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AfriCircular Innovators Programme

Advancing Africa’s circular economy.


The AfriCircular Innovators Programme is a pivotal initiative for advancing Africa’s circular economy. Backed by the African Development Bank’s Africa Circular Economy Facility (ACEF) and reinforced by the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), the programme plays a key role in invigorating the economic vitality of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) a foundational pillars of Africa’s economy, constituting approximately 80% of its business landscape. Moreover, AfriCircular nurtures young entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and dynamism are vital to driving Africa’s Green Growth.

About the program

The program provides extensive support tailored to startups in the circular economy sector. This includes:

  • Circular Economy and Business Support Training: Customized training sessions, masterclasses, and workshops covering a diverse range of topics, precisely tailored to meet the needs of each venture.
  • Tailored Coaching Sessions: Every entrepreneur is matched with a dedicated coach, offering ongoing guidance to apply program insights effectively and maintain focus on circular solutions development.
  • Peer-to-Peer Learning: Platforms for entrepreneurs to exchange experiences, address challenges, and explore collaborative ventures with peers across different hubs.
  • Market Linkages and Industry Connections: Facilitated activities, including circular marketplaces, investor roundtables, entrepreneur showcases, business tours, and expert panel discussions, fostering connections and showcasing circular innovations.
  • Financial Grants: Selected entrepreneurs receive grant funding for market exploration and product development, supplemented by tailored technical coaching to reach specific milestones.
  • Demo Day: A Regional Demo day event and roadshow where the top 10 entrepreneurs will showcase their circular journeys and progress in the program. The event will also be an opportunity to showcase the program’s success and a way to raise awareness on the toolkits that IHs will have developed for the entire circular economy ecosystem.

Who we are looking for

We are seeking innovative startups operating in the circular economy sector who are committed to driving positive change and sustainability. Specifically, we are looking for:

  • Stage of entrepreneurs: The program will look for and support entrepreneurs who are at the early stage of their entrepreneurial journey. This includes entrepreneurs who have, as a minimum, a working prototype that has been tested with and by real users.
  • Thematic areas of solutions: The program will target solutions that fall under the 5 big bets as defined by ACEA: Food Systems, Packaging, Electronics, Fashion and Textiles, and Built Environment.
  • Geographic focus: The program will support solutions with operations in at least one of the countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast, or Rwanda.
  • Ownership of startup: The program will support startups with African founders or that have a majority management team being African.

Eligibility criteria

Proposed eligibility requirement for the selection of startups will be based on the following elements:

  • Geographical focus: To be a startup based and operating in Rwanda, Ghana, or Ivory Coast to be founded by an African national or the majority leadership team are Africans.
  • Circular solutions/business models: To operate according to circular principles and to have a business model based in the circular economy
  • Focus on key thematic areas in line with the African Development Bank and partners, e.g. food systems, packaging, electronics, Fashion & Textiles, Build Environment
  • Maturity of startup: To be an early-stage startup (have an MVP) with less than 3 years of operational experience.

Applications are open until May 26th, 2024.

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