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. 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 market their products more effectively.
Participants, including the entrepreneurs, the trainers, and investors, become part of a network that shares knowledge and technical expertise to support new opportunities for businesses in the sustainable agriculture and forestry sectors.
The Land Accelerator restoration entrepreneurship model is spreading across Africa, making a case for healthy landscapes as a cost-effective option for 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.
335 entrepreneurs applied to the 2019 Land Accelerator,taking place in September in Nairobi, Kenya. With the generous support of the DOEN Foundation, each attendee will receive €3,000 (approximately $3,365) to cover essential costs that will help enhance their businesses.
Watch Accelerator alumnus Addisu Hailu of Ethiopia explain how he has grown his bamboo business into a supplier for Ikea:
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 $50,000 investment based on its improved plan and pitch, while another won a $10,000 cash prize. Learn more here.