SOCAP24: Going Deeper, Catalyzing Systems Change — Tracks and Curation Councils Released!

Sustainable Agriculture Innovations That Nurture Well-Being and Impact

SOCAP Global July 25, 2023

Meet These Social Entrepreneurs On Stage at SOCAP23

With sustainable agriculture products designed to benefit the well-being of people and the planet, social entrepreneurs are creating positive impact in communities around the world. In the SOCAP23 Entrepreneur Program, sustainable agriculture innovations create impact in numerous ways — including upcycling food waste into pet treats, producing ethically sourced coffee, and empowering women farmers through a tea business. 

With their business models and innovative solutions for sustainable agriculture, the SOCAP23 Entrepreneur Program cohort members in this article are tackling social and environmental challenges around the globe. In the months leading up to SOCAP23, these innovators participate in six months of virtual programming, learn from one another, and get access to investor connections. The entrepreneurs selected this year — meet them in our lookbook — will share their solutions to pressing social, cultural, and environmental issues at SOCAP23, when they will pitch their ideas on the main stage.

Below we share more about five entrepreneurs making a difference in sustainable agriculture. Register for SOCAP23 to hear more from them and others in the Entrepreneur Program bringing innovative solutions around the globe to scale.

Lilian Nakigozi, Women Smiles Uganda

Africa

Women Smiles Uganda supports women, teenage mothers, and other youths living in underserved communities across the African continent. Through vertical farming, Women Smiles Uganda aims to improve food security, nutritional status, and livelihoods, especially for people living in urban slums. With this approach, Women Smiles Uganda is working at the intersection of agricultural sustainability and women’s empowerment.

If you had to sum up the impact you create in the world in a one-sentence tagline, what would it be?

Ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture for all underserved communities in Africa.

What is your call to action for the SOCAP community?

Increase access to quality food for all children and equal opportunities for women to improve their household food security and livelihoods in underserved African communities.

What, specifically, are you looking for in terms of funding?

We are looking for $150,000 in grant capital to expand our operations from Kampala and Wakiso districts and scale to five more regions starting in Gulu-Northern Uganda, Mbale and Busia districts of Eastern Uganda, and later to Rwanda and Kenya.


Eric Adams, Dog & Whistle

North America

We turn byproducts into nutrient-dense ingredients and crave-worthy pet food. Recognizing that food waste is the largest driver of climate change, Dog & Whistle uses upcycling to tackle food waste head on. Every pound of upcycled product sold or used saves over 13 pounds of CO2 emissions and more than 400 gallons of water. Products are available through the Dog & Whistle flagship store and strategic partnerships. 

If you had to sum up the impact you create in the world in a one-sentence tagline, what would it be?

Upcycling for a better world: Nourishing pets and reducing our environmental impact.

What is your call to action for the SOCAP community?

Join us in promoting sustainable and equitable solutions for a more just and resilient world. Let’s work together to build a future that values people, the planet, and prosperity for all.

What, specifically, are you looking for in terms of funding?

Dog & Whistle is looking for $250,000 in grant funding to expand operations throughout the city of Las Vegas. We are looking to connect with philanthropic investors who share our vision for reducing food waste and promoting pet health and who are interested in supporting our mission through non-repayable funding.


Aaron Ebner, Café Origines (Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development)

Latin America and the Caribbean

We are helping Peru’s poorest farmers significantly increase their income through a farmer-led social enterprise. The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development works to help farmers improve coffee production and quality while also building income. Their coffee is marketed and sold to ethical markets, and profits are used to help more coffee farmers join the cooperative.

If you had to sum up the impact you create in the world in a one-sentence tagline, what would it be?

An ethical farmer-led coffee enterprise that has a quantifiable impact on family incomes and helps conserve critical ecosystems.

What is your call to action for the SOCAP community?

Radically innovate the specialty coffee market in Peru to benefit Indigenous culture and protect critical ecosystems.

What, specifically, are you looking for in terms of funding?

We are looking for $150,000 of grant funding to help 100 more families join the coffee cooperative and help improve coffee production and quality. We are looking for $400,000 of working capital, including $300,000 in short-term loans to purchase coffee and a $100,000 multi-year loan to hire necessary staff and invest in the social enterprise.


Abdulrhman Zaki Elhalafawy, Cupmena

Africa

Egypt-based Cupmena builds waste collection systems to collect spent coffee grounds, then maximizes its value by reusing it to develop and empower solutions for the agri-sector. It developed an efficient agri-solution using spent coffee grounds as the primary soil for cultivating mushrooms. Cupmena also is working on research and development of new mushroom strains to offer to the market and developing agri-solutions in the spent coffee ground sector.

If you had to sum up the impact you create in the world in a one-sentence tagline, what would it be?

Transforming waste into opportunity: Empowering the agri-sector with innovative solutions using spent coffee grounds.

What is your call to action for the SOCAP community?

Invest in innovative solutions that tackle climate change, poverty, inequality, and access to basic human rights like health care and education. 

What, specifically, are you looking for in terms of funding?

We are raising $250,000 in grants or equity for 18-24 months; we are about to break even and be a profitable social startup. Thus, we will scale up and expand our impact and operations in Egypt and the MENA region. 


Ashley Speyer, Kazi Yetu Ltd

Africa

Kazi Yetu (“our work” in Swahili) targets local and export markets for agricultural products, especially to create jobs for women and improve the livelihood of farmers. Kazi Yetu blends, packs, and labels finished goods and promotes its tea locally and internationally. By working directly with farmers through a farm-hub model, the enterprise aims to improve quality, quantity, and value addition at the farm level. 

If you had to sum up the impact you create in the world in a one-sentence tagline, what would it be?

Empowering women workers and farmers in Tanzania, one teacup at a time.

What is your call to action for the SOCAP community?

Increase inclusive economic growth in agriculture in Africa.

What, specifically, are you looking for in terms of funding?

$1.2 million in a blend of debt and equity for market expansion in the U.S., working capital, product development, and supply chain strengthening in Tanzania.

Agriculture / Climate Action
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