What is the Land Accelerator Africa?
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.