The Land Accelerator South Asia

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The Land Accelerator team will be announcing the 2021 cohort by July 1, 2021. We heartily thank all of those who have applied this year.

Startup founders may start their applications for the 2022 cohort here at any time.

Check out why the Land Accelerator supports businesses that restore land and get to know a few of the community members and organizers of the Land Accelerator at the video below.

  • Top 60 companies join us for exclusive weekly training and feedback on your progress
  • $3,000Euro Innovation Grants will be awarded to the top 15 companies who participate and grow with us

This year WRI India and Sangam Ventures are collaborating to bring a completely novel approach to the Land Accelerator South Asia. We will select the top 60 to join us for an all-virtual business creation and growth accelerator. Join this wide community of innovators committed to restoring land!

The top 60 receive access to:

  • 3 months of weekly, exclusive, live weekly trainings
  • Templates to help your business thrive
  • Weekly group office hours to discuss how to apply the new concepts to your business
  • Weekly networking sessions to connect with and learn from other land restoration entrepreneurs in the accelerator
  • Opportunity to apply for one of 15 Land Accelerator Investment Packs

Additionally, all participants will have the opportunity to apply for a Land Accelerator Investment Pack, which will be awarded to the top 15 entrepreneurs. Recipients of the investment packs will receive: 

  • A 3,000 EURO Innovation Grant
  • An investment coaching meeting with a Land Accelerator organizer to develop your investment and innovation grant plan
  • A 90-minute group mentorship session with members of the Land Accelerator mentor network who will provide tailored feedback and suggestions to further develop your business
  • The opportunity to present your 3-minute business pitch at the Land Accelerator Demo Day, an event that brings together the 15 grant recipients and business and social investors from across South Asia.

For complete program details, please take a look at our program announcement.

KEY DATES FOR 2021

Application Submission DeadlineApril 30
Application Review PeriodApr 30-May 25
Top 60 Entrepreneurs AnnouncedJuly 1
Land Accelerator Program for 60 companies (Wed)July 7 – Sept 22
Investment Pack Application Submission Deadline Sept 26
Top 15 Investment Pack Recipients AnnouncedSept 30
Pre-Demo Day preparation for the top 15Oct 1 – Oct 31
Demo DayNov 10-11
Follow up and innovation grant disbursement for top 15Nov 17

Who are Land Restoration Entrepreneurs:  

Land Restoration Entrepreneurs are founders whose businesses restore the land. Our 2020 cohort members from South Asia are visible on the Companies page. Yes, financially sustainable and profitable businesses can also restore land!  A sampling of business models we have identified around the globe include: Farms that incorporate trees onto their land; growing restorative plants and trees (such as bamboo or cashew trees) on severely degraded lands, thus restoring the water table and increasing soil nutrients; the business of reforestation that creates forests for both private and public clients; agroforestry and silvopasture which adds trees to the landscape of traditional agriculture lands; creation of organic fertilizer, pesticides and other nature-based soil amendments; technologies that lessen the demand for firewood, such as bio-fuel cookstoves; business models that support the profitability of maintaining forests, such as eco-tourism, bioprospecting, and sustainable forest products such as honey, specialty seeds and berries, mushrooms, oils and more. 

Why Land Restoration: 

Addressing the High-Level Segment of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on September 9th, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that “India would raise its ambition of the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status from 21 Million Hectares to 26 Million Hectares between now and 2030”. Worldwide over 3.2 billion people are at risk from land degradation. 96.4 million hectares of land in India, which is nearly 30% of the country’s landmass, is facing land degradation, resulting in lower yields on agricultural land, and land that lacks the ability to support naturally occurring plants and animals.  Other countries’ agricultural sectors are highly affected by land degradation: 75% of Bangladesh’s agricultural land is degraded, in Pakistan 61%; Sri Lanka 44%; Afghanistan 33%; Nepal 26%; and Bhutan 10% (G. Singh, 2017).

Agroforestry in Nilgiri Mountains, India

Land Restoration in India and South Asia:

India has nearly 140 million hectares of potential for forest protection and landscape restoration (around 43% of India’s landmass) that can sequester 3 to 4.3 billion tons of above ground carbon by 2040. Forest protection and landscape restoration can lead to a range of benefits including biodiversity conservation, provisioning of fuelwood, fodder and non-timber forest produce and enhanced livelihood opportunities for local communities.
India’s extensive and varied experience of initiatives for improving forest and tree cover provide a strong foundation for planning programs and projects at scale. Local communities and entrepreneurs play an integral role in protecting forests and restoring forest and tree cover.

Impact of the Land Accelerator: 

Through the Land Accelerator, we build networks and give entrepreneurs time to increase their skills in storytelling and pitching so that they can connect with debt and equity funders who can help them reach the next level. Through expert mentorship, participants will explore new ways of maximizing their business models so that they can compete and grow their customer base, revenue, and environmental impact. Through sector-specific workshops participants will learn about cross cutting themes and best practices targeted towards land-based entrepreneurs such as farmer outreach, last-mile distribution, water management, international environmental certification standards and procedures, agroforestry techniques and conservation farming.  The participants of Land Accelerators often network with one another, becoming each other’s newest clients, and most trusted sounding board for new ideas.  

The Land Accelerator Partners: 

The World Resources Institute is expanding the Land Accelerator to South Asia in partnership with Sangam Ventures. Startup India is a proud co-creating partner. The program is generously funded by the IKEA Foundation


Related Projects

Restoration Opportunities Atlas of India

Scaling Up Good Adaptation Processes