Learnings from the Inclusive Business Model Design bootcamp: Turning ideas into action

Saskia Rotshuizen
By on December 14, 2016

Akin Olatidoye is a ‘graduate’ of the recent IBA online bootcamp on Inclusive Business Model Design, organized in collaboration with Endeva. After submitting all the assignments, he received individual written feedback on his business model from the course organizers Claudia Knobloch and Saskia Rotshuizen. Now Olatidoye is applying his learnings in practice.

What Inclusive Business projects are you working on at the moment?

“The concept I am working on is called Lagboro Farms and Parks, a prototype farm facility with production, processing and demonstration sites for horticultural and field crop commodities (e.g watermelon and soybeans). The idea is for the facility to specialize in commodities that have high demand in both local and international markets but also present additional opportunities for new uses in their value chain.

For example, a byproduct made out of watermelon seeds (called Ukpuam in Eastern Nigeria) is very nutritious, but making use of the product requires time consuming processing and generating more scientific information about it. The demonstration site of the farm will be focused on researching and testing out new uses for watermelon seeds, for example to innovate new food products, active ingredients and agro chemicals.”

What problem(s) are you trying to solve?

“Currently, there is little to no diversification or value-adding use of horticultural commodities in the Nigerian market. The people at the base of the pyramid in this sector also face poor storage infrastructure and experience high post-harvest losses – watermelons, for instance, have a shelf-life of 2 days. There is a need for a refrigerated storage system that could eventually increase the income of BOP farmers.

I am also developing a database of information on tropical horticultural plants in Africa. A lot of plants are not being exploited to their fullest potential, or scientific information regarding the plants is not being included in their use in religious or traditional health activities. The database, currently being developed, goes in depth about the various uses for different plants and their parts. The database will offer information such as medicinal purposes, shelf life, extraction process, etc.. This will hopefully offer a systematic knowledge to help utilize the plants more efficiently.”

How did you experience the ’Inclusive Business Model Design’ bootcamp and what are your main takeaways?

“The bootcamp has helped me tremendously in putting structure to my thoughts and thinking through essential elements of my business idea: value addition, value proposition, networks…. Following the bootcamp, I feel I’ve been able to develop something close to a business plan!

Furthermore, the social networking aspect of the bootcamp was very valuable. Since completing the bootcamp, I have been looking through the Nigerian ventures on IBA and I see tremendous potential for learning and partnering. For example, ColdHubs is a company that I am very interested to learn more about.”

After the bootcamp, you received written feedback from the course organizers on your business model. How useful was this for you? To what extent did it change your business model?

“The written feedback I received helped me clarify some key terms in my business model, and supported me in turning my ideas into words. The most significant lesson from this feedback is that the level of risk in my business depends on the different mechanisms I choose for the revenue model (operational model etc.). I still need to reflect about this aspect of my business idea. In general I am very happy with the quality of the feedback and the support I received from IBA!”

Will you join another IBA bootcamp?

“I already signed up for the Achieving Nutritional Behaviour Change at the BoP bootcamp, as it will be useful for my venture concept.”