Tanzanian startup, NINAYO, won the Entrepreneurial Venture Award. Founder and CEO, Jack Langworthy of NINAYO, accepted the award at the Annual AMBA Gala Dinner and MBA Excellence Awards (#Gala18), hosted by The Association of MBAs (AMBA) on 2 February 2018 in London.

NINAYO.com the online trading platform for agriculture used by over 30,000 farmers and markets across the Southern Highlands of Tanzania made waves on Friday night. The websites idea is simple: give farmers and markets the information they need to connect more efficiently. NINAYO does this for free, and even for 0 data cost on Airtel and Vodacom networks when entering 0.freebasics.com/ninayo directly into the browser.

When asked the motivation behind the platform, Langworthy explained, “A product’s price will always be what you can negotiate. I saw a lot of farmers with little negotiating power in my Peace Corps Volunteer days. There was clearly an opportunity to empower farmers with the business information they need to lift themselves out of poverty. With NINAYO farmers can now contact hundreds of buyers directly, by phone, SMS, or through the site. Buyers love the site too- everybody wins.”

NINAYO, launched in Tanzania in 2015, uses crowd-sourced data to provide actionable business intelligence for its users. NINAYO users, typically small holder farmers, can earn significantly more money by selling further up the supply chain. By eliminating middlemen, farmers and markets both win. NINAYO has started using their collected commercial data to pilot loans to unbanked farmers, in partnership with the UNCDF DF+.

NINAYO has brought investment from Silicon Valley’s most successful and disruptive entrepreneurs to Tanzania via their partners at Expa Labs. NINAYO caught the attention of the prominent San Francisco incubator run by Uber cofounder, Garrett Camp, and other heavy hitters in the international tech scene.

“Too often Tanzania is seen only as a poor country. Yes, poverty is a problem, but Tanzania is a land of great opportunity. There are millions of talented Tanzanians eager to build the prosperity of their country. Thanks to Expa Labs, we are connecting Silicon Valley with the Rift Valley and changing the face of African agriculture.”

NINAYO was also endorsed in a speech by US former President Barack Obama during the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship (GES) Summit in Silicon Valley on 25 June 2016.

Jack Langworthy added: ‘This award being given to a Tanzanian company highlights the potential that is in East Africa.  We are not a charity or an NGO, but a company investing in Tanzania because we believe it is a great country with undervalued talent.  Nairobi better lookout, because Dar is becoming the new tech hub.”