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Ten start-ups with positive social and environmental impacts have just been selected out of over 80 applications, to participate in a program co-financed by USAID – the American Development Agency – and Miarakap, the first Malagasy investment fund. For four months, young businesses will benefit from technical and financial support. The most involved will be supported for another two years, to allow them to get started.
With our correspondent in Antananarivo, Sara Tetaud
They want to turn seeds into natural fertilizers, agricultural waste into kitchen briquettes, flies into protein meal. After their selection on Tuesday, start-up entrepreneurs with positive social and environmental impacts took part in the first day of an intense week of mentoring. ” What have I learned? What I have learned is that entrepreneurship is … “
In front of the 10 selected, the speakers, seasoned entrepreneurs, talk about their biggest failures, their mistakes and their aggressiveness in seizing opportunities.
Speeches as demanding as they are enriching and which are part of the Mitsiry program, directed to Miarakap by Koloina Ramaromandray. ” The pride of this “ accelerator ” is that we have many projects all over the island, in regions like Tulear, Fort Dauphin, Farafangana, Manakara, all close to protected areas or biodiversity hot spots because the goal is that: is to preserve biodiversity. We have projects in many different sectors: honey, chocolate, mushrooms, cassava. A great variety of projects that are in very heterogeneous stages of development. There are start-ups that are just starting their business and others that have started marketing. In general, all of them have already built the ecosystem around it and know how to source and how to produce. But some are still in the prototype stage. “
And this is the case of Adi’Gasy, the company created by Lalaina Rakotoson, at the very beginning of 2021, which plans to start a biopesticide production plant near Morondava, to fight the caterpillars that destroy crops. ” In Madagascar we use so many chemicals in agriculture! And since there is no strict legal framework to regulate dissemination, anyone can do what they want, sell and disperse what they want. This is a real problem for the environment and a very great danger to the consumers and users of these products. And that’s how I got the idea of producing a biological pesticide: from the seeds of the Neem tree, more commonly known as Margousier, or Menabe’s “150 diseases”, we extract oil and transform it into a biopesticide. This is an established practice in India and Africa, so why not here! “
Interest-free loan of $ 5,000
Under the program, Lalaina and the other 9 entrepreneurs initially benefit from an interest-free loan of $ 5,000. ” Obviously this Mitsiry loan is a real boost for us, says Lalaina Rakotoson. Because today it is very difficult to have bank loans to start a start-up in Madagascar. And being accompanied by experienced entrepreneurs allows us to move forward faster. “
Move faster to preserve what may still be of Madagascar’s biodiversity. One way to remember also that the national private sector has a real role to play in this area.