Sector of activity: Agriculture, Cosmétique
Status: Financement d'amorçage
Entrepreneur: Pierre Yves N’Goran et Karl Akueson-Gannyi
Country: Ivory Coast
A propos:

Épices et Essences de Côte d'Ivoire (E'Sens) specializes in the production of citrus essential oils (bigarade, bergamot). The company sources its essential oils from a network of 80 small-scale producers in Côte d'Ivoire, revitalizing a production that had been abandoned.

Watch our video report on E'Sens


The Entrepreneurs

E'Sens was created in 2016 by two young Ivorian finance professionals who saw the potential of an industry that had been abandoned in the Bas Sassandra region.

  • Pierre-Yves N'Goran (Co-founder and Executive Director)

He holds a Master's degree in International Business from Hult International Business School, London, England. Between 2011 and 2014, he participated in several professional finance rotation programmes, notably at the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Ace Global Depository. In 2014, he returned to Côte d'Ivoire where he held the position of Credit Analyst at NSIA Banque Côte d'Ivoire for four years. Today, he is co-founder of E'Sens and is in charge of running the business full time as the company's Executive Director.

  • Karl Akueson-Gannyi (Co-Founder)

After graduating in chemical engineering with a Master's degree in Finance in England, he worked for several years at BMO Capital Markets, London (investment bank specialising in mining and oil operations - finance and M&A department). In 2014, he decided to return to Côte d'Ivoire and set up his own business by creating the financial group La Financière de l'Eléphant (LAFINELE), which advises, designs and creates companies to carry out several projects, particularly in mining, agriculture and technological innovation. Karl co-founded the company E'Sens in 2016.


I&P support

E'Sens benefits from the seed funding of the I&P Acceleration in Sahel programme which is implemented in Ivory Coast by Comoé Capital sponsored by I&P. The objectives are :

  • increase the company's efficiency and optimisation of logistics
  • increasing the area of E'Sen plantations
  • support and evaluation of environmental and agronomic issues


Expected Impacts

  • Creation of new jobs
  • Support for the network of small producers with whom E'Sens works



About I&P Acceleration in the Sahel

The I&P Accélération au Sahel program, supported by the European Union, is aimed at start-ups and small businesses in the Sahel region, with one main objective: to give them access to the financing and skills they need to enable their development and thus promote job creation. Find out more →


About Comoé Capital

Comoé Capital is the first impact investment fund dedicated to financing and supporting Ivorian SMEs and start-ups. Headed by Issa Sidibé, Comoé Capital is the fifth African fund sponsored by Investisseurs & Partenaires as part of the I&P Développement 2 fund. The fund network currently includes a fund in Niger (Sinergi Niger), Burkina Faso (Sinergi Burkina), Senegal (Teranga Capital) and Madagascar (Miarakap). Comoé Capital website → 

In portfolio since: 2020


Sector of activity: Agriculture
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: Sinergi Burkina
Entrepreneur: Marcel Ouédraogo
Country: Burkina Faso
A propos:

Siatol is a young soybean processing company founded in 2010 by Marcel Ouédraogo.

Siatol processes soybeans into two high-value products: soya cake, sold to poultry producers, and soya oil, for household consumption. Siatol soya oil is known for its gustatory and nutritional qualities (the oil is made without GMO and is free of cholesterol). Siatol is the only company in Burkina to locally produce soya oil. 

Siatol currently works with more than 3,000 smallholders and strengthens the support program set up by APME2A by providing seeds and small equipment to producers, by allowing technical follow-up and setting up evaluation meetings.


The entrepreneur

Marcel Ouédraogo worked ten years in the sector of soy production before devoting himself exclusively to Siatol, with the objective of developing new opportunities for small producers and strengthening the national production of soya oil.

Graduated from the Université Polytechnique of Bobo Dioulasso, Marcel Ouédraogo is an agro-economic engineer, specialized on rural development issues. In December 2004, he joins the CIDR (International Center of Development and Research), a French association implementing development programs in several Sub-Saharan countries. Marcel Ouédraogo notably works on the ESOP program, focused on the Burkinabe soy production sector. In 2008, the CIDR partners with the NGO APME2A, founded in 2004 and dedicated to agricultural SMEs in Burkina.

Alongside his work within the NGO, Marcel Ouédraogo developed an economical model that would be better suited for small producers, while competition in the soya sector becomes stronger in Burkina: “the very small enterprises promoted by the programme could not produce soybean oil, considering the technical constraints and the quality requirements to be satisfied. Our objective with Siatol is to remove entry barriers and ensure outlets to small producers”


Partnership with Sinergi Burkina

Siatol is the first investment of Sinergi Burkina, an investment fund dedicated to small enterprises and start-ups in Burkina Faso. Several objectives have been set:

• Improve the structure of the company

• Reinforce the production chain

• Improve the productivity of the producers

Expected Impacts

• In the medium term, Siatol could work with about 10,000 local producers

About Sinergi Burkina

Created in 2014, Sinergi Burkina is the first impact investment fund dedicated to financing and supporting SMEs and start-ups in Burkina Faso. Headed by Job Zongo, Sinergi Burkina is the second investment fund sponsored by Investisseurs & Partenaires as part of the I&P Développement 2 fund. The fund network currently includes a fund in Niger (Sinergi Niger), Côte d'Ivoire (Comoé Capital), Senegal (Teranga Capital) and Madagascar (Miarakap).  → To learn more about Sinergi Burkina

In portfolio since: 2015

Eden Tree

Sector of activity: Agriculture
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: IPAE 1
Entrepreneur: Catherine Krobo-Edusei
Employees: 69
Country: Ghana
A propos:

For over 15 years, Eden Tree Limited has been the leading independent provider of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in Ghana.

The company buys fresh produce, cleans, packs and distributes it to retail, wholesale, and catering clients. Eden Tree currently supplies a variety of over 80 vegetables and fruits from over 375 outgrower farming families. 


The Entrepreneur

Catherine Krobo Edusei started Eden Tree in 1997 on her return to Ghana from the UK, where she worked as an administrator in a bank for 7 years. She has since demonstrated a strong passion and track record for growing the enterprise and engaging external funding and capacity-building to support business expansion. She is nationally recognized in Ghana as a strong promoter of women in business and received the 2013 national award from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Ghana for “outstanding contribution towards nation-building”. 


Partnership with I&P

I&P committed alongside Eden Tree to:

• Increase the company's total sales volume and profitability 

• Grow and diversify its set of customers and channel partners 

• Increase reliability, cost-competitiveness and quality raw material supply 


Expected Impacts

• Increase its output from 1 to 4 tons per day to supply underserved markets 

• Directly impacting the lives of 2,000 family members in rural communities 

• Contribute to food safety and quality

• Respond to increasing incidence of agro-chemical abuse by farmers 

• Ensure that smallholders undertake their activities safely and sustainably 


In portfolio since: 2015

Indian Ocean Trepang (IOT)

Sector of activity: Agriculture
Status: Investissement en capital
Associed fund: IPAE 1
Entrepreneur: Jaco Chan Kit Waye and Olivier Méraud
Employees: 152
Country: Madagascar
A propos:

Indian Ocean Trepang (IOT) is a Malagasy company specialized in the breeding and export of sea cucumbers. Local fishermen are associated with its activities, allowing them to generate additional income. The company actively contributes to preserving marine wildlife & fighting against overfishing.


IOT breeds sea cucumbers in the South of Madagascar. This specie’s reproduction remains scarcely human-engineered because of a high mortality rate during the early life stages. IOT’s growing technique was developed by a team of Malagasy scientists, being the only company in Madagascar to control the process. Sufficiently mature, larvae are ceased to neighboring fishermen who raise them to maturity before re-selling them to IOT to be dried, packed and exported.

This specie does not require any additional food but the natural waste found in the sand. Thus, their breeding does not have any other incident on their natural environment apart from clearing the water.


Indian Ocean Trepang is one of the company featured by the project Small is Powerful


The Team

Jaco Chan Kit Waye is Manager of Copefrito SA and Chairman of the Seafood Export Companies Association. In 1995 he founded Copefrito which exports squids and calamari to Europe.

Olivier Méraud works since 2004 with Copefrito as an operational officer. He has been a Merchant Navy captain and worked in fishing and seafood business for 12 years. He created Madagascar Seafood in 2005, a crab, squid and lobster export company.


Partnership with I&P

I&P committed alongside with IOT

• To help the company improve its GIS

• To finance the farm site construction



• 152 jobs created or maintained over 6 years, including 77 permanent positions and 11 as technicians or managers

• Pilot project in the sea cucumbers breeding with good prospects to be reproduced

• Steady revenue-generating activity for the local fishermen and neighboring villages

• Awareness raised on the wild specie over-exploitation and repopulation of the natural stocks


In portfolio since: 2012
En portefeuille depuis


Sector of activity: Agriculture
Status: Sortie
Associed fund: IPDEV1
Entrepreneur: Stéphane Philizot, Njaka Ravelomanantsoa and Narisoa Razakasolo
Employees: 18
Country: Madagascar
A propos:

PhileoL is a Malagasy company established in the south of the island where it breeds and transforms ricin seeds into oil. After transformation the oil is exported abroad to be used in cosmetic and industry. Phileol brings at stake a strong social and environmental impact while collaborating with more than 700 families to collect and grow the seeds, ensuring them strong revenue and steady employment while the region remains one of the poorest of the island.

With regards to this social project, Phileol has elaborated and signed a Social Code while collaborating with many institutional actors and NGOs like the WWF, the UNPD or else EFA, a local initiative to enhance social improvement in rural areas. Besides, Phileol is also committed in valuating southern rural lands with various projects consisting in clearing and cultivating them.



Stéphane Philizot is a chemical engineer; he left the international firm in which he was in charge for 15 years of innovation and raw material treatment, persuaded that the enterprise model would work as a development tool, to settle in Madagascar.

Nary Razakasolo combines experience in both oil-making agriculture and audit. He created MAD’OIL, a company that produced and sell essential oils before he co-founded PhileoL where he manages logistics, financial and commercial tasks.

Njaka Ravelomanantsoa is an agronomist who worked for 17 years for private companies, NGO’s and research offices within the rural world. He is now Technical Manager at PhileoL where he supervises the collect and the transformation.




I&P committed alongside PhileoL

• To finance the purchase of a press

• To undertake missions of technical assistance

• To help building the financial, administrative and accountant structure



• More than 700 families earn their living on PhileoL seed collect

• 225 000 000 Ariary (65 950 euros) paid to the smallholders to buy the seeds (without any intermediary)

• 26 supervisors trained and operational while 20 farmers have been trained and equipped for seed production

• 272 farmers accompanied to gather and structure their activity

• 38,2 Ha of land cleared including 13,9 ha seeded

• 3500Ha of non-arable lands valued thanks to the seed collecting activity




In portfolio since: 2008


Sector of activity: Agriculture
Status: Sortie
Associed fund: IPDEV1
Entrepreneur: Jean-Marie Olicard, Groupe CCDI
Employees: 34
Country: Cameroon
A propos:

Kawtal is an agribusiness company based in Cameroon, specialized in corn production.

In 2009, I&P acquired 40% of SAGEX, an agribusiness company producing corn on a fully-mechanized and rationalized processing plant. In 2014, Sagex merged with Kawtal Ndmeri, a neighboring exploitation in order to double the production and start processing baby feeding flours.

Though agriculture is a key sector to Cameroon’s economy (up to 40% of the GDP), it suffers from a lack of mechanization and production rationalization which affects its profitability and production volumes. Thus, local corn farming is highly insufficient to cover the current market needs. Cameroon is every year a net corn importer, which implies high costs for local consumers because of transportation and importation costs. Kawtal intends to fill the needs of this local market with a better-mastered production and distribution chain.

Kawtal has developed a partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, so as to enhance the agricultural potential of the region.



I&P committed alongside with Kawtal:

• To start the company’s activity based on mechanizing an old production site

• To finance the equipment and inputs

• To finance a 200ha increase of the exploited field



• 34 jobs created or maintained

• Participation in local food security


In portfolio since: 2009


Sector of activity: Agriculture
Status: Sortie
Associed fund: IPDEV1
Employees: 112
Country: Cameroon
A propos:

Biotropical is a company producing and exporting biological tropical fruits (mangoes, bananas, pineapple, papayas…) which are exported in fresh, frozen or dry toward France and other European Union countries. Biotropical is certified by Ecocert.


I&P Partnership

I&P is committed alongside Biotropical:

• To bring a financial support allowing the extension of plantations 

• To improve production with a new factory

• To strengthen the governance scheme by chairing the board

• To provide Biotropical with commercial inputs

• To undertake technical assistance missions in management, commercial and financial fields



• 112 jobs created or kept, including 40% women

• Around a hundred of small local producers are trained and accompanied by Biotropical which transform and export their production

• Organic production enhancement in Cameroon, substitution of classical inputs by organic ones 

• Knock-on effect within the sector since 7 local producers went organic after Biotropical arrived on the market

• Environmental-friendly activity


In portfolio since: 2007 (sortie partielle)


Impact Study (2012), in partnership with Planète d’Entrepreneurs