The Agribusiness Builder program is adapted to each venture’s needs and the characteristics of their sector. In general, the Agribusiness Builder programme is divided into three phases.
Phase 1 is dedicated to building a long-term development roadmap, structuring your organisation, and building its operational capability to achieve your goals. At the end of this phase, co-building teams present to our Partners’ committee and those deemed investment-ready continue to the next phase.
Phase 2 is a fundraising track where you will use BeyondSoil’s expertise and network to prepare a solid business and financial plan, practice your pitch and engage funders to raise growth capital.
In phase 3, we will remain by your side for the long term, in a strategic capacity, as a mentor and board member to support your rapid scale-up.
The Agribusiness Builder programme is tailored to your specific needs. As such its duration may vary. In general, the programme lasts six to nine months for phase one ‘Getting to investment readiness’ and phase 2 ‘Raising growth capital’. However, should we deem your business ‘investment ready’, we may skip phase one and assist you directly with fundraising. Please note fundraising timeline depends on funders – i.e., commercial banks, Development Finance Institutions (e.g., IDC) or impact funds (e.g., Old Mutual’s Masisizane).
During phase 1 and 2, we usually start the week with a Monday catch-up – in person or online – to prepare for the week ahead and review past’s week progress. Your co-building team will then usually spend a day or two (at your premises or sometimes online) to work with you on solving current challenges, implementing your development plan side-by-side with you, or supporting you with changes to the business. The rest of the week is left for you to manage daily operations, reflect on progress and work on implementation. Once or twice over the programme, we will organise an in-person working week in our Johannesburg office. This is a great opportunity for you to get away from the daily management routines, to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and meet prospective investors and partners.
You will be paired with a team (two to three people) of co-builders – i.e., business professionals with expertise in strategy, business development, operations, and finance. This team usually spends a day or two per week working with you on your venture – remotely or in person. You will also have access to our training material and resources related to building and growing your venture. The most valuable support, however, will be our network of advisors, venture partners, industry experts as well as the BeyondSoil team and the community of agri-entrepreneurs.
BeyondSoil does not provide any funding – in grant, debt, or equity – to our Agribusiness Builder participants. You are expected to be operating a business with an existing commercial and financial track record, and the ability to cover your own (business-as-usual) expenses during the programme. During phase 2, we will support you in raising funding to fuel your accelerated growth. However, we do not own the funding decision.
We do not charge an upfront fee for the programme. Instead, we take a long-term view and approach to your success and share the risks and upside with you. Concretely, at the beginning of the programme, we discuss and agree with you on BeyondSoil’s compensation, which is commensurate for its support. This usually takes the form of a combination of the following ‘levers’: a success fee on capital raised, a success fee on incremental sales or EBITDA growth (above an agreed baseline growth rate), and/or sweat equity. The fundamental principle is that of a partnership. We share the risk with you and get rewarded if, and only if, your business sales and profits increase beyond what you would have possibly achieved without our support.
We welcome the most exceptional people from diverse backgrounds. We bring together experienced and emerging farmers and agribusiness operators, enthusiastic entrepreneurs, and top-notch professionals to scale up their ventures in the farm-to-fork value chain. What we expect from you is preferably an existing track record, and access to land and water (if you operate in primary production). Beyond that, we invest in people first. People with inner drive, grit, and coachability, people who can overcome entrepreneurial challenges and learn fast to accelerate their growth.
We support businesses across the farm-to-fork value chain, from input production and distribution to farming, processing, trading, retail, and services for example.
While we expect businesses to have a proven business model and an existing track record, by exception, we incubate high-potential, innovative start-ups in AgTech and FoodTech with a promising founding team.
In farming, we preferably support businesses active in high-value crops such as horticulture, fruit and nuts.
We predominantly invest in high-potential Agri-SMEs – with proven business models and a track record – which can scale into large agribusinesses. All our investments have an impact lens – that is, contributing to the transformation of the sector, the creation of empowering jobs, the development and upskilling of rural workers and their communities, and the adoption of environmentally sustainable (production) practices.
To support these Agri-SMEs and build their financial track record, we invest in them through a range of products – from alternative debt financing to quasi-equity and equity – depending on their risk profile, sector of operations, and financial capacity.
Debt funding is extended primarily in the form of working capital (i.e., input finance, production finance, farmer pre-payment), capital loans (i.e., equipment/asset-backed finance, establishment finance) and emerging farmer finance.
Depending on the fund and our client’s investment strategy, we usually invest from R5mn up to R100mn per transaction. Where necessary, we also complement this with external funding – e.g., equity investment with commercial debt leverage where applicable.
Our assets are managed on a total return basis while considering the required investment vehicle liquidity. Our targeted return is our client’s cost of capital plus risk-adjusted return in line with the industry and an impact investment strategy.
With our partners, we can invest your funds via an existing and established investment vehicle. Alternatively, we can also set up a vehicle ring-fenced for your specific needs and investment strategy. To this effect, our partners have the required investment infrastructure in place to plug & play.
In the beginning, we engage with a B-BBEE verification specialist to work hand in hand with us to ensure the establishment of the vehicle meets your B-BBEE requirements and follows the latest codes. These are then reviewed on an annual basis.
Typically, your investment contributes positively to the Enterprise and Supplier Development section of your BEE scorecard as your funds are invested towards scaling up EME and QSE both currently within your supply chain or soon to be integrated. Secondly, we also assist you in increasing your preferential procurement spend.
We operate both ways depending on clients’ needs. We can support you in designing the eco-system and/or programme to support Agri-SMEs within your supply chain. Additionally, we can partake in the solution and co-lead its implementation with skin-in-the-game.
BeyondSoil is a unique management consultancy and patient investor committed to the growth of Agri-SMEs. We offer management consulting services, hands on business support and direct investment. We believe in harnessing the power of the farm-to-fork value chain to build wealth in South Africa.
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