Deadline: May 26, 2024

Applications are open for the AfriCircular Innovators Programme 2024. The AfriCircular Innovators Programme is a pivotal initiative for advancing Africa’s circular economy. Backed by the African Development Bank’s Africa Circular Economy Facility (ACEF) and reinforced by the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), the programme plays a key role in invigorating the economic vitality of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) a foundational pillars of Africa’s economy, constituting approximately 80% of its business landscape. Moreover, AfriCircular nurtures young entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and dynamism are vital to driving Africa’s Green Growth.


The program provides extensive support tailored to startups in the circular economy sector. This includes:

  • Circular Economy and Business Support Training: Customized training sessions, masterclasses, and workshops covering a diverse range of topics, precisely tailored to meet the needs of each venture.
  • Tailored Coaching Sessions: Every entrepreneur is matched with a dedicated coach, offering ongoing guidance to apply program insights effectively and maintain focus on circular solutions development.
  • Peer-to-Peer Learning: Platforms for entrepreneurs to exchange experiences, address challenges, and explore collaborative ventures with peers across different hubs.
  • Market Linkages and Industry Connections: Facilitated activities, including circular marketplaces, investor roundtables, entrepreneur showcases, business tours, and expert panel discussions, fostering connections and showcasing circular innovations.
  • Financial Grants: Selected entrepreneurs receive grant funding for market exploration and product development, supplemented by tailored technical coaching to reach specific milestones.
  • Demo Day: A Regional Demo day event and roadshow where the top 10 entrepreneurs will showcase their circular journeys and progress in the program. The event will also be an opportunity to showcase the program’s success and a way to raise awareness on the toolkits that IHs will have developed for the entire circular economy ecosystem.


  • Geographical focus: To be a startup based and operating in Rwanda, Ghana, or Ivory Coast to be founded by an African national or the majority leadership team are Africans. 
  • Circular solutions/business models:
    • To operate according to circular principles and to have a business model based in the circular economy.
    • Focus on key thematic areas in line with the African Development Bank and partners, e.g. food systems, packaging, electronics, Fashion & Textiles, Build Environment.
  • Maturity of startup: To be an early-stage startup (have an MVP) with less than 3 years of operational experience.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Viability of the Business Model: The startup shows it has local demand, a clear business model, an attractive value proposition, understands its target market, and identifies competitive advantages.
  • Level of Circularity: The startup integrates circular principles, considers environmental impact and sustainability, implements waste reuse and regeneration efforts, and aims to improve environmental and social impact.
  • Team Leadership and Skills: The team displays entrepreneurial and management qualities, possesses relevant skills and experience, and works cohesively.
  • Potential for Job Creation: The startup’s employment figures and trends over the past three years, factors influencing employment, and five-year job creation projections are taken into account.
  • Gender/Inclusivity: The project’s value chain or mission includes consideration of women.
  • Level of Innovation – Technology or Data: The startup adapts to local realities and offers original, innovative, and quality products/services.
  • Potential Impact: The possible positive effects the startup’s solution has or can have on its community, industry or the environment. This will include the social, economic, and environmental impact. 
  • Scaling Potential and Replicability: The business model and solution of the startup are capable of being scaled and replicated in other markets or contexts, considering aspects such as the adaptability of the business model, the scalability of the technology or solution, and the potential for geographical or demographic expansion.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit AfriCircular Innovators Programme.

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