Nairobi Garage Space Village Capital in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and Duncan Goldie-Scot, today announced the launch of its accelerator program, Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015 . The program will select 12 start-up firms for business development training. The aim is to unlock innovations that increase access to financial services for smallholder farmers. At the end of the program, the two start-ups ranked highest by other entrepreneurs in the program will each receive $50,000 USD to help scale their businesses and impact.

The initial 12 enterprises will be chosen on the basis of how their ideas can increase incomes for smallholder farmers by improving their access to financial services. Village Capital FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015 plans to meet this need by supporting the best local early-stage ventures increasing financial inclusion in the East African agriculture industry, benefitting smallholder farmers, investors, communities, and entrepreneurs in the region.

Village Capital will provide selected ventures with intensive business development training, mentorship from local business leaders and investors, and face-to-face interaction with potential customers. The program aims to create 200 jobs over the next two years in East Africa, with an estimated 60% of jobs going to individuals living below the poverty line. Graduating enterprises are also expected to increase revenue growth by 4.5 times and distribute goods and/or services to 200,000 customers (with a primary target of smallholder farmers) within that time period.

Applications are currently OPEN HERE and will be accepted through February 25, 2015. The selected applicants will be announced at the end of March 2015.