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Restoring degraded land has the potential to become big business. Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of market opportunities and government incentives to restore and manage farmland and forests sustainably. From tree-based crops to organic fertilizers to timber alternatives, these businesses are breathing new life into unproductive land.

The Land Accelerator is boosting these efforts. Created by the World Resources Institute and Fledge in 2018, it is the world’s first business accelerator for entrepreneurs focused on land restoration. For our first cohort, we received 245 applications for 12 spots. To learn more, check out this 4-minute video on last year’s Land Accelerator.

The second cohort of The Land Accelerator will run from September 7-12, 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya. This will be an intense 6-day program to train and mentor entrepreneurs from across Africa, including both business education and technical lectures, and ending with a Demo Day where participants will pitch to prospective investors.

The application deadline is Monday, July 8. Applications are welcome in English and French. We will select 15 applicants. The best applicants will be working to improve the ecological function of a degraded landscape in Africa.  This includes but is not limited to climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forestry, reforestation, and non-timber forest products. 

These are some of the highlights from the 2018 program:

  • The entrepreneurs have increased confidence in their ability to engage investors, negotiate terms and raise capital; two businesses are in advanced discussions with investors met through the Accelerator, while several are in earlier stages of discussion
  • One business received a $50,000 investment based on its improved plan and pitch, while another won a $10,000 cash prize
  • One business has transformed how it works with hundreds of farmers
  • One business pivoted to a new focus. It has since secured two large orders


Travel costs will be covered for the participants. There is no fee for the program thanks to the generous support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Accelerator contributes to African countries’ efforts to bring 100 million hectares of land into restoration through the African Forest Landscapes Restoration (AFR100) and the Bonn Challenge.

Questions or comments? Reach out to Sofia Faruqi.

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