In 2018, World Resources Institute (WRI) launched the Land Accelerator Africa, the world’s first training and mentorship program targeted specifically toward businesses that restore degraded forests, farmland and pasture.
To support the 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 program more empowered to connect with potential investors so that they can take their business to the next stage of growth. The program has attracted nearly 1,400 applicants in Africa since 2018, and its 104 alumni from 34 countries report that they have created 11,200 jobs, worked with 56,000 farmers and restored 127,000 hectares.
What does the program look like?
In 2021, WRI and our partners at AFR100 and Fledge took a novel approach to the Land Accelerator Africa. We expanded the size of our cohort to the top 100 entrepreneurs from across the continent to join us for an all-virtual business accelerator. Restoration entrepreneurs were invited to apply from all sub-Saharan African countries, free of charge.
The Top 100 benefited from:
3 months of exclusive weekly trainings from experts.
3 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.
By the end of the program, entrepreneurs accessed the trainings and tools that they needed to complete:
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 visualize their growth projections and to identify capital needs.
Increased confidence in their business’s mission and operations.
The top 100 entrepreneurs also had the opportunity to apply for a Land Accelerator investment pack, which an expert panel awarded to the top entrepreneurs.
Recipients of the investment packs benefited from:
An innovation grant of $5,000 or more.
A coaching meeting with a Land Accelerator organizer 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 program.
The opportunity to present a three-minute business pitch at the virtual Land Accelerator Impact Days, a two-day event that brings together the awardees and investors from across the continent.
The opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs in-person for a week-long bootcamp in Nairobi, Kenya and learn from both leading entrepreneurs and trainers.
Will you design and implement a nature based solution, and positively contribute to the climate, biodiversity, and quality of life? In the Nature Based Solutions Challenge, you are challenged to come up with a nature-based solution and to implement it. A jury will select the teams that receive funding (2500 euro) and mentoring from experts to make their project into a success!
Nature based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits. Nature-based solutions are part of the answer to the biggest challenges of the 21st century, being climate change and biodiversity loss.
In this challenge, your team will work on a nature-based solution in a local context addressing climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and biodiversity restoration, and thereby improving the quality of life. Furthermore, societal and economic impact are to be addressed too.
You can participate with a team of up to 5 members. It’s recommended to form a team of students with different disciplinary backgrounds. Fresh graduates are welcome to join the Challenge, though the graduation should take place not earlier than academic year 2020/2021. Fresh graduates should not exceed 20% of team members.
You can apply by submitting a Concept Note (a format will be provided on this page) on your envisioned project, focusing on nature based solutions. We will open registration as from mid February until April 13 (deadline of registration).
More than 90 percent of global food production depends on soil. It provides habitats for soil organisms and is the most important terrestrial carbon sink on earth. However, fertile land is being lost to agriculture and the quality of soils is increasingly deteriorating in many areas.
This development must be halted by using land resources sustainably and preserving existing agricultural land. Farmers must also be granted long-term and secure access to agricultural land through ownership, tenancy and use rights in order to enable them to use land sustainably. Only in doing so will we be able to feed the growing world population, stop climate change, and reduce the loss of biodiversity. There is an urgent need for the international community to develop and implement viable and practical solutions.
The GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub (TRADE Hub) is a five-year research project (2019–2024) with the main goal to address the intractable challenge of sustainable global trade implementation. The research project is funded by the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI GCRF) and conducted by around 50 organizations in 15 countries led by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP–WCMC). Ongoing research activities in nine countries focus on trade in various agricultural commodities and wildlife species.