Africa Goodnest, a Ghanaian company, is an e-commerce and logistics platform that facilitates access to domestic and international markets, aids smallholder agricultural enterprises, and disperses agricultural goods with added value.
Africa Goodnest, a company founded in 2021 by Bernice Yalley, is creating a safe, user-friendly e-commerce network that connects customers from across the world with African businesses providing smallholder agricultural goods in personal care, food and drinks, and herbs and spices.
“In the past several years, there has been a marked growth in the number of African entrepreneurs creating high quality, export-ready, natural consumable goods,” Yalley told Disrupt Africa.
“However, it is still more typical for raw materials to be exported from Africa that are then added to international brands, packaged and sold around the world, including back to Africans. We can add value here.”
Africa Goodnest exists to help producers that create completed, value-added items, which in turn supports smallholder farmers, lessens Africa’s dependency on exporting raw materials, and fosters the growth of African economies.
“We want to help export-ready, natural consumable African products be shared with retail businesses around the world,” Yalley said.
When Africa Goodnest was unofficially introduced in 2020, it was at the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, which she claimed was “not so fantastic” because she had always planned for it to be a wholesale platform.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation provided the first round of investment in Africa Goodnest, which according to Yalley was a significant turning point for the startup company.
“I was pretty excited about that just because it gave me some validation and confidence. When you are an entrepreneur who every few months reconsider whether you should just get a job like a real adult, you need that moral boost every now and again,” she said.
“Then we were selected to participate in the UNICEF Startup Lab, which brought a bit more funding, and now we are part of the MEST Express Accelerator sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation.”
For the time being, Africa Goodnest, which earns a profit from the things it sells and also bills its sellers a monthly charge for hosting and marketing their goods, is largely concentrated on its domestic market.
“We want to focus on growth in Ghana first, though we have brands from other African countries joining our platform. We want to concentrate on growth in West Africa, probably Anglophone, with focused buyers in North America and some in Europe,” Yalley said.
She said that aside from its website collapsing the day it began, Africa Goodnest has merely had the typical difficulties that other companies encounter.
“For any new brand, it’s tough breaking onto the scene with new, virtually unknown products, and little resources. But it’s actually not the money that’s an issue, that’s just a surface problem. The toughest part has actually been sorting out the logistics,” she said.
“We are a small brand in a small country on a marginalised continent working to digitise a logistics process for small agribusinesses. Up to now, everything has been manual – we want things to be efficient and smooth. Building that, and finding people who understand that, has been difficult.”