In this 11-part blog series, we will be checking in with our empowering people. Award (epA) 2019 winners to see what they’ve been up to since our most recent award ceremony in Cairo last July. Check out what’s new with Sesi Technologies!
Below is an interview with Isaac Sesi, Co-founder of Sesi Technologies.The folks from Sesi Technologies meet with local smallholder farmers regularly.
Siemens Stiftung: Firstly, can you explain to your fellow empowering people. Network (epN) members and readers what you do, where you do it, and, most importantly, why?
Isaac Sesi: Sesi Technologies is an agritech company that is on a mission to lead the way to no poverty and zero hunger by empowering farmers with affordable technology-powered solutions to help them reduce losses and increase productivity, revenue and profits.
We do this through developing a number of core technologies and adopting other complementary technologies and bundling them together as a system of solutions for farmers.
Currently the core technology we have developed is the GrainMate Grain Moisture Meter, which is currently being bundled with the ZeroFly Hermetic Storage Bag to address two pressing issues that affect grain farmers in Africa; moisture testing and storage of grains.
Put together, these solutions are helping to cut down on post-harvest losses in grains from up to 30% to less than 2%. These solutions are currently being deployed in mid and northern Ghana to more than 1,000 farmers and we are making the solution available to farmers through a unique pricing and payment model that makes it easy for them to afford. At the same time, we are making these individual solutions available to other market segments and businesses other than smallholder farmers who have the capacity to pay full margins, giving us the cash inflow needed to deploy our core solutions to even more farmers.
What we are doing is important because smallholder farmers form the backbone of agricultural production in Africa and other developing countries, producing as much as 80% of the food we eat, yet they remain some of the poorest people on earth. Being able to lift them out of poverty will contribute significantly to the goal of reducing poverty and hunger. Furthermore, with the rapid increase in global population, there is a desperate need for us to be able to improve food systems to ensure global food security. Technology solutions have been proven to be one way through which we can improve food systems and ensure that we are able to meet the demand for food as global population rapidly increases.
Siemens Stiftung: More than half a year ago, you were a winner of the empowering people. Award 2019. What has/have been the major change(s) for your company and team since then? For you as an entrepreneur?
Isaac Sesi: First of all, the prize money from winning the award made it possible for us to conduct deeper market research and understand the problem we are trying to solve even more. We were able to speak to dozens of smallholder farmers in several different communities and the insights we gathered has helped us understand how to tailor our solutions in a way that addresses the needs of farmers.
Secondly, it enabled us to add two more people to our team to share responsibility of day-to-day operations leaving me with more time to focus on developing other important aspects of the company such as our strategy, business model and our products.Isaac speaks to an audience at the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
Siemens Stiftung: What has been your biggest success, personally or professionally, since then?
Isaac Sesi: Personally, I have received global recognition for my work so far, including being named to the MIT Innovators Under 35 for 2019, a prestigious list of global innovators that has included people like the cofounders of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), the former chief designer of Apple (Johnny Ive) and the former CTO of Tesla (JB Straubel). We also won the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize, out of over thousands who applied. I have also had the opportunity to present our work among top US government officials and in three universities in the US. My reputation as an agritech innovator has soared and through that we have attracted amazing talent who want to work with us.
Siemens Stiftung: What are you working on now? And what are your future plans?
Isaac Sesi: Currently we are working on improving our core technology, the GrainMate Moisture Meter. We are also exploring opportunities to introduce GrainMate into other African countries and expanding our manufacturing capacity to be able to meet the demand we anticipate. In the very near future, we plan to identify and develop new technologies that will fit into our systems of solutions so we can offer more value to smallholder farmers.Isaac works away at one of their life-changing solutions in his workshop. One of Sesi Technologies’ many happy customers.
Siemens Stiftung: With your membership, in what way(s) do you hope to benefit from epN? And if applicable, how have you already gained from your connection to the ecosystem?
Isaac Sesi: We hope to be able to use our membership in the epN to access business, funding and partnership opportunities to help us scale. Already, our connection to the ecosystem has brought us other opportunities such as being connected to the enpact community, through which we have met some amazing mentors who continue to add immense value to our company.
Siemens Stiftung: Thank you, Isaac and team, for sharing everything that has happened recently and what is on the horizon for Sesi Technologies. We look forward to seeing to how your plans to scale the business benefit not only you all, but the community around you!