May 18, 2024

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Village Capital Partners with Norad to Strengthen Climate Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Africa

3 min read

Village Capital (VilCap) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), have partnered to launch Empowering Sustainable Entrepreneurship Africa, a transformative ecosystem-building Africa program aimed at strengthening the capacity and impact of Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) and climate-focused early-stage startups in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.


The initiative will adopt a dual-track approach. Firstly, it will equip community-led ESOs with the technical expertise and resources necessary to foster sustainable growth within their organizations.

This approach will enhance their capacity to effectively support the unique needs of sustainability ventures in the region and, as a result, amplify their impact.

Secondly, the program will directly support climate-focused ventures in the priority countries and cultivate a long-term pipeline of high-growth, investable startups advancing solutions in critical areas such as the blue economy, climate adaptation, food security, and renewable energy.

Environment and climate concerns are at the core of Norad’s work, in line with the agency’s goal to promote global and Norwegian environmental goals for climate, biodiversity, and other environmental issues. These concerns serve as a guiding principle when developing new partnerships and initiatives such as the Empowering Sustainable Entrepreneurship Africa initiative.

Why This Matters

Entrepreneurial ecosystems remain underfunded, fragmented, and lack the technical resources
to support the unique needs of entrepreneurs in the region effectively.

Although funding for climate-focused entrepreneurs has grown recently, immense capital and training shortfalls persist in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

These gaps must be greatly improved to achieve meaningful advancements in the blue economy, climate adaptation, food security, and renewable energy. This program aims to address these needs by catalyzing large-scale ecosystem growth that will power long-term innovation and sustainable economic development.

What They’re Saying

“We are excited to partner with Village Capital on Empowering Sustainable Entrepreneurship Africa. Entrepreneurs and start-ups with innovative ideas and services have an important role to play in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Today such actors often lack access to financing and technical support due to a number of barriers. We hope that by strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem through Entrepreneur Support Organizations, some of these barriers will be overcome. This partnership is also exciting for us in that it is multi-sectoral, working on the blue economy, renewable energy, food security, and climate adaptation, to deliver the best possible total contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.” – Fredrik Ilsaas Pharo, Director of Climate and Environment, Norad.

ESOs play a crucial role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving as the first line of support for entrepreneurs, acting as both trainer and convener of essential networks such as investors and talent, especially in emerging ecosystems,” shares Rachel Crawford, who leads Special Projects at Village Capital.

“However, these same ESOs typically operate as the startups they support and often lack the final piece of the puzzle – capital to deploy directly to startups. Village Capital aims to address each of these three needs through our unique initiative design by leveraging ecosystem development, enterprise support, and catalytic capital. Importantly, not only does Village Capital’s initiative align well with Norad’s identified priorities, but it also stands out compared to other regional projects.

It builds off Village Capital’s extensive impact within sub-Saharan Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem over the past 11 years, having supported over 200 entrepreneurs who have gone on to raise over USD230M in capital to scale their impact businesses and collaborated with over 70 local ESOs who have reached over 3,000 entrepreneurs.”


To learn more about the program and explore opportunities for engagement as an ESO, Village Capital will run an information session specifically tailored for ESOs in the targeted countries.

The session will provide detailed insights into the program and its eligibility criteria.

For more information about the program and to express your interest in participating in the information session, reach out to Ahmed Fadl, Program Manager at Village Capital ([email protected]).

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