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.
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 took the initiative to initiate this program, 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 and support private sector driven green innovation. We continue to support green pioneers seeking to address 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 meeting in both the East Africa and Southern Africa locations.