Village Capital

Innovation for Ecosystem Restoration: Africa 2023

An accelerator for entrepreneurs championing ecosystem restoration throughout sub-Saharan Africa

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About the Program

The Innovation for Ecosystem Restoration Africa 2023, supported by Moody's Corporation, is an accelerator program that will support entrepreneurs promoting ecosystem restoration by addressing deforestation, land degradation, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and adverse climate change, which have emerged as some of the most pressing challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa.

Ecosystem Degradation

Despite sub-Saharan Africa being home to some of the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems, ecosystem degradation remains to be a significant environmental problem in the region owing to natural and human-induced disturbances. 

Deforestation, land degradation, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and adverse climate change have emerged as some of the most pressing challenges facing the region which have a far-reaching impact on ecological, economic, and social systems.

Approximately 3.94 million hectares of forests are lost annually in sub-Saharan Africa due to population growth, agricultural expansion, infrastructure development, and illegal logging, while desertification affects around 45% of Africa’s land area. Over 65% of the land in Africa is affected by degradation impacting 40% of the population and 80% of agricultural land affected by depletion of soil nutrients. 

Startups help play a role in alleviating ecosystem degradation challenges given that they employ nearly 45% of the population and generate nearly 33% of GDP in developing countries.

Meet the Cohort

Advisory Board

Alek Drel
Alek Drel
Senior Director, Software Engineering, Moody’s Analytics
Brian Parham
Brian Parham
Program Manager, The Lightsmith Group
Delila Kidanu
Delila Kidanu
Co-founder, Koa
Laura Ellis-Kendrick
Laura Ellis-Kendrick
Senior Director, Moody's Analytics
Niraj Varia
Niraj Varia
CEO, iProcure
Owusu Akoto
Owusu Akoto
CEO, FreezeLink
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Eligibility

We are looking for (for-profit) startups building locally viable ecosystem restoration solutions. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be a for-profit entity and have legal incorporation and operations in at least one sub-Saharan African country.

  • Have a market-based solution that tackles ecosystem restoration challenges in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Have at least a minimum viable product (MVP), some traction under their belt,  and raised less than $1M in equity.

  • Have meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, it can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships).

  • Have at least one full-time founder based in sub-Saharan Africa.

Who Should Apply

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Reforestation

We're looking for solutions that engage in reforestation activities such as planting trees and other vegetation in degraded areas to restore their ecological state and provide habitat for wildlife.

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Regenerative agriculture, Soil conservation, biodiversity conservation

We're recruiting solutions that help restore soil health and promote biodiversity such as terracing, crop rotation, cover cropping to restore soil fertility and reduce soil erosion.

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Wetland restoration and water conservation

We're on the look out for solutions that restore wetland ecosystems such as providing water filtration, restoring water flows, planting native vegetation and carbon sequestration services to improve the quality of water and biodiversity

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Sustainable land use practices and sustainable agriculture

We're looking for solutions that engage in sustainable land use practices including rotational grazing, conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, and agroforestry.

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Climate tech

We're looking for companies that use technology to develop solutions to address climate change and promote sustainability. Climate tech solutions include solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and promote renewable energy.

Benefits

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Training and Continued Learning

Access to live and asynchronous sessions tailored to a virtual learning environment to help their companies identify early milestones and prepare for their next round of capital (if relevant) or big expansion.

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Networking

Startups will connect with a diverse and inclusive network of mentors, founders, and investors.

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Mentorship

Ability to meet with and receive mentorship from prominent investors, potential strategic partners and customers, and other founders.

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Advice

Startups will participate in a virtual investor forum and mock board meetings with representatives from financial institutions, corporates, experienced entrepreneurs, and investors that can help their company scale.

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Financial Analysis

Access to an investment analyst who will coach you one on one on building a financial model, identifying unit economics, and using financial metrics to drive both the business and investor diligence.

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Exposure

Get featured on Village Capital’s program website and other collateral.

TImeline

April 3, 2023

Applications Open

May 14, 2023

Applications Close

July 2023

Cohort Announced

August - September, 2023

Program Workshops

Learn more about mentoring with Village Capital.