LILONGWE, Malawi, April 04, 2021 (AEJ) - Africa's land restoration entrepreneurs will this year get a major financial boost when they will be awarded US$5,000 launchpad grant. The move, is in support of AFR100, a pan African ecosystem initiative aimed at restoring 100 million hectares of degraded landscape come 2030.
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.
Land accelerator provides entrepreneurs across Africa with mentorship and networking opportunities, technical training, to build up their storytelling and pitching skills.
The program has attracted nearly 700 applicants in Africa, and its alumni report that they have created 2,200 jobs, worked with 56,000 farmers, restored 38,000 hectares, and grown million trees. Participants leave the program more empowered to connect with potential investors so that they can take their business to the next stage of growth.
However, in 2021 AUDA – NEPAD the development of the African Union, World Resources Institute and Fledge are expanding the size of beneficiary cohort to 100 entrepreneurs from across the continent to an all-virtual business accelerator. Potential restoration entrepreneurs were invited to apply from all Sub-Saharan African countries, free of charge.
The selected 100 entrepreneurs will among other things benefit from three months of exclusive weekly trainings from experts, access to Fledge’s online lessons for start-up, templates to create content to help their business thrive They will also access weekly office hours with mentors who will lend their expertise, networking sessions to speak with and learn from other entrepreneurs in their cohort.
The first land accelerator brought together 12 restoration entrepreneurs from across Africa to Nairobi to learn how to scale up their businesses. Some have already seen success.
Some of the last beneficiairies include Kencoco in Kenya that makes charcoal briquettes from discarded coconut husks in coastal Kenya, providing a sustainable alternative to fuelwood. seed.uno/enterprise-profiles/kencoco-limited
In Zimbabwe Rejuvenate Umhlaba has been working to establish a thriving market for land restoration offsets in Africa. While Ghanaian Tilaa Ltd produces honey and cashews by working with local farmers through an integrated plantation. tilaaltd.com.
Worldwide over 3.2 billion people are at risk from land degradation. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that three million hectares of forest are lost and 65 percent of land is impacted by degradation in Africa annually.
Nearly two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, which hinders sustainable economic development and resilience to climate change. As a result, Africa has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent: more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) of degraded forest landscapes that can be restored. The potential benefits include improved food and water security, biodiversity protection, climate change resilience, and economic growth.
The Land Accelerator in Africa is led by World Resources Institute in participation with AFR100. Fledge is the knowledge partner, providing world class skills-building and networking.
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