The Land Accelerator – Latin America

Applications will open soon. The Land Accelerator will be held in Mexico City in September 2020.

The Land Accelerator is a 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. The accelerator aims to build networks and skills necessary to scale businesses. There is no fee to join, and the program does not take equity. The inaugural Land Accelerator is coming to Mexico City in early September 2020. 

Why Land Restoration: 

Worldwide over 3.2 billion people are at risk from land degradation.   The report, The Economic Case for Landscape Restoration in Latin America finds that achieving Initiative 20×20’s goal of restoring 20 million hectares of land in Latin America and the Caribbean could yield net benefits of at least $23 billion over 50 years, an amount equivalent to about 10% of the value of food exports from the region. Degraded land results in lower yields on agricultural land, and wastelands lacking in the ability to support naturally occurring plants and animals.  

Who are Land Restoration Entrepreneurs:  

Land Restoration Entrepreneurs are founders whose businesses restore the land. 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. 

Impact of the Land Accelerator: 

Through the Land Accelerator, we build networks and give entrepreneurs the opportunity 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.  

How you can get involved:  

We are currently recruiting qualified business leaders, agricultural leaders, and investors to get involved as mentors, presenters, and venture judges. We are also seeking companies that would like to sponsor naming rights to a reception, or a grant prize to a judge-selected entrepreneur. For either of these options, please email Amanda, amanda.gant@wri.org.

The Land Accelerator Latin America Partners: 

The Land Accelerator in Latin America is led by World Resources Institute and Initiative 20×20.

World Resources Institute:  WRI is an environmental non-profit with over 1000 team members and offices in eight countries, and three offices in India. WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. We focus on seven urgent global challenges that must be addressed to reduce poverty, grow economies and protect natural systems: Climate, energy, food, forest, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. The creation of the Land Accelerator seeks to engage the private sector in financially and environmentally sustainable ways to restore land. Land restoration has the largest potential of any one method for mitigating global warming through capturing carbon.  www.wri.org  

Initiative 20×20 is a country-led effort to bring 20 million hectares of land in Latin America and the Caribbean into restoration by 2020. The initiative—launched formally at COP 20 in Lima—supports the Bonn Challenge, a global commitment to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030, and the New York Declaration on Forests that seeks to restore 350 million hectares by 2030.

WRI, in association with more than 40 technical organizations and institutions, supports Initiative 20×20 through our Global Restoration Initiative. As the acting secretariat to Initiative 20×20, WRI facilitates the dialogue between governments, civil society, and the private sector to build an effective coalition that can achieve the initiative’s goals.

For the latest news, profiles of restoration projects, and information on our partners, visit initiative20x20.org.