Sponsoring Agency: Acumen Academy
Type of Fund: Seed Money, Accelerator, Incubation, Mentorship and/or Training
Deadline Available: Available
Deadline Date (mm/dd/yyyy): 06/16/2021
Size of the Fund: Less than USD $50,000
Acumen Academy is seeking applications for its accelerator program to catalyze an ecosystem of agri enterprises with the grit, character and competence to scale.
The accelerator program will focus specifically on mitigation and adaptation solutions and technologies that help build the climate resilience of smallholder farmers. “Adaptation” and “Mitigation” strategies in agriculture are often overlapping, and should ideally be complementary to each other, as one or the other alone is not sufficient to improve the overall resilience of smallholder farmers and also make agriculture sustainable in the long run. Over 10 weeks, you and your team will learn the essentials of building a business model that can achieve both social and environmental impact and profitability, while connecting with a network of peers and experts focused on regenerative agriculture and climate resilience solutions for smallholder farmers.
The curriculum leverages the experience of Acumen’s investment work at the intersection of poverty and climate change and our pioneering leadership practices to build a better world, helping you develop both the competence and character to scale your business. You will learn about Acumen’s Moral Leadership practices to build a better world: from Listening to Voices Unheard to Partnering with Humility and Audacity. These are vital skills for any leader looking to create new realities that better serve the poor and the earth.
You’ll access industry specific case studies, video tutorials and practical readings on all module topics, and receive invaluable support from our Accelerator and Portfolio teams. You’ll complete assignments that are designed to help you think critically about your business, and then join weekly interactive Learning Labs to give and receive feedback from your peers. You’ll also receive individualized support and industry insights from expert advisors and investors with decades of experience in the food and agriculture sectors.
You will work with 60 Decibels, an award-winning impact evaluation firm, to complete a training on the products, services, and offerings that farmers need to be resilient to climate shocks. Finally, you will complete a self-assessment to score your enterprise’s current impact and determine your next steps for bolstering the climate resilience of smallholder farmers.
The program will culminate with a virtual closing session where you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your venture for up to $50k in equity or quasi-equity seed funding from Acumen.
Time Commitment and Course Access
• You should expect to spend at least 8 hours per week on the readings and assignments. Most of this work can be done on your own schedule.
• One or two participants from the leadership team of your enterprise (“Lead Participants”) will be required to take part in the Learning Labs every week. Up to 10 people from your enterprise may receive access to the curriculum materials.
• Five Learning Labs with peers
• Two one-on-one coaching consultations with Acumen’s team
• A workshop and self-assessment on strategies for increasing farmers’ resilience to climate shocks
• Individualized support from expert mentors on strategic business aspects and climate resilience
• Video tutorials on customer discovery, sales and marketing, financial modeling, and pitching
• Case studies from social enterprises that have successfully scaled
• Eligibility to compete for up to $50k per startup in seed funding (equity/quasi-equity) from Acumen
• Module 1: Visions of Scale
• Module 2: Customer Insights
• Module 3: Measuring and Increasing Climate Resilience
• Module 4: Aligning a Pricing, Sales and Marketing Strategy to Your Value Propositions
• Module 5: Financial Model
• Module 6: Pitching the Strategic Story of Your Business
This accelerator is open to agri entrepreneurs who:
• Run an enterprise (for-profit) based in India that exists to build the climate resilience of smallholder farmers (directly or indirectly)
• Specifically focused on climate change solutions across the following themes:
o Regenerative agriculture and resource conservation (e.g. eco-friendly inputs, natural resource management practices that seek to improve soil health, water management and conservation solutions, regenerative farming techniques that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/ or put more carbon back into the soil)
o Supply chain innovations and wastage reduction (e.g. on-farm post harvest management and processing solutions, modular storage facilities including cold stores, distribution and logistics optimization solutions)
o Access to markets and finance, in order to strengthen the support ecosystem for smallholder farmers (e.g. aggregator models providing alternative market access to farmers, affordable agri credit and other financial products such as savings products and climate insurance, customized for smallholder farmers)
o Have a demonstrated track record of at least 12-18 months and some market traction (evidence of customer demand and revenue generation)
• Have a team equivalent to three or more full-time staff
More information at: https://app.acumenacademy.org/climateresilientagriculture