Shambapro: Transforming Agricultural Finance for African Farmers
11 June 2024

Shambapro, founded by Kelvin Odoobo, is an innovative startup that aims to transform access to finance for smallholder farmers. The four-person team, including Eric King’oo as Tech Lead, Joseph Kitonga as Full Stack Software Engineer and Alphonsia Mukagatera as Finance and Admin Lead, is dedicated to solving critical problems in the agricultural sector. 

Shambapro was born out of the observation of how small farmers, despite their expertise, are unable to access financing because of perceived risks from financial institutions: “Banks fear risks related to weather, markets and the high cost of servicing loans to smallholder farmers” – affirms the founder. 

In addition, the lack of reliable farm performance records and the lack of agricultural expertise in banks further complicate access to finance. Shambapro aims to mitigate these risks by helping farmers build sustainable relationships with buyers, lenders, and suppliers.

In Rwanda, entrepreneurs face significant obstacles: “Entrepreneurship compared to employment traditionally in Africa is not a wise career path normally and there is a lot of social stigmas towards attempting to solve great challenges.” Additionally, Kelvin highlights a major daily challenge: “The cost of keeping the lights on in the startup before we reach revenue, access financing, or break even on the current product is one of the major daily challenges.

Despite these hurdles, Kelvin’s entrepreneurial ambition for Shambapro is to create an ecosystem in which various stakeholders in the agricultural sector can provide services to smallholder farmers in a structured, pre-negotiated, and affordable way. “I imagine an ecosystem into which different stakeholders in the agriculture space like financiers, off-takers, input and service providers, insurers, governments, etc. can plug in to provide services to small farm businesses in a structured, pre-negotiated, and affordable way for all users involved.” The next step for Shambapro, planned for June 2024, is to generate revenue, create partnerships, and gain other forms of traction: “In ten years, I see Shambapro as a leading agri-fintech in Africa.” 

In June Shambapro will be one of the startups that will join us in Italy for the final steps of “Next Generation Africa program” that he defines as “highly personalized and supportive”. He shares: “I have participated in several similar programs before. This program stands out for the high level of personalization of support, mentorship and advisory services to the startup and even to the founders individually.”

As the Startup Africa Roadtrip team, we want to live up to those expectations: we are ready to repeat the experience and generate value for Shambapro in Italy as well, during the roadshow we are organizing meetings with potential business partners and investors and learning sessions with the Italian startup ecosystem.

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