AgUnity, a global technology platform, has announced that its digital mobile platform project in Bali, Indonesia has been recognised as one of the ten winners of the Women Enterprise Recovery Fund (WERF).
In a rigorous and independent selection process, AgUnity was shortlisted from a pool of 83 applicants. It was chosen for its relevance, impact, sustainability and scalability, team experience, risk profile and value for money.
WERF was launched by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), to support the economic recovery and digitisation of women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Asia-Pacific region.
MSMEs are the driving force behind Asian economies, contributing 69 per cent of the national labour force. However, the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant barrier to their growth, leading to income and employment losses.
The challenges of the pandemic have been felt even more keenly by women-owned and led enterprises, where there are existing issues with access to finance and lower levels of digital literacy and connection rates, restricting online opportunities.
WERF seeks to support the development and expansion of digital business models and solutions to alleviate financial and other constraints suffered by women enterprises in South and South-East Asia following COVID-19.
It is supported by the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), the government of Canada and Visa Inc. The Fund is hosted by UNCDF’s Fund Facility Investment mechanism, through the UNCDF Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) programme, with support from the Australian government (DFAT).
As one of the 10 WERF winners, AgUnity will receive funding to pilot and scale its mobile digital solution to enhance women enterprise growth and resilience among coffee farmers in Indonesia. The project will run for 12 months, with AgUnity team receiving risk capital to pilot the solutions and mentoring and guidance from industry experts.
“The pandemic underpinned one of the core beliefs that AgUnity is built on: that the MSMEs most resilient to periods of disruption and uncertainty are those that are using digital solutions to bring their products to market,” AgUnity founder David Davies said.
AgUnity have already tested the viability of their business model in various remote communities across the globe, but the team is looking forward to expanding their mission in Indonesia with WERF’s support and guidance.
Female coffee farmers will be able to use AgUnity’s digital mobile platform and the low-cost custom-designed smartphones it is hosted on to:
- Perform transactions
- Accurately record transactions in their digital wallet
- Access a digital identity
- Improve the productivity of their enterprise
- Connect to service providers
- Access learning materials
- Access a wider market for their goods
- Sell and buy marketplace items.
“Improving the lives of the most vulnerable and essential members of the global supply chain is AgUnity’s primary goal and the reason we do what we do,” Davies said.
“For too long, female farmers in last mile communities have been exploited, had minimal resources and have been excluded from realising the full profits of their labour. With WERF’s support, we look forward to changing the status quo.”