TechnoServe Launches Operations in Zimbabwe

Business Plan Competition and Poultry Industry Development Program Will Help Create New Opportunities for Zimbabweans

WASHINGTON, DC, May 31, 2010 – TechnoServe has launched two innovative programs in Zimbabwe that aim to strengthen Zimbabwean businesses and create new opportunities for smallholder farmers.

TechnoServe is running a business plan competition, known as Agro Innovation Zimbabwe, that will help existing medium-sized businesses generate new jobs and provide a market for farmers. TechnoServe will also promote the development of Zimbabwe’s poultry industry, building on a successful model developed in Mozambique.

The people of Zimbabwe are in great need of new economic opportunities. One of the world’s lowest-income countries, Zimbabwe has an estimated unemployment rate of 95 percent. About 1.7 million Zimbabweans lack ready, reliable access to food.
But the country is taking steps toward a brighter future. Last year, Zimbabwe recorded its first economic growth in a decade. Farmers are beginning to revitalize the agricultural sector. TechnoServe is working with entrepreneurial men and women in Zimbabwe to capitalize on this momentum and promote sustainable development.

“Zimbabwe has a rich legacy of agricultural excellence,” says TechnoServe President and CEO Bruce McNamer. “With our track record of promoting real and lasting change in similar places, we can build on that legacy in a way that raises incomes and creates food security for Zimbabweans.”

Agro Innovation Zimbabwe will support promising ideas in agriculture by awarding capital prizes and technical assistance to medium-sized businesses that can be models for the wider industry. The competition is supported by the Nduna Foundation and local sponsor Delta Corporation.

TechnoServe is seeking applications from businesses with innovative ideas for including smallholder farmers in their supply chains. An independent panel of Zimbabwean financial and agricultural experts will judge the businesses. TechnoServe expects to award five to 10 prizes to companies in areas such as staple crops, high-value crops, livestock and food processing.

The winners will receive prizes of $25,000 to $50,000 to invest in their businesses, as well as a tailored package of training and assistance. More information is available at

The poultry industry development program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and conducted in partnership with DAPP Zimbabwe. The 18-month pilot program aims to test new models of linking poultry companies with small-scale chicken outgrowers. TechnoServe hopes to raise the incomes of 70 outgrowers by more than $1,000 each per year.

DAPP will help 3,000 soy and maize farmers improve their productivity, and TechnoServe will facilitate connections with local feed processors to ensure a stable market for these farmers. TechnoServe will also provide technical assistance to the Zimbabwe Poultry Association to promote the inclusion of smallholder farmers within the industry. The program will draw on lessons from a similar effort in Mozambique, where TechnoServe helped revitalize the domestic poultry industry with support from USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe empowers people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty. Growing enterprises generate jobs and other income opportunities for poor people, enabling them to improve their lives and secure a better future for their families. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses, benefiting millions of people in more than 40 countries. The Financial Times has rated TechnoServe one of the top five NGOs for corporate partnerships. TechnoServe’s corporate partners include Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Nestlé-Nespresso, Olam International, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Unilever, among others. Charity Navigator has also awarded its highest Four Star ranking to TechnoServe.

For more information, please contact:
Andrew Eder, Marketing and Communications Manager, TechnoServe
Tel: +1 (202) 719-1327; E-mail: