Interview: Maendeleo

Conrad Cheeks talked with Abraham Kamarck, founder and CEO of Maendeleo Agric, to ask him about his business.

Mr. Abraham Kamarck founded Maendeleo Ventures, LLC in 2009. This interview was conducted in 2012.

What is your solution?  Maendeleo Agric is a Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) company, focused on spreading sustainable, high-yield greenhouse technology and best practices to everyone by creating hi-tech, low cost solutions for all farmers.  

Where are you located?We are currently deciding on a location to base Maendeleo Agric. 

What problem are you trying to solve?   Maendeleo Agric is working to combat the lack of food in emerging economies.  

How did you become interested in this problem?   I won a contract as an entrepreneur from USDA to look at leasing in Ghana to local farmers. Agriculture has been a problem in Ghana is which is why there is no leasing to farmers. The Ghana credit system also has bad reputation and holds huge credit risk. So I thought about what kind of technology could be leased to these farmers. This is how I initially got interested in this problem.  

What is your solution to the problem?   We provide affordable greenhouse solutions to farmers that are competitive. It gives farmers a chance to use their land more effectively to crawl out of poverty and to be able to produce higher quality products.  

Has WJF competition and mentoring program helped you on your way?

“Receiving great feedback helps out.”  –Abraham Kamarck, founder and CEOYes, the WJF competition was encouraging. It was good to help accelerate the process of me writing my business plan. 

What other resources have you found that are particularly useful for social entrepreneurs? Networks, free tools on the web to set up a business faster, Google apps, cheap hosting, LinkedIn and Twitter have all been proven to be useful. 

Anything else you’d like the William James Foundation community to know?No, except for that receiving great feedback helps out.