Twelve South African green entrepreneurs recently completed a four-month-long Green Pioneer Acceleration Programme (GPA). Eleven of them pitched their businesses and investment needs to an audience of over 40 potential investors at a Venture Forum held in Cape Town, South Africa.
The GPA was designed as a comprehensive business accelerator to support ecologically innovative enterprises. The programme combines a rigorous curriculum with practical experience shared by successful entrepreneurs, mentors and investors.
The initiative seeks to support early stage enterprises that contribute innovative solutions to environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and degradation of soils.
The programme was developed for early stage companies looking to position themselves for scale. Specifically, it supports entrepreneurs who have ambitions to take the next step in growing their business to a national and regional scale. The selected companies had a working prototype with clear market demand and/or are already generating revenue. The four-month acceleration programme took the selected businesses from ‘market proof’ to ‘ready for investment’.
Hivos provided funding support for the accelerator programme, which was designed and implemented by Impact Amplifier in partnership with VC4Africa and the Global Benefit Institute. A similar programme covering East Africa is being implemented by Growth Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.
“Hivos is very concerned about the environment. We see many problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and degradation of soils. In order to address these issues, Hivos wants to co-create with private sector social innovation in the green – environmental – field,” said Hivos’ Programme Manager, Leo Soldaat at the launch of the programme.
“We continue to support green pioneers working to tackle these constraints by positioning them for growth and improving their access to capital. We see the Green Pioneer Accelerator Programme as an important next step in developing ventures in these markets, further extending our work into these areas.”
Impact Amplifier, which implements the programme, is founded on the premise that to address Africa’s socio-economic and environmental challenges, innovative entrepreneurs and business models must emerge.
The programme has positioned the participating companies for scale by getting their strategy, market access, financial model and investment case prepared for fundraising conversations with investors.
Graduates now have access to over 600 private sector investors and can tap into the combined networks and knowledge of the participating partner organisations.