The Milken Innovation Center continues its work and support for the design and development of a program to connect Israeli agritech firms to smallholder farmers in India, and eventually to countries on the African continent. The program builds on the analysis and recommendations from the Milken Innovation Center’s 2020 Financial Innovations Lab report, “Accelerating Agritech Solutions in Israel, California, and Developing Economies.” The new program, called the Evergreen ImpacTech Platform, involves many development stages in the organization and business modeling of the platform itself, including the methods of the evaluation of the suitability of technologies, the pricing and business models of these technologies to the smallholder farmers, and the set-up and structure of the sustainable platform itself. Milken Innovation Center is part of a team implementing the platform, including participants from the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, and Start-Up Nation Central.
On July 28, 2021, the team convened a Financial Innovations Lab and follow-up workshops to explore ways to attract impact investments into the program. Participants in the workshops included philanthropic and government investors, including Rockefeller Foundation, Milken Foundation, Gates Foundation, Lemelson Foundation, Israel – Ministry of Finance and the Israel Innovation Authority, the UAE; Impact Investors including IFC, Global Innovation Fund, Palladium International, CDC Group, Solidaridad Network, Convergence, and market investors, including Liquidnet, Guggenheim, and Vital capital.
The Lab helped to refine and adapt the project to meet the needs of the markets and make it attractive for impact investment, including data collection, monitoring, and impact measurement and reporting, how to build a capital structure to ensure sustainability and scalability, and program services to both agritech firms and smallholder farmers. The platform includes a non-profit entity to support the overall administration and strategy, and training for smallholder farmers, a for-profit entity to support the services to help adapt businesses for the smallholder market, and an ancillary equity investment fund to invest in businesses as they reach the commercialization stage and are ready to scale in developing markets.