The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and the African Development Bank has launched a call for applications for the first edition of the African Youth Adaptation Solutions (YouthAdapt) Challenge.
The call encourages young entrepreneurs, innovators from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and other youth-led and youth-owned enterprises in Africa, to implement solutions for building resilience and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change. Young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 are invited to respond to the call for the expression of interest and submit their business plans through the official submission portal(the link is external).
With a strong focus on youth and gender, winners of the YouthAdapt Challenge will be awarded business grants of up to $100,000 each and the opportunity to participate in a 12-month business accelerator program to help them scale up their businesses, deepen their impact and create decent jobs. In addition, the winning youth-led enterprises will be provided with mentorship and support to expand partnerships, knowledge sharing, and learning through a network of young entrepreneurs in climate adaptation.
The African Youth Adaptations Solutions Challenge is part of the ‘Empowering Youth through Jobs and Entrepreneurship’ pillar of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP(link is external)), a strategic partnership between the GCA and the African Development Bank aimed at galvanizing climate-resilient actions through a triple win approach to address the impacts of Covid-19, climate change and the economy.
The competition aims to leverage the resources, complementary expertise, and networks of both organizations to support the ‘missing middle of mid-sized companies in the areas of funding, thereby promoting sustainable climate adaptation and resilience practices on the African continent.
Announcing the YouthAdapt Challenge to a group of global leaders at the High-Level Dialogue: The Adaptation Acceleration Imperative for COP26 held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on Monday 6th September 2021, Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation said: “Our vision is to empower one million young people in Africa with the financing and skills they need to pursue jobs and careers in climate adaptation. With this new challenge, we aim to unlock the business opportunities in adaptation action by innovative youth-owned enterprises and prepare a new generation of African youth for the transition towards green and climate-resilient development.”
“The YouthAdapt Challenge will unleash the entrepreneurial drive and capacities of African youth to grow their businesses, address the continent’s pressing climate challenge and create decent jobs, building a more climate-resilient Africa”, said Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank’s President, affirming the Bank’s commitment to invest in the youth.
Twenty youth-led enterprises will be shortlisted at the end of the application window on 6th October 2021 and invited to submit videos for a jury panel review ahead of the finals and an award ceremony at COP26 in Glasgow on November 8, 2021. At this event, ten winners will be selected, 50% of which will be women-led enterprises.
Within this framework, an adaptation solution refers to any necessary measure, practice, product, or service that helps counteract and minimize the risks arising from the changing climate, thereby reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience.
The YouthADAPT Challenge is open to solutions (products, services, tools, or ideas) targeted at climate change adaptation and increasing resilience. Admissible solutions can represent:
An adaptation solutions business that has not been scaled and is not in widespread use
An existing resilience and adaptation solutions business or product
A commercially viable means to raise awareness or scale uptake of specific adaptation solutions.
The YouthADAPT Challenge will gather adaptation solutions from young entrepreneurs in Africa selecting the best, providing the businesses with a grant of up to $100,000 and an opportunity to scale and fully commercialize their businesses via a 12-month accelerator program. The eligibility criteria for applying to the Challenge are as follows:
Enterprises must be:
Youth-led with applicants aged between the ages of 18 and 35 years
Delivering climate adaptation or resilience solutions addressing real-life challenges
Legally registered and operating in Africa
Able to show revenues for at least two years
50% of the enterprises supported will be women-owned or women-led
Opening Date:15th September 2021
Closing Date: 6th October 2021