Agri-Vie rewarded a second time
Agri-Vie, the private equity fund focused on agribusiness in Sub-Saharan Africa, was recently awarded the Agribusiness Investment Initiative of the Year Award at the East Africa Agribusiness Investment Summit and Awards, held in December 2013 in Kampala, Uganda.
This is the second consecutive year that Agri-Vie has been recognised in this category in East Africa. In 2012 the Fund was awarded similarly by Africa Investor.
The awards bring together decision makers from East Africa’s agribusiness community who drive food security and sustainable agribusiness practices by recognising and commemorating the achievements by the different key players in the sector.
These industry players have found transformational and profitable ways that are both replicable and scalable to help improve the lives of millions around the region.
Agri-Vie finds itself in the company of other award-winning organisations such as Export Trading Group (ETG), a pan-African commodities group and Rwenzori Commodities of Uganda.
According to Herman Marais, managing partner at Agri-Vie, the award is recognition for the Fund’s continued dedication to partnering with agribusinesses and funds which exhibit economic development, positive environmental impacts and show quality and growth potential.
He said: “Winning this type of award for a second consecutive year is testament to our sound investment disciplines and signifies the fund’s demonstrable socio-economic development impact through equity investing.”
Marais explains that the East Africa Agribusiness Awards judges primarily considered the innovation behind the deal structure.
“This included criteria such as investment performance, how management was incentivised, both in terms of profitability and corporate social responsibility, consideration of all stakeholders in the implementation of the deal, as well as the boundaries pushed in terms of location, size and industry and how it has effectively overcome barriers to investment.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.