Tech-enabled solutions required for $10,000 land restoration prize

Technology is today the go-to resource in finding solutions to almost every facet of human existence, and now, a new challenge seeks to explore it in finding solutions to the issues of unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land, said to be at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

Named the DOEN Land Restoration Prize, it offers $10,000 for young entrepreneurs who are using technology to solve environmental, social and financial challenges that are focusing on land restoration activities in Africa.

The DOEN Foundation (Stichting DOEN), a Dutch fund supporting green, socially inclusive and creative initiatives that contribute to a better and cleaner world, is collaborating with Seedstars, a leading emerging market startup community and investor, to launch the DOEN Land Restoration Prize, in order to find and award the best tech-enabled solutions in the land restoration and land degradation space.

According to the World Resources Institute, for every $1 invested in land restoration it can yield $7-$30 in benefits, and now is the time to prove it, said organisers of the prize in a statement.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded 9 months access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program, the hybrid program challenging traditional acceleration models by creating a unique mix to improve start-up performance and get them ready to secure investment. They will also access a 10,000 USD grant.

 “Our current economic system does not meet the growing need to improve our society ecologically and socially. The problems arising from this can be tackled only if a different economic system is considered,” said Saskia Werther, program manager at the DOEN Foundation.

“DOEN sees opportunities to contribute to this necessary change. After all, the world is changing rapidly and the outlines of a new economy are becoming increasingly clear. This new economy is circular and regenerative. Landscape restoration is a vital part of this regenerative economy and social entrepreneurs play an important role to establish innovative business models to counter land degradation and deforestation. Through this challenge, DOEN wants to highlight the work of early stage restoration enterprises and inspire other frontrunners to follow suit,” Werther said.

To enter the competition, start-ups should meet the following criteria:

  • Existing start-ups/young companies with less than 4 years of existence
  • Start-ups that can adapt their current solution to the land restoration space
  • The start-up must have a demonstrable product or service (Minimum Viable Product, MVP)
  • The start-up needs to be scalable or have the potential to reach scalability in low resource areas.
  • The start-up can show clear environmental impact (either by reducing a negative impact or creating a positive one)
  • The start-up can show clear social impact
  • Technology start-ups, tech-enabled startups and/or businesses that can show a clear innovation component (e.g. in their business model)

Applications are open now and will be accepted until October 15th. Start-ups can apply via



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