coffee Route and Cappuccino, based on the transfer of appropriate production technologies to local producers. By reigniting Mozambique’s local coffee industry, Almeida believes that it will encourage smallholder coffee farmers to grow their own cherries and possibly grow the country’s economy. She currently sells her coffee to local tourism and accommodation establishments, as well as other interested parties who make their purchases by order.
Almeida was selected as a finalist from Mozambique alongside Clara Penicela, who wants to add value to cassava, Sunera Zulficar Nurmomade, who also hopes to address the high rate of malnutrition through combining germinated grain millet and leguminous soybean, and Maria Sibia’s company which produces crab eggs and sells agricultural equipment.
The four will represent their country at the annual SA Innovation Summit to be held in September in Cape Town.
Almeida and Sibia each received prizes of 40 000 meticais, offered by Banco Comercial de Investimentos - BCI. Furthermore, the CEO of Gapi offered the three winners’ outstanding companies cash grants of 250 000, 150 000 and 150 000 meticais respectively.
FemBioBiz is a programme initiated by NEPAD SANBio, supported by the Finnish - Southern African Partnership Programme, BioFISA II.