Driving Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Africa

Village Capital (VilCap), in collaboration with Norway's Norad, has initiated the Empowering Sustainable Entrepreneurship Africa program. This program is specifically designed to support Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, with a focus on nurturing climate-focused startups.

Addressing Capital and Training Gaps

Despite increased investor interest in climate-focused startups, significant capital and training gaps persist in sub-Saharan Africa. These gaps hinder progress in critical sectors such as the blue economy, climate adaptation, food security, and renewable energy. The program aims to catalyze ecosystem growth, empowering ESOs to develop an investable pipeline of sustainability startups.

Phase One: Selecting High-Performing ESOs

VilCap's call for applications marks the beginning of the first phase of the Empowering Sustainable Entrepreneurship Africa program. Fourteen community-led ESOs from the target countries will be carefully selected to participate in the program. These ESOs will receive comprehensive support, including technical skills, resources, and strategic guidance, to strengthen their capacity in nurturing climate-focused startups.

Eligibility Criteria for ESOs

To qualify for participation, ESOs must meet specific eligibility requirements:

- Operational Presence: Operations must be based in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and/or Tanzania.

- Experience: Have been operational for over two years or have grown from a co-founder/founder to a team of 5+ employees, including middle management.

- Focus: Support or be willing to support climate-focused, early-stage, tech-enabled small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with significant growth potential.

- Program Offerings: Run formal incubation/accelerator programs and provide training, resources, advice, or support to entrepreneurs around finance and investment.

Capacity Building and Training

Selected ESOs will undergo an intensive curriculum from July through August 2024. This curriculum, designed by VilCap, aims to equip ESO leaders with the necessary networks and tools to scale their organizations effectively. Participants will engage with industry experts, investors, and ecosystem partners to enhance their capabilities in supporting climate-focused startups.

Co-Leading Entrepreneur Programs

Following the training phase, one ESO partner per country will be selected to co-lead an entrepreneur program in 2025-26. Each selected ESO partner will receive up to US$260,000.00 in funding to facilitate workshops, provide startup grants, and contribute towards team time, thereby furthering the mission of empowering sustainable entrepreneurship across Africa.