Local company, Brastorne Enterprises, has been selected by Heifer International and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve as one of the two winners of innovation in Smallholder Agriculture Products Prize.
The Heifer International Prize for Innovation in Smallholder Agriculture recognises solutions that support smallholder farmers to grow and scale their businesses while in the same process also protecting them from the adverse effects of climate change. Every year, MIT Solve solicits tech-based solutions to global challenges and chooses the most promising that will drive transformational change. This cycle has piqued the interest of over 9,600 innovators from 160 countries since 2016 who have submitted solutions for ongoing global challenges.
Brastorne began its solver journey in 2021, when it was chosen for the Class of 2021 MIT Solve Team and became the first local company to advance to the final stages. The Solve Team cohort included over 40 solvers from around the world, with Brastorne Enterprises being the only representative from Botswana. “Our journey with MIT as a solver team has been truly rewarding. We are so excited to work with Heifer and Solve to expand our impact and mandate of connecting unconnected smallholder farmers in Africa,” said Naledi Magowe, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer.
Heifer International is a non-profit organisation that aims to have a lasting impact on addressing poverty and hunger strategically through community development. MIT Solve, in partnership with Heifer International, has awarded Brastorne a staggering $125,000 (approximately P1.6 million) in prize funding to help support them in achieving their goal of connecting the unconnected and to scale its solution to make a greater and lasting impact.
Brastorne Enterprises has established significant impact in Africa by Connecting the Unconnected with over 1.8 million users to-date, which is a combined user-base for Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Connectivity is a challenge in Africa, particularly for the less fortunate who cannot afford to buy data bundles or have easy access to Wi-Fi. Brastorne leverages simple data protocols (IVR, USSD, SMS) to enable users to connect to the power of the Internet over their existing telco networks using their feature phones.
Brastorne received the Heifer International prize for its Agri solution – which seeks to give farmers access to a social community, agricultural advisory services, and markets. Brastorne was also recently selected as one of the 60 beneficiaries of the Google Black Founders Fund Africa 2022 programme and received $100,000 (about 1.2 million pula). Brastorne was the only organisation from Botswana that has ever participated in the programme and was successfully awarded among the cohort of 10 African countries.
Learn more about how Brastorne Enterprises Connects the Unconnected in Africa on www.brastorne.com