Africa is at the forefront of innovation, driven by its young, dynamic minds who are ready to tackle climate adaptation with Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies. The YouthADAPT Solutions Challenge 2023, now in its third cohort, has set the stage for visionary female entrepreneurs in Africa to make their mark.
This exciting program recently launched its call for applications, with a submission deadline of November 5, 2023. It specifically invites young female climate innovators doing business in Africa to participate and stand a chance to receive a grant of $100,000, along with invaluable business development support.
A pillar of climate innovation
YouthADAPT is an integral part of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP), a groundbreaking initiative from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA). With a substantial budget of USD 25 billion, AAAP is poised to reshape climate adaptation in Africa and drive innovative solutions across the continent. Additionally, an extra USD 12.5 billion will be leveraged to further accelerate climate change adaptation through AfDB’s portfolio.
Edith Ofwona Adera, the Lead Coordinator of AAAP at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), emphasized the program’s transformative impact. “To date, 33 enterprises across 23 African countries have received support through the previous two cohorts of YouthADAPT. These enterprises have recorded remarkable achievements, including raising an additional $316,874 in financing, a 123% increase in revenue, and the creation of 529 direct jobs and 7,742 indirect jobs. Notably, 20% of the winners have successfully entered new markets,” Adera said.
This year, the challenge is supported by The Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF), hosted by the Bank. It is designed to empower youth for entrepreneurship, job creation, and climate adaptation. Rita Effah, the Senior Climate Finance Officer at ACCF, emphasized that the program offers an exceptional platform for young female entrepreneurs to secure funding and mentorship for their innovative climate adaptation solutions. “This aligns with the broader goal of promoting gender-responsive, youth-led climate adaptation solutions through technology and innovation,” Rita added.
Unlocking 4IR technologies
Aliou Diouf, the Adaptation Specialist at the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, highlighted the vast opportunities within Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies and innovations for climate adaptation action. The program seeks to scale up climate adaptation in Africa through a straightforward eligibility criterion that includes a profitable growth-stage enterprise operating for at least two years, youth and women-led (18-35 years old on the day of submission), and founders or co-founders actively involved in the enterprise’s operations and leadership. The program also emphasizes climate adaptation and innovation within the 4IR solutions.
The program targets several sectors for support, including agriculture and food security, biodiversity and conservation, coastal areas and marine resources, disaster risk reduction and management, energy for productive use, finance, forestry, health, human settlements, industry, infrastructure, tourism, transport, and water management, among others.
Successful applicants will gain access to a wealth of support, including $100,000 in grants, tailored business development services, a one-year accelerator program, mentorship and coaching, membership in the YouthADAPT Alumni Network, and opportunities for new partnerships and knowledge-sharing.
A word of advice for applicants
Serah Nderitu, Senior Program Officer at the Global Center on Adaptation, provided valuable tips for potential applicants. She stressed the importance of understanding the eligibility criteria, focusing on innovation and technology, and demonstrating social impact. Detailed and well-revised applications were strongly encouraged.
Prabhakar Vanam, CEO of KCIC Consulting Limited, the Enterprise Support Organization of the program, emphasized the tremendous potential of the 4th industrial revolution in climate adaptation. “KCIC remains committed to supporting enterprises, particularly the winners of the 3rd YouthADAPT Challenge cohort,” Vanam said.
The application deadline is November 5th. Shortlisted enterprises will participate in a boot camp training session to prepare pitch videos for final evaluation. The winners will be announced and awarded on December 4, 2023, at the COP28 event in Dubai. Applications are accepted through an online portal at www.bit.ly/YouthADAPT2023.