From boosting agricultural yields to creating jobs and fighting climate change, there are multiple benefits to making degraded land healthy again. Landscape restoration creates environmental and economic benefits by revitalizing ecosystems and rural communities.
Across the world, companies with a wide range of business models are making money from planting trees and transforming agriculture.
These restoration businesses are proving that restoring degraded forests and agricultural lands is not only good for the planet but a good business opportunity as well.
How can the movement to restore land make use of this unique opportunity and expand to its full potential?
Entrepreneurs are the secret weapon. WRI’s Global Restoration Initiative and Fledge created the Land Accelerator to train and support entrepreneurs whose companies restore degraded land. By fostering entrepreneurship, this first-of-its-kind program provides a cost-effective approach to restore – and develop – rural areas across Africa.
The valuable network of business and investment opportunities that the Land Accelerator is building can also help accelerate restoration across Africa. There are thousands of inspiring restoration entrepreneurs out there, and nearly 600 have already applied to the Land Accelerator.
How does it work?
In rural areas, where producing agricultural commodities on restored land is often cost-effective, entrepreneurs face limited access to capital and technical expertise.
The solution: The Land Accelerator, through its week-long bootcamps, empowers African entrepreneurs to pitch impact investors and sell their products more effectively.
Participants, including the entrepreneurs, the trainers, and investors, become part of a network that shares knowledge and technical expertise.
The Land Accelerator restoration entrepreneurship model is spreading across Africa, making a case for healthy landscapes as a cost-effective path toward sustainable development. The Accelerator is also 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.
Watch Accelerator alumnus Addisu Hailu of Ethiopia explain how he has grown his bamboo business into a supplier for Ikea:
The 2019 Land Accelerator | Nairobi, Kenya | September 2019
Out of the 335 businesses that applied to the 2019 Land Accelerator, 14 entrepreneurs from 8 African countries joined us in Nairobi. After a week of training from investors, alumni, and technical experts, they pitched to a room full of investors and entrepreneurs. Watch their pitches here!
Investment Workshop | Niamey, Niger | March 2019
WRI convened 11 Nigerien restoration entrepreneurs to accelerate investment in the country’s promising agriculture sector. Over this two-day workshop, the participants learned how to integrate resilience to climate change into their business models and present their companies to impact investors.
The 2018 Land Accelerator | Nairobi, Kenya | December 2018
The first Land Accelerator brought together 12 restoration entrepreneurs from across Africa to Nairobi to learn how to scale up their businesses. Some have already seen success: One business received a $600,000 in investment to build a new factory, while another won a $10,000 cash prize for its pitch. Learn more here.