Kampala-based regenerative business builder, Rootical, has announced that it has successfully raised €350,000 (1.4 billion shillings) in funding, led by The DOEN Foundation and followed by The French Embassy in Uganda, and Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development.
They are currently recruiting future founders.The startup studio is working to power Ugandan entrepreneurs to build and own their regenerative agri-food companies.
Profitable, scalable and impactful enterprises designed to accelerate the transition to a more fair and regenerative food system. With a structured venture-building process, Rootical will guide future founders to build solutions that address key challenges and opportunities in the food system – with access to experts, mentors, investors and an early-stage investment of 20-40 million UGX for each of the selected businesses that will be co-founded at the start of 2024.
Rootical is a collaboration between SHONA and Fresh Ventures. SHONA is an experienced East African business development organisation focused on good business since 2013. Fresh Ventures has run a similar regenerative studio in the European context from 2021 onwards. Rootical co-founder and Managing Director, Hannes Van den Eeckhout, has extensive experience in food systems, business development, and agroecological entrepreneurship in Peru, Europe and East Africa.
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“Smallholder farmers need inputs, training, market access and other solutions to transition to regenerative agriculture. As a startup studio we are in the business of building businesses that can provide these products and services to accelerate that transition,” said Isaac Muhofa, venture builder at Rootical.
Rootical works with a 3-step founder journey.
First, 40 selected talents will be trained to become change-makers in a 10-day intensive food system leadership course.
One of the results is a shared analysis and deep understanding of the key challenges & opportunities in the Ugandan food system.
Next, a selection of future founders will be invited into a 3-months systemic venture-building process, to identify, test and iterate on solutions that matter. With a human-centred design approach, they will develop commercially viable and regenerative business models to make those solutions work.
Finally, selected businesses will be co-founded in the studio with further venture builder support and 20-40 million UGX of investment each to build a team and work towards serving their first paying customers.“We are thrilled to have the support of the DOEN Foundation, Biovision and the French Embassy in Uganda as we work to redesign and regenerate the Ugandan food system, one startup at a time.
Our goal is to grow and scale businesses that make regenerative farming and food accessible to all Ugandans. To accelerate the transition to a healthier and regenerative food system with farmers and consumers all together.” said Hannes Van den Eeckhout, Rootical’s Founder.
“We are now gathering the best potential founders and food system change-makers in Uganda – to train and equip them with knowledge, tools and access to networks of experts and investors, to launch their businesses in early 2024. Do you want to become a Rootical founder and own your agri-food business? Apply now via www.rootical.org,” emphasised Rootical’s Talent Manager, Faridah Nalunkuuma.
Rootical is looking for three types of future founders.
First, people that have 10+ years of corporate experience with a national consumer brand, and that are now ready to venture into building a food business of their own. Second, risk-taking entrepreneurs that have started an agri-food business before, which had to close shop after some years or didn’t grow as expected.
These failing-forward entrepreneurs are eager to go at it again. Third, high-potential graduates, with the energy and dream of building a food system-shaking business, who would love the opportunity to do so within the framework that Rootical provides.
“To achieve change in the food system, agroecological entrepreneurship must thrive and for this, they need supporting facilities. Such as business development organisations like Rootical and SHONA. It is often difficult to find funding for these facilities. We appreciate how Rootical can ignite change in Uganda’s food system,” Maarten Derksen from the DOEN Foundation.