AcquaMeyer Drone Tech is an AgriTech company based in Accra, Ghana which is using technological advancement in providing total crop pest nutrition management services in Ghana and beyond. A team made up of German trained pilots and technicians, international Entomologist, Plant Nutritionists with lots of experience in the agricultural ecosystem. In this e-Interview, Eric Acquah, Founder/CEO at Acquahmeyer Drone Tech speaks with Alaba Ayinuola on how his passion for the development of Africa drove him to start his company which is the first AgriTech Drone Company in Africa putting smiles in the facings of African farmers and contributing to the development of Agriculture in Africa. Excerpts.
Alaba: Tell us about AcquaMeyer Drone Tech and the role you play?
Eric: Plant protection products bring their own challenges. Their residues on the crops often create trade-barriers towards potential buyers in foreign countries. Exposure to the products present health risks to the farmers. Toxic and chronic effects to the environment are well known and a concern not only to environmentalists but also to governments and the general public. While farmers can not produce a marketable crop without plant protection products, this is why we started our company.
The company was founded in 2017 as the first AgriTech company using drone technology to bring technological advancement in agriculture as well as solving the plant protection issues in Africa.
The focus was to help the smallholder farmers increase productivity through precision agriculture. We design and manufacture drones for a specific problem. Currently we have the spraying drones, that is used to apply agrochemicals and the bird scaring drone that repels birds that feeds on crops. We also have drones with multispectral sensors for crop and soil analysis.
I am the founder and CEO of the company. As a trained pilot and an aviation professional in Germany, I had to let go my career and move back to Africa to help make agriculture, which is the backbone of our economy better.
Alaba: What was your startup fund and how were you able to raise it?
Eric: My initial startup capital was over 250,000 Euros. And this was money my wife and I have saved over the years, working in our various carriers. I always believe in investing in what you believe. Many times its difficult to raise money for startups because for every startup there are try and errors, mistakes and corrections which investors usually don’t want to be a part of.
Alaba: What are the challenges, competition and how are you overcoming them?
Eric: Starting up something new always comes with challenges. Africans are naturally slow to change, we need time to accept and switch to new ways of doing things. Unfortunately for startups, just after you have spend your initial capital to get people to accept your product or service, you get competition coming in from all angels.
Every startup business like a baby needs more attention. We have to work 10 to 15hrs everyday plus weekends and holidays.
Our motivation is that our services are putting smiles on the faces of the farmers and we can directly feel our impact in the sector. We see an increase in youth participation in Agriculture and we want to work the more to increase this movement.
Alaba: What is the future for your business and what steps are you taking in achieving them?
Eric: Our focus is to be the biggest Agriculture drone company in Africa, ensuring best practices when it comes to plant protection application. We hope to achieve this by making strategic partnerships and collaborations. We also strive to be the best in service line, staying on top of our competition at anytime.
Alaba: How is your business contributing to the development of the agricultural ecosystem in Ghana and Africa?
Eric: Many years ago, food stuffs from Africa filled discount shops in Europe but they were banned because they did not meet the Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) levels set for the European market due to issues of plant protection application. Our drone reduces the pesticides that farmers apply, achieving a better result due to precision and efficiency. We are helping to make this food stuff exportable, giving farmers better price for their produce.
Also, Africa has a larger youth population and we are using our technology to make agriculture attractive for them.
Alaba: As a startup what are the key CSR focus areas and projects initiated at your company?
Eric: Our key CSR focus is to train and provide employment for the youth. We plan to train and employ 500 people by the end of 2019 to be drone pilots, pilot assistant, drone technicians and agronomist.
Alaba: How is the government policies supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Ghana?
Eric: Unfortunately, our Government do not support their own. Politicians come and change policies every time when there is a change in Government. There are a lot of startups doing great things and they need support to scale but there is none from the Government.
Alaba: Your advice for potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa.
Eric: Africa has a lot of potential and its a very good place to invest if you have the patient. But entrepreneurship is not for the weak hearted. It is very difficult and every successful entrepreneur sacrifices a lot and also gives not just a 100% but 300%.
Alaba: How does it feel to be an African entrepreneur?
Eric: For this, I would say am very grateful to be part of the movement changing Africa and making it a better place for our future generation.
Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?
Eric: I watch movies and listen to motivational speeches to relax. I also love playing basketball and swimming. For books I read John Grisham, don’t really know why but he is my best writer of all time. Aside that I read biographies of successful businessmen.
Born and raised in Ghana, Eric Acquah left Africa to Europe to achieve his life long dream of becoming a pilot. He studied in 3 pilot schools across Europe to attain his pilot licence and studied further to be an Aircraft sales executive. He has lots of experience working in the Aviation industry. He is very passionate about making Africa a better place, and that drove him to start his company that is helping to develop Agriculture in Africa.
To know More, Click To Visit: AcquaMeyer Drone Tech
Healthpoint: Providing Innovative Healthcare And Health Finance Solutions In Africa
Kemi Ayinde is the Chief Executive Officer at Healthpoint and a startup engineer promoting inclusion health in Africa. She feels hurt and crushed for every human being that dies of common ailments like malaria. But believes everyone from every class of life deserves easy access to quality healthcare, so more lives should be saved, and life expectancy should be on the increase. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, Kemi shares how her startup is providing health financial intermediation, promoting and achieving Health Inclusiveness in Nigeria and Africa as a whole with some of their CSR projects. Excerpt.
Alaba: Kindly tell us about Healthpoint, the gap it is filling and the strategic role you play?
Kemi: Healthpoint is a holistic health management solution aimed at promoting universal health coverage in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. We are a health tech startup providing telehealth and health insurance plans at affordable monthly subscriptions.
Healthpoint is propelled towards achieving global health inclusiveness by making healthcare most easily accessible to everyone; whether young or old, male or female, sick or healthy; regardless of their socio-economic status. Our goal is to ensure that every human being has easy access to healthcare and medical attention when needed in such a way as not to deplete their finances. People should be able to access vaccinations, preventive care, medical treatment, medical advice, health tips, updates and information relevant to their lives and environment.
Our mission is to reduce to the barest minimum every excuse to being unable to access quality healthcare in our society. With this, we would achieve reduced mortality rate, and increase life expectancy.
One of our core solutions is health financial intermediation wherein we buy bulk health cover plans from HMOs and Health insurance underwriters and offer them to people at very affordable monthly subscription fees.
Alaba: What is your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?
Kemi: We are only a few months old and we needed to perfect our product and market fit which we have done successfully. We are at a point where we are ready to scale and are open to investment from venture capitalists and other investors. We have since been running on our personal seed capital.
Alaba: How is Healthpoint different from other Health Startups in Africa?
Kemi: Healthpoint is born out of the passion and the calling to make healthcare most easily accessible to everyone, young or old, rich or poor. We not only provide telehealth solutions to bring healthcare right in your fingertips, but we also do financial intermediation for people and organizations who wish to acquire health cover plans for themselves, their families, and their teams but do not have the funds to, by buying these health plans in bulk and providing it to them at affordable monthly rates that are very friendly to their pockets and work well with their cash flows.
Alaba: What are the challenges, competitions and how are you overcoming them?
Kemi: The health needs in Nigeria alone is very huge and can very much accommodate and absorb every innovative and relevant health solutions so I believe we have a very large market and we would very much welcome every contribution towards achieving universal health coverage for Africa.
Alaba: What’s the future for Healthpoint and what steps are you taking in achieving them?
Kemi: Like I mentioned earlier, Healthpoint is aimed at promoting and achieving Health Inclusiveness in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. So we are looking forward to a point where we implement our innovative healthcare and health finance solutions that accommodates everyone from all social strata across the African continent to be able to easily access healthcare without having to deal with financial risks as a result.
We are a team of very innovative, creative young and vibrant minds that are dedicated and committed to actualizing our goals and objectives per time. We are a tech savvy and proactive team that rides on technology to drive our goals and vision with no holds barred.
Alaba: How is your business contributing to the development of Africa health ecosystem?
Kemi: The African health ecosystem is very vast and still green, and so we have very huge plans to impact the health space significantly with different activities and solutions. We run an annual program that provides Free Health Insurance Cover for Widows, Orphans and less privileged every year. This year, our beneficiaries sprang from four orphanage and vulnerable children care homes as well as widows in Nigeria.
Healthpoint is providing them free health insurance cover for a period of one year to cater for their medical consultations, treatments, tests, prescriptions and drugs and so much more. When we listened to their stories and saw how difficult it was for them to afford healthcare, it was very touching and they were indeed very grateful that Healthpoint could think of something as this to help them with.
Alaba: What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa?
Kemi: For budding entrepreneurs in Africa, I would say always maintain the passion, close your ears to all negatives, keep moving like a train, trust God and above all, let the vision keep driving you until you get to that point where you’ve always dream of. Africa is a hub of emerging markets waiting for you to pilot.
Alaba: How do you feel as an African entrepreneur?
Kemi: Being an African entrepreneur for me is a huge privilege that avails me the opportunity to contribute in solving some of Africa’s biggest challenges across different sectors of modern day living. It is a somewhat challenging business environment, but if I remain determined and very passionate about my overall goal, I am convinced that my impact will be felt and recognized in the African emerging markets.
Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?
Kemi: The saying is true that “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. As hardworking as I am, I am also a fun loving person and I particularly enjoy travelling and going for vacations. I love to listen to inspiring music and watch some comedy once a while.
Most of all, I enjoy being home with family. It is very fulfilling for me.
Afripreneur Profile: Vumile Msweli, CEO At Hesed Consulting
Vumile Msweli is the Chief Executive officer for Hesed consulting. A consulting firm specializing in commerce acceleration; career coaching; women empowerment; facilitation and training on the African continent, with presence in Nigeria and South Africa. She has previously worked for reputable multi-national institutions such as Barclays, Investec, Nedbank, First National Bank and Vodafone. Vumile is an Operations; Finance and Strategy executive with experience in both the telecommunications and finance sectors.
She has successfully led global teams in Africa (Nigeria; Kenya; Democratic Republic of Congo; Zambia; Lesotho; Ghana; Tanzania; Mozambique and South Africa); and Europe (Scotland; Isle of Man and England). These teams held various specialties such as Operations; Client Services; Strategy; Business Development and Risk Management. Vumile was most recently the Client Services Partner for Africa and the Middle East at Vodafone where she oversaw Service Strategy and Operations for Corporate Clients globally.
Vumile is an avid coach and international speaker having spoken in conferences; expos; workshops around the globe on topics such as leadership; women empowerment; finance matters and conducting business in Africa. She has spoken at the African Union in Ethiopia, Women’s Economic Forum in India USAID in Zambia and various organisations across the globe. She is the host of Vumi and Veuve host Women in Commerce as well as has her own regular weekly feature in Nigeria’s largest publication The Guardian.
Vumile has been featured in publications such as China’s Rare Birds(2018); The Guardian Nigeria (2018); True Love Magazine (2012); Destiny Magazine (2011; 2016 and 2017); Bona Magazine (2015); Essays of Africa Magazine (2016) as well as The Thinker magazine (2015). She has been featured on Ghana’s ETV, is regular contributor on SAFM (radio station) and was the business anchor for Voice of Wits (radio station). She’s a guest writer on business; finance issues and women empowerment for Essays of Africa and Destiny Connect.
- Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting Sciences (University of Pretoria)
- Bachelor of Commerce: Finance Honours (University of Johannesburg)
- Masters Business Administration (University of London, United Kingdom)
- Executive Education (New York University, United States of America)
- Executive Education (GIBS, South Africa and GIMPA, Ghana)
- Doctorate Applied Leadership (UGSM, Switzerland currently studying)
- Women’s Economic Forum Woman of Excellence (2018)
- Brand South Africa Play Your Part Ambassador (2018)
- Black Management Forum Young Professional of the Year (2018)
- 34th Most Influential Young South African by Avance Media (2018)
- Gauteng Premier Award for Excellence in Leadership (2017)
- ABSIP Game Changer (2016)
- Mail and Guardian Top 200 most influential Young South Africans (2016)
- Elle Boss of the Year in the Corporate Category (2016)
- Gordon Institute of Business Science: VAEP (2016)
- Vodafone CEO Award (2016)
- University of Witwatersrand Radio’s Brand New Heavy in Business (2016)
Cooking As A Calling | Chef Femi Aliu
It is a world filled with different people having different interests. So, I’m not surprised at all that we all see cooking differently.
To someone, cooking might just be a necessity because the stomach has grumbled for the umpteenth time. To another, cooking is a responsibility, either as a wife, mother, the only girl in the block or the eldest person in the house.
To yet another, cooking is a “no go area” …LOL. Indeed, it is a world full of many people, and what makes the world interesting is actually this diversity.
So, while there is a crop of persons fleeing from cooking, here I am, embracing the art of cooking as a lifestyle —better put, a calling.
Yes! Cooking for me, is a calling, my calling that I have positively responded to and have been walking the journey since the past 15 years.
Responding to cooking as a call has left me from a mediocre state to an expert level, adding the title “Chef” to my name, a badge of honor I wear on with pride, fulfilling its course.
Food is one of the basic social amenities for humans made cooking highly essential and Important, hence, the swam of food vendors.
I, for a while, nursed the burden of wanting to see people eat tasty and healthy meals, and not only that, eat it at their own convenience. This particularly fueled my passion and love for cooking.
I can say that I am living a purposeful life with Cooking, because cooking, for me is beyond a business venture. It is a solution to a problem I saw, a purpose wherein I am able to attend to an urgent need and it has enabled me to reach out to the busy professionals, recovering patients, family, couples and friends.
I Am Chef Femi Aliu
Personal Chef/ Founder Chef Femi Culinary Services
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