LadyAgri Impact Investment Hub is trying to transform the future of agri-business by empowering women-led projects and investments. Through initiatives aimed to support agri-entrepreneurs in Africa and Small Island Developing States, LadyAgri brings together women entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, philanthropists, and donors.
“When you invest in women, you get triple or more of the impact,” Hilary Barry, Secretary General of LadyAgri, tells Food Tank. “When a project is finished, more likely than not, if it’s women driven a project it will still continue even after external funding has come to a close”
Barry founded LadyAgri alongside Aida Axelson Bakri and Ayélé Sikavi Gabiam. Together, they have created a team of 25 individuals from around the world.
LadyAgri is built on three pillars: technical assistance; access to agri-finance; and access to markets, equipment, and technology. By providing technical capacity building, LadyAgri hopes to support women at all phases of their growth cycle. They train women agri-entrepreneurs to source responsibly and sustainably, confront unprecedented challenges such as the climate crisis, boost local production, and meet market demands.
LadyAgri’s finance focused pillar aims to connect women in agri-business to the finance community. Their team works with international financial service providers to bridge public and private investments, while also prioritizing social responsibility and the interests of the agri-businesses.
The final pillar facilitates business-to-business (B2B) partnerships with agri-business buyers and suppliers of agricultural technical equipment. LadyAgri works with private companies wishing to increase their gender-focus and impact, and provides government and public relations support.
Gabiam believes LadyAgri’s three pillars have created an ecosystem of support for women entrepreneurs.
“When we enter a country we are creating a think tank for all of the parties, we are dealing with the government, the bank, women led businesses, and research institutes,” Gabiam, Director of Partnerships at LadyAgri, tells Food Tank.
LadyAgri is actively managing programs, events, and partnerships across 17 countries. According to LadyAgri’s 2022 Annual Report, the organization represents nearly 132,000 small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) employees, cooperative members, and women’s economic groups.
While statistics and partnerships confirm LadyAgri’s achievements since launching in 2018, Barry and Gabiam are most proud of how the organization has broken down existing business and gender silos.
“Putting women and agriculture, trade, and investment all in the same sentence… I see that as a success for what we have done in just five years,” says Barry.
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Photo Courtesy of LadyAgri