A new acceleration program was launched at the Seed Africa Symposium 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya to help green entrepreneurs looking to take their innovations to scale in Africa.
The 2015 Green Pioneer Acceleration Program is open to startups in Kenya or South Africa and aims at startups who 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.
According to Ben White of VC4Africa, ‘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.’
The three partners Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos will of
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.
– Application process runs to the 1st of December 2014;
– Selection 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 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.