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Village Capital Launches Call for ESOs Supporting Climate Startups in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nairobi, Kenya (May 2, 2024) — Village Capital (VilCap), with support from Norway, through Norad—the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, has launched the Empowering Sustainable Entrepreneurship Africa program aimed at supporting Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania that support climate-focused startups. 

Although investor interest in climate-focused startups has risen with climate startups receiving one-third of all startup investments in sub-Saharan Africa in 2023, significant capital and training gaps persist in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. These gaps must be greatly improved to achieve meaningful advancements in key sectors such as the blue economy, climate adaptation, food security, and renewable energy. This program aims to address these needs by catalyzing large-scale ecosystem growth to power ESOs and develop an investable pipeline of sustainability startups in the region. 

Applications close on June 14, 2024. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found here

The call for applications launches the first phase of the Empowering Sustainable Entrepreneurship Africa program, where Village Capital will select and work closely with 14 high-performing community-led ESOs from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. These ESOs will receive extensive support, including technical skills and resources, to develop sustainable organizations that effectively foster the growth of climate-focused startups in the region. The ESOs will also develop strategies to identify and support high-potential startups developing localized solutions to climate change.

Eligibility requirements for this program include:

  • Have operations in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and/or Tanzania.
  • Have been operating for more than two years OR grown from co-founder/founder to 5+ employees including middle management (department leads, partnership managers, incubator and accelerator managers, and program managers).
  • Support or be willing to support climate-focused,  early-stage, tech-enabled small and medium enterprises with significant growth potential and/or startups with scale potential.
  • Run formal incubation/accelerator programs.
  • Provide or look to provide training, resources, advice, or support to entrepreneurs around finance and investment.

From July through August 2024, the 14 selected ESOs will be exposed to Village Capital’s curriculum, structured to help them develop the networks and tools they need to scale their organizations and interventions. The ESO leaders will work closely with industry experts, investors, ecosystem partners, and an investment analyst who will coach them 1:1 on building a financial model, identifying unit economics, and using financial metrics to drive both business and investor diligence. At the end of this phase program, we will select one ESO partner per country to co-lead an entrepreneur program in 2025-26. The five selected ESO partners will receive up to US$260,000.00 in funding to contribute towards their team time, workshops for ventures, and startup grants in their market. 

Village Capital is hosting an information session on May 15, 2024, to delve into the program’s structure, eligibility, and benefits for ESOs. This event offers an excellent opportunity for ESOs to connect with the VilCap team and ask questions. Interested applicants can sign up for the virtual event here

For more information, reach out to Eva Waweru at Village Capital (eva.waweru@vilcap.com).

About Village Capital 

Village Capital is reinventing the system to back the entrepreneurs of the future. Known for its groundbreaking approaches to supporting founders who are building solutions to emergent social, economic, and environmental challenges, VilCap unlocks critical social and financial capital for early-stage companies to maximize business and impact growth. Village Capital has operated in sub-Saharan Africa since 2012 by running over 14 accelerator programs serving entrepreneurs in 27 countries in the region. VilCap has supported more than 170 locally-based startups and close to 50 Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESO) working in sectors such as financial health, hardware, sustainability, and the future of work. Learn more at www.vilcap.com and follow @villagecapital. 

About Norad

Norad is the Norwegian agency for development cooperation. We work for the world to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Norad is a professional body under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Together with our partners and on behalf of Norway, Norad strives for a greener future in a world without poverty. Human rights must be respected, and none left out. By way of knowledge and cooperation, we ensure that the funds of Norwegian development aid contribute to global development.