Peris Bosire, 24, is a first class honours graduate of the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She grew up in a small impecunious farming community in rural Kenya, Kebuse Kisii-Kenya. Almost everyone in the community was without employment, her family inclusive. The community relied on miniature agricultural activities for their sustenance. Peris took a distinct path to study Computer Science at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. There she met co-founder and friend, Rita Kimani, who was also from a similar farming settlement in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya.
Together they devised a means to interrupt the miniature scale farming experienced in the Kenyan farming sector. With the aid of their combined tech and agricultural knowledge, the Kenyan startup FarmDrive was initiated.
What FarmDrive Does
FarmDrive delivers straightforward digital record-keeping platform that allows farmers monitor their farming activities using a mobile phone. The farmers’ statistics combined with existing agricultural data is used to create a comprehensive credit profile to be used for the farmers’ credit assessment by financial institutions when granting loans or funds.
FarmDrive also uses the records to understand specific needs of individual farmers and provide custom-built information via SMS. This enables farmers to acquire valuable understanding towards their farming operations and maximize the potential of their farms. FarmDrive has been recognized and selected to receive the SOCAP social entrepreneur’s scholarship and a chance to win a gratitude award.
Peris Bosire On Overcoming Challenges
According to Peris Bosire, one of the toughest challenges encountered initially by them as entrepreneurs was lack of willingness of financial institutions to be a part of the project. The project involved using data-driven credit scoring model to extend digital loans to small scale farmers. They overcame this challenge by understanding and elaborating what value proposition these financial institutions needed to see and what they needed to put in place to show these institutions that their model was worth the risk.
This meant they had to take on some of the responsibilities of financial institutions to test run and get results that can be used as a reference that their model actually works. They had to prove that providing loans to farmers is actually a lucrative business using FarmDrive’s alternative model of assessing farmers risks. With evidence of past success, convincing potential lenders was easier.
In Peris Bosire’s words, “I am passionate about Africa and the opportunities that exist to adequately empower the continent to self-reliance and exercise her economic muscle. I strongly believe that investing in agriculture is the best tool to significantly breach the vacuum created by poverty globally and generate sustainable business opportunities”.