In 2018, World Resources Institute (WRI) launched the Land Accelerator Africa, the world’s first training and mentorship programme explicitly targeted toward businesses that restore degraded forests, farmland and pasture.
To support the African Forest Landscape Restoration (AFR100) Initiative’s goal of restoring 100 million hectares of land by 2030, the Land Accelerator provides entrepreneurs across Africa with mentorship and networking opportunities, technical training and workshops to build up their storytelling and pitching skills.
Participants leave the programme more empowered to connect with potential investors so that they can take their business to the next stage of growth. The programme has attracted nearly 3,400 applicants in Africa since 2018, and its 196 alumni from 45 countries report that they have created 9,000 jobs, worked with 250,000 farmers and restored 201,000 hectares.
Since 2021, WRI and its partners at AFR100 and Fledge have invited a cohort of 100 top land restoration entrepreneurs from across the continent to join us for a virtual business accelerator. Restoration entrepreneurs are invited to apply from all sub-Saharan African countries, free of charge.
The Top 100 will benefit from the following:
- Three months of exclusive weekly training from experts;
- Three months of access to Fledge’s online lessons for start-ups;
- Templates to create content to help your business thrive;
- Weekly office hours with mentors who will lend their expertise;
- Weekly networking sessions to speak with and learn from other entrepreneurs in your cohort; and
- Those who meet all program attendance requirements will receive a $5000 innovation grant.
By the end of the program, entrepreneurs will have access to training and tools to complete the following:
- A compelling one-minute pitch to hook investors, customers and potential partners;
- A 10 to 12-slide pitch deck targeted toward investors;
- An environmental indicator measurement, management and marketing plan;
- A three- to five-year financial model to visualise their growth projections and to identify capital needs;
- Increased confidence in their business’s mission and operations; and
- The top 100 entrepreneurs who complete the virtual training are invited to apply for a Land Accelerator investment pack, which will be awarded to the Top 15 entrepreneurs.
Recipients of the investment packs will benefit from the following:
- An innovation grant of at least USD 5,000 each;
- A coaching meeting with a Land Accelerator organiser to develop an investment and innovation grant plan;
- A 90-minute group session with members of the Land Accelerator mentor network, who provided tailored feedback;
- A one-on-one call with a Land Accelerator mentor to provide feedback and a thorough review of all the materials submitted throughout the programme;
- The opportunity to present a three-minute business pitch at the virtual or in-person Land Accelerator Demo Day brings together awardees and investors from across the continent; and
- The opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs in person at the Land Accelerator Impact Days in Malawi, held Oct 16-20, 2023, to learn from leading entrepreneurs and trainers.
- Visit here to apply for the programme. Applications close on 31 March 2023.
- Visit here to learn more about the past cohorts.
About the Organisers
World Resources Institute
WRI is a global research organisation that spans more than 60 countries. The Institute’s more than 1,000 experts and staff work with government leaders, community groups, private sector actors and others to turn big ideas into action to sustain and protect the world’s most precious natural resources. For example, through regional initiatives like AFR100 and Initiative 20×20, WRI’s Global Restoration Initiative is dedicated to restoring the health of degraded forests and landscapes around the globe for the benefit of people and the planet.
The African Union Development Agency
AUDA-NEPAD serves as the Secretariat of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), an alliance of 30 countries that have committed to restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. In addition, the Secretariat actively supports women and youth entrepreneurs to restore the land.
Fledge is a global network of business accelerators and seed investment funds that help entrepreneurs bring their companies to scale through short, intense programs filled with education, guidance and mentorship. To date, they have invested in over 40 African companies.
The Land Accelerator 2021 and 2022 was funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa. The DOEN Foundation was a founding funder providing seed funding for the first Land Accelerator Africa held in 2018, which allowed the program to develop since.
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