Pears Challenge 2022
Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems in Ghana
The Pears Challenge
Israel’ s DevTech Venture Builder
The Pears Challenge empowers experienced and outstanding Israeli technology entrepreneurs to address critical needs in developing countries. Each cohort addresses a specific challenge and supports entrepreneurs in the process of exploring needs, ideating solutions, developing market-appropriate business models, field validating the solutions and connecting with potential users, partners, and investors in the target market. Participants are led through a five-stage program that builds the entrepreneurs’ capacity and understanding to maximize successful outcomes. Our programs are needs-based, designed in a close collaboration and partnership with various partners in the field according to the priorities and trends set in the countries we operate in.
Why are we doing it?
We are doing this because we believe in the power of technology to transform lives and we believe in the power of the private sector to deliver impact on a global scale. The Pears Challenge acts as a catalyst and enabler, bridging the gap between Israeli innovators and partners in developing countries while providing a platform for Israeli entrepreneurs to engage in the deep learning that is necessary to tackle global challenges.
To support this endeavor, the Pears Challenge provides the skills, knowledge, and networks to help early-stage entrepreneurs build their ventures. The Pears Challenge also addresses the specific hurdle innovators face validating new ventures by incorporating an overseas field-validation component for entrepreneurs who progress to the final stage.
The Pears Challenge
The Pears Challenge 2022
Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems in Ghana
By 2050 the global population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people, creating an unprecedented demand on food systems worldwide. According to the World Economic Forum, global food systems today, across the value chain of production, processing, transportation, and consumption are economically, socially and environmentally unsustainable.
GLOBAL FOOD SYSTEMS ARE UNSUSTAINABLE
500 million smallholder farmers that produce 80% of the food consumed in the developing world are living below the poverty line
Food systems contribute up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater deterioration and 70% of biodiversity loss
One-third of food produced in the world for human consumption is lost or wasted every year
Critical to meeting the world’s food and nutrition needs for a growing population is transforming our food systems to become more resilient, inclusive, sustainable and efficient. Innovative technological and market solutions, tailored to the specific challenges and characteristics of smallholder farmers, can play a pivotal role to propel that transformation. In order to deliver food security in the face of future stresses, whether economic, societal or climatic, not only do we need to do more but we need to do it smarter.
A recent KPMG report ranked Ghana as one of the most attractive locations for doing business in Africa, particularly in the agricultural sector which is expected to grow at an average rate of 5.4% in coming years. The political stability of a multi-party democracy, a growing appetite for innovation, a high degree of personal safety and rapid developments in rural digitalization position Ghana as a promising launchpad to the West African market, one of Africa’s leading markets in foreign investment. Agriculture contributes 19.7% of Ghana’s current GDP, accounts for over 30% of export earnings and serves as a major source of inputs for Ghana’s manufacturing industry.
Opportunity of innovation
Market gaps and business opportunities can be found in almost every value chain in the Ghanaian food sector, presenting many opportunities for innovation. With vast arable land, capable workforce and increasing exposure to financial and rural digitalization, Ghana’s agriculture and food industries could reap the benefits of market-appropriate and needs-oriented technological solutions. Cash crops such as Cocoa, Nuts, and Tropical Fruits like Mangoes, Pineapples and Bananas could benefit from value adding technologies that could boost the existing export market currently valued at 2.3 billion USD. In addition, technologies aimed at increasing productivity and market linkages, as well as reducing loss and waste of commonly consumed foods such as Maize, Cassava, Taro (Cocoyam), Sorghum and Rice, hold great promise for both profit and social impact. Horticulture innovations, both urban and rural, can reduce Ghana’s dependence on imports and help build a booming local industry that meets an existing and growing demand. And overarchingly, climate-smart agriculture and ecologically sound technologies can increase the resilience of Ghanaian farmers in the face of climate change.
After a rigorous competitive selection process, 25 aspiring entrepreneurs are chosen to be part of the Pears Challenge cohort, based on their experience, skills and motivations. The program begins with an exploration phase where fellows are introduced to the sector, challenges and context, and experts in the field. As a result, participants develop an extensive understanding of the challenge they would like to address and its needs. The exploration phase is followed by a robust ideation phase that harnesses creative problem-solving practices to help fellows more specifically define their challenges, explore possible solutions and brainstorm potential business and impact models. Then, in the creation phase, fellows refine their chosen solution and outline a detailed vision for their product or service and its path to financial sustainability. Selected ventures will travel to the field for concept validation and will be eligible to receive Mini-Grants to help prepare them to seek pre-seed funding. The Pears Program provides on-going support and guidance to graduating ventures.
Understanding the Context
January - February 2022
Training program introducing 25 promising entrepreneurs to the sector of focus and the needs and challenges in this sector.
Fellows identify the challenges they wish to work on, develop a deeper understanding of their chosen problems and explore creative directions for a potential tech solution.
From Ideas to Ventures
Fellows further refine their idea and create a venture and a business case around it.
July - August 2022
The most promising ventures travel to the field to interact with users and partners, validate assumptions and form partnerships.
Recruitment: August - October 2021
Interviews and Selection: October- December 2021
Mini-Grants & Ongoing Support: Ventures are eligible to receive mini-grants and are provided with ongoing support and guidance for continued product development, fundraising and field testing.
"The Pears Challenge helped us execute our first proof-of concept and get our first customer feedback. Priceless for a new venture. "
Co-Founder of Soapy
Pears Challenge Fellow 2017
Our Track Record
in grants and seed-investment has been raised by Pears Challenge ventures.
Pears Challenge ventures are currently active.
professionals worldwide mentor Pears Challenge Fellows on a consistent basis.
Our ventures have secured funding from:
Our ventures have partnered with:
"The most important pivot for me happened in the Pears Challenge where I found out I actually can design for people in developing countries.”
Tamar Ish Cassit
Founder & Designer of Cassit Orthopedics
Pears Challenge Fellow 2017