Another participating company in the New Business Challenge (NBC) was Farmerline, a Ghanaian social enterprise that provides innovative technology to transform millions of farmers into successful entrepreneurs. How was it for the company to participate in the NBC? JohnCarl Dunyo (Head of Product Innovation & Distribution) shares, ‘Farmerline is an organisation owned and built by young people. Our teams are enriched with a youthful vibe that is ambitious, fearless and relentless. We love to work with young people because of the energy they bring, and the agriculture sector is one of such sectors that are in need of a lot of zeal and contribution from young people to transform it for future generations’.
Both JohnCarl and Marika van Santvoort (Moving Cocoa Consultancy) worked together in the Netherlands and Ghana to give the NBC participants the right tools to solve their business case. The Farmerline business case focused on setting up an innovative, cost-effective and reliable distribution network for supply agents and farmers with warehousing. The business case was a yet-to-be solved issue for Farmerline, JohnCarl explains, ‘The New Business Challenge is a great initiative because students get to work on real-world problems and come up with practical and real solutions. These are not moot case studies, but issues that companies are working to resolve. This means that all participants can walk into the world of work with a lot of confidence because of the experience they have acquired’.
The young talents impressed both Marika and JohnCarl. Marika highlights the value of exchange within the teams, ‘it is a great opportunity for the Dutch students to go to Ghana and the Ghanaian students to be in The Netherlands. Working together in a team results in a partnership where people from a different cultural background learn to work together. That is a unique experience and something that prepares the students well for their future career.’ JohnCarl expresses the added value of teamwork too, ‘We were quite impressed with their ability to quickly understand our complex operations and grasp the essence of our work. They collaborated very well with each other as they worked to come up with innovative solutions to the business problem. It was also exciting to watch how they complimented each other and how their different backgrounds and unique experiences enriched the solutions they presented’.
Alternative ways of improvement
And how far is Farmerline with the proposed solutions? JohnCarl shares that ‘The teams gave great presentations and helped us to consider alternative ways of approaching and improving the storage and distribution of products. The Farmerline team was pleased to see that the teams looked beyond the focus area of the challenge and proposed solutions for our wider operations. We also identified impressive talents we can potentially work with’. Marika adds, ‘Farmerline has started pilots to test out some of the ideas that were proposed by the students’. A big compliment for the Farmerline teams and their proposed solutions!
We would like to thank Farmerline for their efforts and enthusiasm during the New Business Challenge 2019.