Agripreneurship 101 – 10 Questions You Need to Ask When You Build an Agribusiness – Part 1

Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about that perfect idea that you just cannot wait to turn into a business? In your mind you can see beautiful rows of fresh vegetables waiting for the harvest. In your imagination people are phoning you all day to collaborate on your new digital food delivery app. You even have visions of the sexy profits rolling in on a tide of happy customers.

In reality, business is work.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the entire process. To help you along, we have compiled a list of ten questions. In Part 1 we look at the 5 questions you need to answer to be eligible to enter the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition. This article will help you to go from idea to a legal business. In Part 2 we dig deeper into question you need to answer to run, grow, and scale your agribusiness in the real world.

As a quick reminder, to be eligible to enter the competition, your venture must:

  • have its headquarters in one of the 54 countries of the African Union, and be officially registered by 1 August 2020
  • be designed to be financially sustainable, either as a for-profit business or a market-based social venture
  • generate revenue (at least in part) and aim for non-donor-based sustainability
  • play a role in the agri-food sector

The 10 questions

  1. Am I an entrepreneur?
  2. Do I have a great business Idea?
  3. Do I have a market and who can I ask to test if the idea will work?
  4. How thoroughly can I build my business on paper before I spend money?
  5. What do I need to start a legal business in my country?
  6. Where am I going the get the money?
  7. How can I develop my product or service to be coronavirus-proof?
  8. Who do I need on my team to do the things I cannot do?
  9. Where will I build my business?
  10. How can I make sales?

1. Am I an entrepreneur?

This is a loaded question because it also asks many other questions. Not least of which is, “Do I have the skills, the passion, and resources to be a success?”

Entrepreneurs look at the world differently. They see opportunities in chaos, and they continually work on their entrepreneurial mindset by reading, challenging themselves, and speaking to mentors.

Starting a new business is tough. When you think like an entrepreneur it does NOT mean you will make a success of your first business. But it does mean you already have the answer to the most important question: If I fail, will I give up, or will I learn from my mistakes and try again?

2. Do I have a great business Idea?

A great agri-food business idea begins with understanding that opportunities are everywhere in the value-chain. It’s not just about planting and growing food. It is also about turning waste into fungal-rich compost, and designing IoT smart farming systems that automate processes. It’s about food science and online ordering and food delivery systems. It’s even about turning human waste and kitchen food-scraps into cooking gas and liquid fertiliser.

At its core, a great business idea starts with solving a problem. The more people who have the problem, the more likely you are to succeed and grow your business. If you can solve a problem by following an important global trend,  like ensuring sustainability and reversing climate change, you have a winning idea!

3. Do I have a market and who can I ask to test if the idea will work?

Long before you register your business, make sure there is someone who needs what you want to sell. If you can build relationships with those people during you market research phase, you’ll get a head start! Market research also means looking for competitors and people who might make great collaborators.

Although the science of market research can lead to intense, multi-layered approaches, the bottom line is that you need to speak to a lot of people. Not your mom and your best friend. People who don’t know you will be much more honest.

If you are designing a new cassava processing unit, speak to cassava farmers. Ask workers in a processing factory to tell you if they think your solution is a better than the one they are using. Get real input to make your idea great.

4. How thoroughly can I build my business on paper before I spend money?

Plan your business on paper before you spend any money. Draw your product. Map out your app interface. Design your smart farm and get the prices for every sensor, wire and computer you are going to need to run your actual business. Figure out how and where you are going to sell your products or services, and work out a budget for everything you will need to get up and running.

By creating a complete business plan, you will understand what you NEED to do. Starting with what you WANT to do is a clear path to confusion. has spent years compiling “How to” guides for business plans. It’s a great place to start.

5. What do I need to start a legal business in my country?

If you like daydreaming about your perfect business, you probably have a catchy name and even a couple of ideas for your logo. Great! Now comes the complicated bit. There are lots of legal requirements to consider when you start a new business.

If your business will deal with a lot of paperwork on a continual basis, you can even consider bringing in a co-founder who is skilled in legal and accounting matters. Speaking to a mentor who has gone through the processes is a great idea. Here are some questions to start:

  1. What type of business will you register, and what is the process for registration in your country?
  2. Do you need special licenses, permits and zoning permission to run your business?
  3. Are there compliance considerations like yearly audits, health and sanitation inspections, and government guidelines that must be met?
  4. Should you patent, copyright or trademark your product designs and intellectual property?
  5. Tax.
  6. Which bank will be the best option for your accounts depending on the types of transaction you will do the most?

Congratulations! If you have gotten this far you only need to do one more thing to make your business eligible for the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize competition… Make some sales! Generate some revenue. Turn over some turnover!

Read part 2 here.

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