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14 African Startups Selected For Second Cohort of Land Accelerator Program

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Land Accelerator

The Land Accelerator is a highly selective training program and curated network for entrepreneurs who restore degraded forests and farmland.

The second cohort of the Land Accelerator will meet from September 7-12, 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya. The 14 startups were chosen from 335 applicants and represent 8 African countries.

“That signals to us there is a strong interest in being part of the solution and working towards a sustainable Africa by tackling climate change and at the same time creating jobs,” says Sophia Faruqi, who designed and manages the Land Accelerator program for World Resources Institute (WRI).

Launched in 2018 by in partnership with global accelerator network Fledge, the program addresses the dual challenges of climate change and poverty by supporting sustainable businesses that create local jobs.

Sustainable land and farming practices are key to reducing emissions and meeting climate goals. They also add up to an estimated $2.3 trillion economic opportunity that could provide over 70 million jobs globally by 2030, with much of that opportunity being centred in developing countries, according to a recent report.

The startups:

1.) Addax (Niger) grows and processes gum arabic to make high-value resin and livestock feed while adding trees to an arid landscape.

2.) Agromyx (Ghana) manufactures freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and grains to stem post-harvest losses and create instant food products.

3.) Apinec (Ethiopia) produces honey and beeswax for export to Europe and has trained over 2,000 farmers in beekeeping methods.

4.) E3D (Niger) grows neem trees to make natural pesticides, insect-repelling soaps, disinfectants, and related products.

5.) EcoH Holdings (Kenya) converts organic waste into pelleted fertilizer to enhance soil health and increase food production.

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6.) E-moto Limited (Kenya) turns sugarcane waste into biofuel for cooking. This reduces pressure on forests and lowers indoor air pollution.

7.) Expression Global (Kenya) offers affordable piped water for irrigation to smallholder farmers, making them more productive and climate-resilient.

8.) Kencoco (Kenya) makes charcoal briquettes from discarded coconut husks in coastal Kenya, providing a sustainable alternative to fuelwood.

9.) Kofar (Kenya) sells organic fertilizers that reverse the damage done by chemicals and improve soil health.

10.) Rejuvenate Umhlaba! (Zimbabwe) is working to establish a thriving market for land restoration offsets in Africa.

11.) Shekina (Rwanda) dries edible cassava leaves to produce a new, shelf-stable, nutritious source of food.

12.) Shoots & Roots (South Africa) is a commercial nursery that has grown over 200,000 trees over the past year.

13.) Tilaa Ltd (Ghana) produces honey and cashews by working with local farmers through an integrated plantation.

14.) Tree Resource Enterprises (Uganda) supplies tree seeds and seedlings to clients interested in agroforestry and large-scale restoration.

The startups all fall in the “missing middle,” Faruqi, Yet they need capital to scale.

The four-month accelerator offers a mix of technical support and mentoring to help the companies become investor-ready. On Thursday, the program culminates with a Demo Day in Nairobi where the companies will present to investors.

The Accelerator is backed by the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), an alliance of countries dedicated to beginning the restoration of 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, and The DOEN Foundation, which provides each attendee with a stipend to cover costs.

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