Restoring degraded land has the potential to become big business. Entrepreneurs are finding new ways to make money from sustainably managed forests and farms. Some are responding to governmental incentives. Others are responding directly to the market, restoring land to generate new products and services, or to differentiate their offerings from the competition. Such enterprises are breathing new life into unproductive land.
To accelerate these efforts, the World Resources Institute and Fledge partnered in 2018 to create The Land Accelerator. We received 245 applications for 12 spots. To learn more, check out this 4-minute video on last year’s Land Accelerator as well as this blog on the growing restoration business movement in Africa.
These are some of the highlights from the 2018 program:
- The entrepreneurs have increased confidence in their ability to engage investors, negotiate terms and raise capital; two businesses are in advanced discussions with investors met through the Accelerator, while several are in earlier stages of discussion
- One business received a $50,000 investment based on its improved plan and pitch
- One business has transformed how it works with hundreds of farmers
- One business pivoted to a new focus. It has since secured two large orders
We are excited for the second Land Accelerator in 2019. This will be an intense 6-day program to train and mentor entrepreneurs from select African countries, including both business planning and technical lectures, and ending with a Demo Day where participants will pitch to prospective investors.
September 7-12, 2019
The application deadline is Monday, July 8. We are seeking entrepreneurs who are working to improve the ecological function of a degraded landscape. This may include working on climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forestry, reforestation, and non-timber forest products. The Accelerator contributes to African countries’ efforts to bring 100 million hectares of land into restoration through AFR100 and the Bonn Challenge.
Travel costs will be covered for applicants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, and Cameroon. Companies from elsewhere in Africa are also welcome to apply. There is no fee for the program thanks to the generous support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Videos from the 2018 Accelerator
The Business of Planting Trees
Download the report.