Manka Angwafo, a Cameroonian, wins the Prestigious Cartier Women’s Initiative PrizeIdes Ofune 6th May 2019 0 COMMENTS
Manka Angwafo wins the Cartier Women’s Initiative Prize for the sub-Saharan region category. According to the Cartier website, Manka developed the idea to start her company when she was visiting her grandmother on her farm in Cameroon in 2013 to help harvest maize. She realised the process was labour intensive and knew it could be done differently. She discovered that farmers lacked access to finance and women farmers rarely owned the land. She then decided to offer finance to farmers which could be reimbursed in grains leading her to set up the Grassland Cameroon.
Her company was founded in 2015, and offers smallholder farmers asset-based financing, tools, training and market access. Working with NGOs to select vulnerable farmers capable of repaying them in maize, it offers a loan at a marginal interest rate for a period of four months, i.e., one maize-growing season. Repayment is made at harvest-time and Grassland Cameroon buys up to 70% of the remaining crop, offering farmers crucial access to market. Thanks to its contacts and consistent grain quality, Manka’s company can sell directly to its corporate clients.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards are an international business plan competition created in 2006 by Cartier, INSEAD Business School, McKinsey & Company to identify, support and encourage projects led by women entrepreneurs. Twenty-one women entrepreneurs, three finalists per continent (Latin America, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Far East Asia, and Southeast Asia) are awarded every year. The first prize is US $100,000 in prize money and a one-on-one personalized business mentoring. The second prize for the 14 finalists is US $30,000 in prize money.
Congrats to Manka and her initiative, Grassland Cameroon.
Profile Picture credit: Cartier Women’s Initiative
Ides Ofune is currently a PhD Student at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on civil society and accountability in improving the quality of education. She is the founder of Desert Bloom Initiative and editor of Desert Bloom Advisory. Ides is very passionate about education and creating an inclusive society. She speaks French and English fluently. She can be reached at email@example.com