As climate change accelerates globally, governments and businesses are addressing the challenge via mitigation (reducing the release of greenhouse gases) and adaptation (adjusting to the expected new normal by reducing our vulnerability to sea-level rise, extreme weather, and food insecurity) The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimates that the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries alone could rise to $140 to $300 billion per year by 2030, and between $280 and $500 billion per year by 2050. However, less than 5% of climate finance is currently spent on climate adaptation and resilience efforts. 

SMEs and startups help play a role in mitigating climate challenges given that they employ nearly 45% of the population and generate nearly 33% of GDP in developing countries. Despite the fact that SMEs and startups are key sources of innovation for adaptation, they struggle to secure financing and lack the operational capacity to scale climate resilience and adaptation solutions.

Village Capital, under the Adaptation SME Accelerator Project (ASAP), an initiative supported by the Lightsmith Group, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility, and Conservation International, will accelerate 16 SMEs and startups in Africa and Asia that are scaling market-based and contextualized solutions to critical climate adaptation and resilience challenges.


SMEs and startups will participate in a one-week intensive virtual training program that will support companies at the intersection of impact (that is measurable, contextualized, with clear solutions to identified problems), inclusion (entrepreneurs that have deep experience with the problems they seek to address), and instability  (sustainable, scalable startups that can drive positive financial and social return). SMES AND STARTUPS IN ASIA: APPLY HERESMES AND STARTUPS IN AFRICA: APPLY HERE


You should be an SME or startup in a developing country in Africa or Asia developing or offering products and/or services (ideally technology-enabled) that increase the resilience of target users to the impacts of climate change by either – 

  1. Addressing systemic barriers to adaptation by strengthening usersโ€™ ability to understand and respond to physical climate risks – either chronic or acute – and related impacts and/or capture related opportunities.
  2. Preventing or reducing physical climate risk – either chronic or acute – and/or any adverse associated impacts on assets, economic activities, people, or nature. 

The climate resilience and adaptation solutions offered should also strive to be as minimally carbon-intensive as possible. Examples include (but are not limited to): 

  1. Agriculture – Solutions that increase the productivity and resource efficiency of the agricultural sector and/or address risks in the supply chain and weather disruptions. This includes businesses that provide precision agriculture solutions, soil and seed treatments, data and analytics-based solutions for farming and supply chain efficiency, greenhouse and indoor agriculture solutions. Risk mitigating & profiling solutions for financial services (lending and insurance) to the agri sector are also included.
  2. Transportation, Logistics, Infrastructure – Businesses that help users understand, analyze, and manage climate risks on physical infrastructure, the built environment, transportation and logistics operations. This includes geospatial analytics, fleet management or routing software, smart logistics solutions, cold chain storage solutions, supply chain software solutions (with a focus on those managing risks from weather), solutions for risk prediction and management due to weather & climate change disruptions. Solutions that provide geospatial mapping solutions and smart infrastructure solutions in key sectors such as utilities may also be included.
  3. Climate Risk Analytics and Risk Management โ€“ Businesses that offer products or services for understanding and managing weather and physical climate risks. This may include weather forecasting, natural catastrophe risk modeling (e.g., flood, cyclone, heat wave, etc.), wildfire prediction, as well as products for managing such risk e.g., weather risk-transfer products, weather-based parametric insurance, early warning systems. This may also include related consulting services focused on helping clients understand or manage climate risks, or helping clients incorporate forward-looking climate scenarios into decision-making (e.g., climate resilient infrastructure design). 
  4. Water – Businesses that provide sustainable drinking water solutions, smart water management solutions, efficient irrigation, wastewater treatment, early warning systems, water risk management and mitigation solutions, amongst others.
  5. Energy – Companies that provide microgrid solutions, distributed energy systems, smart energy infrastructure, and new age energy storage solutions, amongst others, specifically in areas with unreliable electricity due to climate impacts such as extreme weather.
  6. Health โ€“ Climate change is changing disease vectors and making vector-borne diseases more prevalent in many parts of the world. Businesses that can help users predict and analyze these changing environments, provide disease surveillance systems, remote diagnostic solutions, health solutions for the last mile and testing solutions amongst others.


Participating companies will benefit from the following: 

  1. Personalized and curated one-on-one working sessions.
  2. Mentor and investor feedback sessions, based on identified needs faced by climate resilience-related enterprises. 
  3. Pro-bono support from industry-leading mentors for each entrepreneur.
  4. At the end of the program, you will join the network of 1,100+ Village Capital alumni, who have historically been able to raise 3x more capital, earn 2.3x more revenue, and create 40% more jobs after program completion. 
  5. ASAP program alumni will also have access to a range of resources, tools, and support post- program, such as Village Capital research (e.g., and alumni support events.
  6. ASAP program alumni, along with all applicants to this program, will have free access to the Abaca. platform, profiles, and investor-matching and milestone planning services in perpetuity.
  7. Possible opportunities to collaborate with companies across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).


  • Applications Open: December 7, 2021
  • Applications Close: January 31, 2022 
  • Cohort Announcement: March 25, 2022
  • Orientation Webinar: April 1, 2022 
  • Preparation for Accelerator Program: April 2-16, 2022 
  • Accelerator Program: April 18-22, 2022

Please note that the deadline to apply for the companies is January 31, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST. We will not be able to grant any further extensions beyond this. Opportunities for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) companies coming soon! SMES AND STARTUPS IN ASIA: APPLY HERESMES AND STARTUPS IN AFRICA: APPLY HERE

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