A new acceleration program was announced for green entrepreneurs today at the Seed Africa Symposium 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. This ambitious, continental acceleration program targets green entrepreneurs looking to take their innovations to scale in Africa.
Are you an entrepreneur working on a highly scalable product or services that mitigates the effects of climate change? Does your business introduce renewable energy sources to market or reduce energy consumption? Maybe you are working on a different innovation that makes our society and planet both greener and healthier? If this is case, consider joining the 2015 Green Pioneer Acceleration Program and participate in either the Kenya (apply here) or South Africa (apply here) cohort. For more details about eligibility see the Green Pioneer Accelerator Brochure.
The Green Pioneer Accelerator Program has been developed for early stage companies looking to position themselves for scale. Applicants should either have a working prototype with clear market demand and/or already be generating revenue. This program is designed to support entrepreneurs who have ambitions to take the next step in growing their business to a national and regional scale.
Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos offer a comprehensive program that will take your business from ‘market proof’ to ‘ready for investment’. The program seeks to position companies for scale by getting their financials and pitch deck in shape, and preparing them for fundraising conversations with investors. This program combines a rigorous curriculum with practical experience shared by successful entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. Graduates will also have access to over 600 private sector investors and tap into the combined networks and knowledge of Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos.
Asked about why Hivos initiated this collaboration, Program Manager Leo Soldaat explained, ‘Hivos is very concerned about the environment. We see many problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and degradation of soils. In order to address these issues, Hivos wants to co-create private sector driven green innovation. We continue to support green pioneers working to tackle these constraints by positioning them for growth and improving their access to capital. We see the Green Pioneer Accelerator Program as an important next step in developing ventures in these markets, further extending our work into these areas.’
Johnni Kjelsgaard, the Founder and Director of the Nairobi based accelerator Growth Africa adds, ‘The curriculum we have put together looks at a company in a holistic way, and we take a non-linear approach to the entrepreneurial process. What does this mean? We recognize that each company is unique in its formation. Our program looks at the strengths and weaknesses of each participant and then adapts the program to fit their needs. This is a different approach that shows results.’ Maximilian Pichulik, Partner of South African based Impact Amplifier adds, ‘This program is about taking promising green entrepreneurs and getting them ready for investment, with fundable business plans. We have a long track record of successful deal making and this is the next step to accelerating innovation in the green space. Really we are breaking open a new era for green innovation and entrepreneurship. ‘
Upon successful graduation, the 10 enterprises in each program will be showcased to a group of investors including impact-focused as well as impact-agnostic angel investors and early stage VC funds. The showcase will be done through VC4Africa’s online platform and culminates with interested parties participating in a physical 1-day networking session in both the East Africa and Southern Africa locations.
– Application process runs to the 1st of December 2014;
– Selection and announcement will be made 15th of December 2014;
– Initial diagnostics and program prep will take place between December 15th, 2014 and January 15th, 2015;
– The Acceleration program begins January 15th, 2015;
– Graduation is in April, 2015;
– Selected participants will receive deal making support the rest of 2015.
VC4Africa will be running the applications process for both accelerators. This is another way the online community platform VC4Africa seeks to connect entrepreneurs with quality programs and investment opportunities. Ben White of VC4Africa says, ‘We have a lot of entrepreneurs and are constantly looking at ways to offer them better support. This is really a focused effort to boost those entrepreneurs working on scaling green innovations. With this program we are able to help position these companies for growth and prepare them for raising outside capital. We are looking for the top entrepreneurs from across the continent to step forward and take advantage of our combined knowledge and network.’
Feel free to contact Ben White at [email protected] with any questions.