DOEN Land Restoration Prize winner to get $10k grant, access to Seedstars programme

Does your tech startup have innovative solutions in the land restoration and land degradation space?

Applications have opened for the DOEN Land Restoration Prize which aims to showcase young tech entrepreneurs who are solving environmental, social and financial challenges that affect land restoration activities in Africa.

The prize is an initiative of the DOEN Foundation (Stichting DOEN) and emerging market startup competition and investor Seedstars.

Seedstars explained in a statement on Monday (12 August) that the new partnership tackles the issue of unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

Applications for the Doen Land Restoration Prize will close on 15 October

The winner of the prize will receive nine months access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness Programme along with a $10 000 grant.

In addition, the top three solutions will be invited for an all-inclusive trip to the Seedstars Africa Summit in Johannesburg in December where they will participate in a week long training programme and conference.

Applications for the Doen Land Restoration Prize will close on 15 October. The competition is open to startups that:

  • Are less than four years old
  • Can adapt their current solution to the land restoration space
  • Have a demonstrable product or service (minimum viable product)
  • Can show a clear social impact
  • Are scalable or have the potential to reach scalability in low resource needs
  • Can show clear environmental impact, either by reducing a negative impact or by creating a positive one
  • Have a clear innovation component, for example in their business model

Emphasis is laid on solutions that:

  • Finance the restoration of degraded land for production and or conservation purposes
  • Are of an agriculture or agro-forestry nature, with a focus on precision conservation
  • Use big data and technology to reverse land degradation
  • Are water-saving soil technologies
  • Optimise resource efficiency, reduce impacts on ecosystems and lower carbon emissions
  • Are planning, management and education tools for land restoration
  • Are focused on improving livelihoods and communities
  • Are in the clean energy space and aid in the combat of land degradation
  • Form responsible ecotourism that aid in the support of land degradation

DOEN Foundation programme manager Saskia Werther, commenting in the same statement, pointed out that the current economic system does not meet the growing need to improve society ecologically or socially.

Werther added that the problems arising from this can only be tackled if a different economic system is considered. The DOEN Foundation, she said, sees the opportunity to contribute to “this necessary change”.

“After all, the world is changing rapidly and the outlines of a new economy are becoming increasingly clear. This new economy is circular and regenerative,” said Werther.

Landscape restoration, she added, is a vital part of this regenerative economy and social entrepreneurs play an important role to establish innovative business models to counter land degradation and deforestation.

“Through this challenge, DOEN wants to highlight the work of early stage restoration enterprises and inspire other front-runners to follow suit,” she said.

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