GrowUp Incubator: Sustainable Food Systems in East Africa

Supporting and advancing innovative solutions for sustainable food systems


About GrowUp Incubator

Our GrowUp Incubator focuses on supporting and advancing innovative solutions that have the potential to create substantial environmental and social impact. We’re providing key support to social business entrepreneurs in post-revenue stage. Incubated startups of GrowUp will receive tailored mentorship based on their needs, interactive capacity building workshops and networking opportunities with local partners and peer-to-peer support to share challenges and discover solutions.

We have launched 2022 cohort of our  GrowUp Incubator for social businesses to support and grow skills on early-stage entrepreneurs who have proven their concept and are looking for support on how to scale their social business and become self-sustainable. The cohort will support social business entrepreneurs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi.

Agriculture and food sector has enormous environmental and social footprint in East Africa as well as it is a proven engine for poverty reduction, with about 80% of the region’s population living in rural areas and depending on it for their livelihood. With our 2022 cohort of GrowUp Incubator we will address East Africa’s transformation towards sustainable food systems to enable sustainable agricultural production and support sustainable practices along the whole food value chain; to mitigate climate change and build resilient communities; to encourage renaissance of rural territories; and to enable availability of nutritious and healthy food for the local population.

During the 6-month program, your startup will

  • Refine its partnerships and operational model
  • Analyze the product-market fit for multiple contexts
  • Find viable routes to scale and grow
  • Integrate impact evaluation into the operational model
  • Identify financial sustainability model and financial opportunities


  • Be located in one of our target countries in East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi).
  • Solve a challenge within one or more thematic areas related to food systems. See examples of innovations here.
  • Be beyond the experimentation stage.
  • Has their product/service in the market for 6 months – 3 years
  • Be legally registered or planning on doing it during the incubation program.
  • Be led by a person or by the community (cooperative model).
  • Be able to demonstrate substantial environmental and social impact.
  • Be in pre-seed investment, but post-revenue stage.
  • Have accumulated sales to date of approx. 10,000 – 25,000 USD (Not necessarily profitable yet).
  • Have 2-3 people from the team who will participate in the program.
  • Have regular access to stable internet to participate in mentoring sessions and cohort events.


  • 07 October – 21 November 2021: Open call for applications
  • 22 November – 12 December 2021: Selection of 25 semi-finalists and interviews
  • 13 December – 19 December 2021: Announcement of 25 semi-finalists
  • 21  January – 23 January 2022: Capacity building bootcamp for 25 semi-finalists
  • 24 January 2022: Announcement of 10 selected finalists
  • 24 January – 30 January 2022: Gap analysis calls with 10 finalists
  • 07 February –03 July 2022: Mentorship, workshops, networking for 10 businesses
  • 07 July 2022: Demo Day

Apply until 21st of November 2021:

  • as an entrepreneur, please apply here
  • as a mentor, please review the ToR and apply here


November 21, 2021
Program dates Jan 21 - Jul 7, 2022
OrganizerYunus Environment Hub
Website Visit website
Targets Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda
Sectors Agribusiness, Agritech, Clean technology and energy, Food and beverage, Food production, Packaging
SDG (8)
1. No Poverty, 12. Responsible Consumption and Production, 13. Climate Action, 15. Life on Land, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 7. Affordable and Clean Energy, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth