YouthAdapt Challenge opens for climate change innovators

YouthAdapt Challenge opens for climate change innovators

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina during a media briefing at The National Treasury on July 20, 2018

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are calling for applications for the first African Youth Adaptation Solutions (YouthAdapt) Challenge.

Making the announcement at the Adaptation Acceleration Imperative for COP26 held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Monday, GCA chief executive Patrick Verkooijen said their 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.

The call for applications is for young entrepreneurs, innovators from micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and other youth-led enterprises in Africa to implement solutions for building resilience and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change.

The application is open to entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35, who are to respond to the call for expression of interest and submit their business plans through the official submission portal.

Youth empowerment

The African Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge is part of the ‘Empowering Youth through Jobs and Entrepreneurship’ pillar of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP).

This is a strategic partnership between the GCA and AfDB to galvanize 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 organisations to support the ‘missing-middle’ of mid-sized companies in the areas of funding, thereby promote sustainable climate adaptation and resilience practices on the African continent.

“With this new challenge we aim to unlock 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,” said Verkooijen.

$100,000 award

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina affirmed AfDB’s commitment to invest in the youth.

“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”.

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 programme to help them scale up their businesses.

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.

Twenty youth-led enterprises will be shortlisted at the end of the application window - October 6 – and will be invited to submit videos to a jury panel review ahead of the finals.

An award ceremony will take place at COP26 in Glasgow on November 8, where 10 winners will be selected, 50 per cent of them being women-led enterprises.