SBN Nourish Nigeria Challenge: NutriPitch 2023
Business models that accelerate access to healthy diets
The Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) is hosting the 2023 Edition of SBN's Annual pitch competition in partnership with FATE Foundation. FATE Foundation is the longest-running enterprise support organization with over 22 years of delivering pre-incubation, incubation, and accelerator programs.
The project is a Business Model Research project and is part of a larger program grant of EUR80m focussed on six African countries (Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Uganda)
The aim of this partnership is to identify innovative business models that are focused on accelerating low-income consumer's access to nutritious food while being profitable; that is, the approach that can enable a company to capture value (and thus be profitable) while still providing the food at a price the customers are able and willing to pay. In addition, the project will provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs in the nutrition space to strengthen their capacity and develop their business models leveraging on innovation to improve access to nutritious foods in Nigeria.
- Capacity Building on
- Business Model Development for targeting low-income consumers.
- Developing an Effective 1–3-year Growth Plan
- Innovative Marketing for increased awareness of nutritious foods
- Nutrition and Food Safety
- Food systems
- Investment Readiness
- Business Pitch Skills
- Product Development (disruptive technological innovations)
- One-on-one mentoring for 6 months
- Up to 10,000,000 Naira to be shared amongst the winners of the pitch competition. (Terms and Condition applies)
- Professional Financial Services for the winners of the Close out/ Showcase event. (Terms and Conditions apply)
- Must be a Nigerian citizen (male or female).
- Must be between the ages of 25 and 50 as of January 2024.
- Must be the Founder, Owner manager, or CEO of a growth-stage agribusiness. venture. (Only one applicant per business will be accepted).
- Should have their Agribusiness focused on Nutrition and Innovation.
- Should have a good business model that focuses on reaching low-income consumers.
- Should have a unique/innovative marketing strategy.
- Should have a minimum of three (3) full-time highly skilled staff in a managerial capacity (excluding part-time staff and low/semi-skilled staff).
- Must have their Agribusiness venture registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and be currently operating and generating income.
- Must be available to participate FULL-TIME in the one-week boot camp and ALL other activities required throughout the program.
The challenge seeks business models that address any of these thematic areas.
This challenge welcomes business models that address the challenges of innovative marketing of nutritious foods and increasing access to nutritious foods with an outcome of achieving profitability, food safety, and quality, as well as healthier diets for all.
Examples of solutions may include but are not limited to the following thematic areas:
Reaching lower-income consumers:
Business models that are designed to support and target the low-income market with the aim of increasing their access to nutritious foods.
Disruptive Technological Innovation:
Business models that promote the use of unique, innovative, and efficient technologies in the production, processing, and increasing accessibility of nutritious foods, with the aim of making nutritious foods accessible while keeping the product affordable and business profitable at the same time.
Innovative Marketing Campaigns: Business Models that, through exceptional marketing strategies, increase awareness and acceptability of nutritious foods in society.
One Week Pitch Readiness Bootcamp
GAP Advisory Sessions
Growth Plan Development
CEO Fireside Chat
Series of Workshops and Masterclass Sessions (see program highlights for details on this)
4 months Hand-holding Mentorship Community.
Access to our Alumni Community post-graduation
N 10,000,000 Naira to be shared amongst winners of the Pitch Competition
Lower-income populations often face challenges accessing affordable, desirable, safe, and nutritious food, contributing to poor diet quality and malnutrition. As the main source of food for much of this population, businesses can play a role in improving this. But to do so, they need to find ways to reach these consumers profitably, to ensure their own sustainability.
Based on a systematic review conducted by GAIN, this note offers guidance on what is known about business models that entrepreneurs can use to do this. However, pitch competition entrants should see this as potentially useful background information – they are not required to apply any of the techniques noted in their entries. Indeed, new, and innovative ideas are very welcome!
The general aspects of business models identified as essential for reaching lower-income consumers are product development and characteristics, branding and marketing, and distribution and retail.
Product characteristics. Companies seeking to reach lower-income consumers may choose to adapt existing products to meet lower-income consumers' needs, use similar products but sold in new ways, or create new products altogether. In doing this, they need to ensure acceptability—i.e., alignment of the product with consumer needs and preferences. It is also essential for product design to contribute to affordability—through reducing cost, increasing value, or matching customers’ variable cash flows. Costs can also include the time and effort of acquiring, preparing, and consuming food. To reduce costs, companies can use ingredients or materials that perform adequately at reduced cost and eliminate aspects of the product that do not add value for the consumer. However, cost reduction can only go so far: willingness to pay is foundational for a successful business model. To increase value for money, companies can include value-adding features (such as convenient preparation) and offer high quality, including with certifications where relevant, to lower the perceived risk. To match customers’ variable cash flows, firms can offer products in affordable sizes or facilitate access to credit or subscriptions, as relevant.
Branding and marketing are often essential for successfully selling products, needed to ensure awareness and to increase perceived value. Brand recognition is also important for differentiation from competitors. Packaging and branding should be distinct, appealing, and communicate the value of the product. Given aspirational consumption, focusing on products as being ‘cheap’ or ‘good value’ may not be the best way to motivate lower-income consumers. Instead, marketing focused on quality, value, or alignment with social aspirations may be more successful. Promoting a product or brand among lower-income consumers often requires active cultivation and hands-on marketing. This can be particularly challenging as lower-income consumers may not be easily reached through conventional channels like television and radio and may instead require approaches like door-to-door sales or local sales agents.
Distribution and Retail. Accessibility depends on distribution to the areas where low-income consumers live, urban or rural. Distribution costs in these areas can be very high and must be managed carefully, particularly for perishable products requiring refrigeration or careful handling. As lower-income consumers often buy small volumes, distributing to the areas where they live may not be attractive for distributors. In urban areas, consumers may not be willing to travel far to access goods, making proximity essential. These challenges make it essential to develop distribution strategies that can reach rural and low-income urban areas. Indeed, weaknesses in distribution are among the most common reasons why businesses aiming to serve lower-income consumers fail. Technology can be used to make distribution more efficient.
Across each of these areas, any firm that wants to reach lower-income consumers should consider:
- Accessibility – the product is sold where consumers can easily get it.
- Acceptability – the product is accepted by the consumer, given their needs and preferences.
- Affordability – the product is sold at a price that aligns with consumers' purchasing power.
- Awareness – consumers are aware of the product and its benefits.
In addition to these general points, there are certain challenges with marketing nutritious foods, specifically. These include limited demand and awareness, lack of trust and issues with labeling, risk aversion, low willingness to pay, and challenges with ensuring frequent consumption. Firms will need to consider whether these apply to them and address them if so.
Some examples of specific business model features that firms have used to reach lower-income consumers with food products include cross-subsidization, increasing value through convenience, use of waste products and less desired parts, quality segmentation, cheaper ingredients, small sizes, selling in bulk, no or reusable packaging, distribution hubs, bespoke last-mile distribution networks, providing new support to existing retail/distribution networks, and direct sales in underprivileged areas. None of these features alone can ensure success with either reaching lower-income consumers or doing so in a financially viable way: each feature needs to be supported by the other aspects of a solid business model.
Start of Programme: The Agribusiness Accelerator Programme will commence with induction and an intensive one-week accelerator boot camp. A detailed GAP Analysis will follow this to help each entrepreneur develop an individual growth plan and tailored roadmap that addresses the growth needs of the business to scale. This boot camp ends with a mock pitch competition (dry run).
Program Sessions: The sessions includes capacity building through workshops, coaching sessions, peer learning and feedback, one-to-one mentoring, individual growth support for each participating entrepreneur and business. Entrepreneurs will have opportunities to meet and interact with several entities, including agribusiness experts, experienced entrepreneurs, senior level professionals, advisors, mentors, partners and investors. Finally, the pitch competition will hold during the on going sessions. This will provide a platform for the entrepreneurs to present their innovative and nutrition focused solutions and and pitch to to key funding partners
End of Programme: The program will close out with the official graduation and presentation of certificates at the FATE Annual Celebration in December 2024.
What do I need for my application?
- Complete the online Application Form
- Be prepared and available for your interview session (virtually)
- You will be required to present supporting documents if shortlisted.
Can I make changes to my application after submitting it, or can I make a fresh one instead?
No, once you have submitted it, it is final, and you cannot edit the application. Also, multiple entries will be disqualified. So, we encourage you to verify your application carefully before submitting it.
How will I know if my application is accepted for participation in the program?
Shortlisted candidates will be contacted via email.
Will applicants receive personal feedback about their application?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide personalized feedback on your application.
Where should I send my questions?
If you have any questions not included in this section, please email [email protected] with “Agribusiness Accelerator Enquiry” as the Subject or call 0813-187-8271.
Application is open till 11:59pm WAT on Sunday, December 3rd, 2023.
Click on the ‘’Apply here’’ button.
Create an account on the SOAR Platform.
Verify your email using the link sent to your mail and start your application.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
You can reach out to [email protected] for help.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- PRIZE - N 10,000,000 Grant
- The top three winners from the pitch competition will be awarded the grant.
- The second runner-up - N 1,000,000
- First runner-up - N 2,000,000
- Winner - N 3,000,000
- N 5,000,000 will be shared equally amongst two participants whose pitch demonstrates the need for equipment and/or technical assistance.
- The winners will receive the grants at the end of the program after satisfying the requirements for program completion.
2. PROFESSIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES
- At the end of the program in April, there will be a Program Close-Out event and Showcase.
- The top three winners at this Close-Out event (excluding the winners of the pitch competition) will be awarded a free Financial advisory service.
- Winners will be required to choose one of the following areas where they will need help;
- Bookkeeping and Accounting
- Tax Valuation
- Business Valuation
The winners will receive the services at the end of the program after satisfying the requirements for program completion.
NB: The selection of winners is entirely at the Judges' discretion and cannot be overturned.
- The grant amount per person is solely by the organizers and is not subject to appeal."
Frequently Asked Question
Application is open till 11:59 pm WAT on Sunday, 03-Dec-2023
. Applications must be submitted before the deadline to be accepted.
Yes. All eligible applications will be accepted and evaluated regardless of your location in Nigeria. Finalists will be selected based on merit.
No. The program supports only for-profit and social-enterprise agribusinesses.
There is no fee to apply or participate in the Agribusiness Accelerator Programme
Only one application will be accepted per person, so we advise that you present your stronger business
Only businesses in the Agribusiness value chain (Input supply, crop/animal production, processing, packaging, logistics and distribution, trading & retailing, etc.) are eligible to apply.
Unfortunately, we will only consider registered businesses and request a copy of your CAC certificate if shortlisted.
No, only applicants 50 years old or younger as of November 2024, are eligible to apply.
Yes. Your company is eligible, but only one participant per business will be accepted into the program.
You will get a confirmation email upon successful application. Candidates who are shortlisted for the next stage will be contacted via email.