TechnoServe has announced the opening of applications for the second cohort of their sustainability focused accelerator, Greenr Sustainability Accelerator (GSA) Program. The initiative, supported by the IKEA Foundation and the Visa Foundation, aims to nurture approximately 350 green entrepreneurs in the Environment Action space over the next three years.
The GSA is a one-of-a-kind year-long equity-free program that provides tailored business advice to growing green businesses with a positive environmental impact. It has a large cohort of 132 Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) and aims to establish a thriving green business ecosystem. The program focuses on mitigating environmental degradation while uplifting communities through scaling these green startups.
The first cohort kicked off last year on World Environment Day (June 5, 2023), comprising 130+ startups from 53 cities across India. Some of these businesses hold innovative solutions such as producing biodegradable plastics, affordable and scalable cold storage technology that reduces waste from farm to table, transforming shipping containers into moveable luxury villas, menstrual hygiene products using biodegradable alternatives to plastic, and tech solutions that enable businesses to track the location of their plastic shampoo bottles, among others.
‘The sector representation includes waste management, textiles, food & agriculture, clean tech, green construction, and feminine hygiene. 54% of these businesses are women-led.’
The market potential for green, small and growing businesses in India is super exciting – a $3.46 trillion market opportunity! And the Greenr Accelerator is unique in its approach to supporting businesses. It pairs each participating business with experienced Business Advisors who are full-time staff at TechnoServe. These advisors collaborate closely with entrepreneurs to develop and implement tailored growth strategies that help scale their businesses and increase environmental impact.
Speaking about the accelerator and their goal for Cohort 2, Ajay Menon, Program Director, Greenr Sustainability Accelerator, shares, “In order to mitigate extreme climate impact and its devastating effects on people’s livelihoods, businesses will have no option but to change the ways in which they operate across the value chain, right down to product and service distribution, while we as consumer re-evaluate our lifestyles. With Greenr, we look towards a greater understanding of the interventions required to scale green businesses, who hold the power to economic and ecological sustainability, if provided the right support. We also hope to unlock innovation through their products and services, value through greater awareness and customer adoption as well as financing.”
Participants become part of a close-knit environment action community, including like-minded peers, sector specialists, and subject matter experts in India.
Additionally, they undergo a business training and planning course with a top-tier Indian business school. The program concludes with a Demo Day, offering funding opportunities from equity, debt, and philanthropic financiers such as Peak Ventures, Green Artha, India Angel Network, Chennai Angels, 3i Partners, Acumen, Climake, Rainmatter, Caspian Debt and others. The GSA also collaborates with esteemed organisations such as Indigram Labs, Climate Asia, FICCI Flo, NDBI, Nasscom, and Marico Innovation Foundation to strengthen the ecosystem for environment entrepreneurship.
Commenting on the launch of the second cohort, Joydeep Dutt, Country Director, TechnoServe India, says, “We are thrilled to kickstart the applications for Cohort 2. As a program committed to accelerating the growth of green SGBs in India, we understand their unique challenges. Through Greenr, we hope to bring about a transformative environmental impact and foster a conscious capitalism movement in the country. We are excited to support the visionary founders and teams in building top-notch sustainable businesses. We look forward to working with passionate entrepreneurs who share our vision for a greener future.”
Small and medium-sized green businesses play a crucial role in reducing climate risk and environmental degradation in a sector that requires more support. As per reports, India can potentially create up to 35 million green jobs by 2047. This presents a significant opportunity for the country’s workforce, struggling with issues such as unemployment and underemployment.