Lire en français

The Land Accelerator is an exciting four-month program and curated network for entrepreneurs who restore degraded forests and farmland. It is anchored by an intensive week-long workshop when the cohort meets in person. There is no fee to join, and the program does not take equity.

The Land Accelerator has been held twice in Africa and will return to Nairobi for the third time in September 2020. Are you an entrepreneur who’s interested to join? If you are working to improve a degraded landscape in Africa – and you want to learn fast and raise money for your venture – then this is the right program for you.


The Land Accelerator’s second African cohort met from September 7-12, 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya. The 14 startups were chosen from 335 applicants and represent 8 African countries. Each received a EUR 3,000 grant in addition to a travel stipend.

Over 100 investors and members of Nairobi’s start-up community joined us at the Demo Day on Sep 12 to meet the entrepreneurs. Missed it? No problem! The full video is below.

2019 Land Accelerator Demo Day

Watch 14 African entrepreneurs whose businesses restore degraded land pitch to a room full of investors.

Posted by Global Restoration Initiative on Thursday, September 12, 2019

These are some highlights from the 2018 cohort in Africa:

  • Green Pot Enterprises received a $300,000 equity investment to build a new factory, in addition to a $300,000 grant for investment readiness.
  • Kalahari Honey pivoted to a new focus. It has since secured two large orders and raised $100,000.
  • Lentera secured a $50,000 loan and won a $10,000 cash prize based on its improved pitch.
  • SA Bamboo has transformed how it works with hundreds of farmers by organizing them into cooperatives.
  • Safi Organics received $55,000 in grants and is expanding to serve an additional 1,000 smallholder farmers.

The Accelerator contributes to African countries’ efforts to bring 100 million hectares of land into restoration through the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) and the Bonn Challenge. There is no fee for the program thanks to the generous support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and DOEN Foundation.

The Land Accelerator will be expanding to South Asia and Latin America in 2020. Details coming soon.

Questions or comments? Reach out to Sofia Faruqi.

Latest stories

2018 Alumni Spotlight: Lentera

At the Transform Africa Summit, hosted by Smart Africa in Kigali, Rwanda on May 14, Lentera Africa was awarded the Afric’up Summit 2019 startup of the year after winning the finals of the pitch competition. The company graduated from the Land Accelerator in 2018. The Afric’up Summit aims to support the emergence of future African champions by promoting their skills, creativity and success stories...

Land Accelerator helps close financing gap for African soil startups

This was originally posted on Impact Alpha by Amy Cortese on September 10. Turning sugarcane waste into cooking fuel. Growing neem trees to make natural pesticides and insect repellants. Providing affordable piped water for smallholder farmers. These are some of the restorative services offered by the startups in this year’s Land Accelerator, a bootcamp program for African entrepreneurs working...

2018 Alumni Spotlight: Kalahari Honey

This article was originally posted on Fledge here. In Botswana, elephants often trample farmland, angering local communities. One 2018 Land Accelerator alumna, Mavis Nduchwa of Kalahari Honey, realized that bees make great fences to keep the wild elephants off of farmland. And the honey that they produce can provide rural communities with a sustainable source of income. Kalahari Honey trains...

Who’s speaking at the 2019 Land Accelerator?

From serial entrepreneurs to investors and technical experts, the speaker lineup that we have put together for our cohort is diverse and experienced. Agnes Manthi, Root CapitalHaving grown up in a farming environment in eastern Kenya, Agnes has been interested in agriculture for a long time. For ten years, she worked in the microfinance industry offering microloans to mostly smallholder...

Introducing our 2019 mentors

We are excited to introduce our mentors for the 2019 cohort of the Land Accelerator! Adam Camenzuli has experience in finance, international trade and has also founded an award-winning social enterprise in East Africa. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), a Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary), a Laureate Global Fellow, a UN Global Accelerator, a Canadian Top 30 Under 30 and has a...

Feedback to Applicants

To our applicants: We wish you all success with your businesses that are creating a greener, more prosperous world. In the spirit of improving your odds of success, we are providing concrete feedback that you can use if you reapply to the Land Accelerator, or if you choose to apply to other programs. Most candidates are eliminated when we review the written applications. Out of the 335 applicants...

Applications up 37% in 2019

The application period for the 2019 Land Accelerator closed on July 8. We received 335 applications for our 2019 cohort! We are impressed by the bold and innovative ways these entrepreneurs are working to restore degraded forests and farmland across Africa. This year’s applicant pool is a highly diverse group of entrepreneurs from a variety of countries, sectors, and backgrounds. Some key...

DOEN Foundation to Support the Land Accelerator

We are excited to announce that the DOEN Foundation will support the 15 African entrepreneurs chosen to participate in the 2019 Land Accelerator, which takes place from September 7 to 12. Each participant will receive €3,000 (approximately $3,365) to cover essential costs that will help enhance their businesses that restore degraded land. Addressing the early-stage capital gap for land...

Young Entrepreneurs See Business Opportunity in Rural Africa’s Degraded Lands

This was originally published on WRI Insights on November 26, 2018. By Sofia Faruqi | World Resources Institute Lire cet article en français. In 2013, Samuel Rigu was looking for a new challenge. Having grown up in a rural Kenyan farming family, he knew that farms in his village depended on synthetic fertilizers. On a continent where land degradation has driven millions of people out of...

African Entrepreneurs Shine at World’s First Startup Accelerator for Land Restoration

This was originally posted on the AFR100 website. By Sofia Faruqi, Will Anderson and Emily Averna | World Resources Institute Twelve energized entrepreneurs from seven African countries – leaders within their own communities – met over four days to grow their companies and create thousands of jobs in rural Africa. What united them? They are all in the business of restoring degraded land across...