Developing your business strategy

ICT Update

As the digital age advances further rapidly, more and more e-agriculture entrepreneurs are able to launch a start-up cheaper and faster than ever before by leveraging technology, access to wider range of skills, grants, competition money, crowdfunding, and accelerator and incubator programmes. e-Agriculture entrepreneurs can choose to take a traditional approach to developing
a business plan or they can examine new approaches, such as the Lean Start-up Canvas and the Business Model Canvas.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

As specified by Osterwalder Alexander in The Business Model Ontology: A Proposition in a Design Science Approach (2004), ‘it enables both new and existing businesses to focus on operational as well as strategic management and marketing plans’. The canvas has nine sections: Key Partners, Key Activities, Value Propositions, Customer Relationships, Customer Segments, Key Resources, Channels, Cost Structure and Revenue Streams. The BMC tool allows for ICT4Ag entrepreneurs to plot out their ideas for any new or existing businesses and test different scenarios before writing a single line of code. Delivered on a single page, this tool is fast becoming the global ‘go-to’ method for plotting strategies and seizing ICT-driven opportunities. It can be used for both non-profit- and profit-focused agribusinesses.

Lean Canvas

Developed by Ash Maurya in his book Running Lean (2010), the Lean Canvas tool is an alternative to the BMC.
It focusses more on start-ups. Thus, it is more adapted to young ICT agripreneurs and is widely used, for example by East African tech hubs. The Lean Canvas tool also has nine levels: Problem, Solution, Unique Value Proposition, Unfair advantage, Customer segments, Key metrics, Channels, Cost structure, Revenue Streams. A key component of the
Lean Canvas is the ‘Problem’ section, which is particularly important, as most e-agriculture entrepreneurs do not have a profound understanding of agriculture.



Element Business Model Canvas Lean Canvas
Target New and existing businesses Start-up businesses purely
Focus Customers, investors, entrepreneurs, consultants, advisors Entrepreneurs purely
Customers Lays emphasis on customer segments, channels and customer relationships for all businesses Does not lay much emphasis on customer segments because start-ups have no known or tested products to sell
Approach It lays down the infrastructure, lists the nature and sources of financing and the anticipated revenue streams of the business It begins with the problem, a proposed solution, the channels to achieving the solution, costs involved and the anticipated revenue streams
Competition It focuses on value proposition in quantitative and qualitative terms as way to stay smart in  the market It assesses whether the business has an unfair advantage over the rest and how to capitalise on it for better grounding
Application It fosters candid understanding, creativity, discussion and constructive analysis It is a simple problem-solution oriented approach which enables the entrepreneur to develop  step-by-step

This text is an adaption of a section of the upcoming publication of CTA: Path to Success: a guide for effective ICT Agripreneurship.

Copyright © 2016, CTA. Technical Centre for Rural and Agricultural Cooperation

CTA is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.