AICCRA Senegal launch gender-smart accelerator challenge

AICCRA Senegal are launching a gender smart accelerator challenge and a post-accelerator program, dedicated to women entrepreneurs and agri-SMEs with a strong gender component, that will contribute to scaling climate smart business models through gender-smart investment in Senegal.


This program challenges entrepreneurs to rethink their business models in the face of climate change, by embracing innovations and sustainable production methods.

With built-in gender dimensions, the accelerator program provides a blueprint to financial actors to highlight gender-smart opportunities in the agricultural sector, identify risks, and achieve greater financial, social, and environmental outcomes. This program aims at crowding in private and public sector capital specifically targeted to increase access to finance for women-led SMEs. 

Through the accelerator program, AICCRA Senegal aims to reach 400 private sector actors and 10,000 farmers by January 2023. 

Opportunities for participants and winners

1. Technical assistance for business development and investment readiness

Through this program, each entrepreneur will be supported by business experts to enhance their business development and investment readiness. The multiple training modules are built to meet their specific needs including 16 hours of one-on-one coaching with experts, 8 masterclasses,  9 hours of webinars, and 2 networking events.

2. CSA technical assistance

Trainings and workshops on CSA basic concepts, climate information services and CSA/CIS bundling will be delivered by CGIAR Scientists and local partners. Follow up training will be tailored depending on SMEs' needs and area of focus (e.g. drought resistant seeds, drip irrigation, index-based insurance).

3. De-risking grant

Following the conclusion of the accelerator program and pitch day, the winners will be awarded a de-risking grant of up to US$ 25,000 distributed according to the proposed scaling plan.  This grant will be matched by private capital from private investors.

4. Access to public and private investors

Through networking events, oversight and mentoring from selection committee members entrepreneurs will gain direct access to financial decision makers.

Applicants business models should to be aligned with at least one of the needs-based priority areas identified by Senegalese private sector mapping and multi-stakeholder dialogue:

  • Sustainable intensification of production through access to finance, inputs, and CSA advisory
  • Value addition, efficient processing through reduction of post-harvest losses, and compliance with food safety standards
  • Improvement of market linkages through the promotion of sustainable and inclusive retail food brands
  • Uptake of climate information services (CIS) and CSA practices (such as index-based insurance) of smallholder farmers.

How to apply

Interested applicants can review RFA Document and selection criteria.

Applications must be submitted before 23:59 GMT on August 26th, 2022 via the application form.

Below is a chronogram of activities:


While climate change is an economic reality affecting the agricultural sector, women farmers have lack access to inputs, information, and finance to innovate with climate solutions. This creates a gender productivity gap and increases women’s vulnerability to climate change. 

Through the Gender Smart Accelerator, commercializing farmers and SMEs in selected value chains will benefit from new and/or improved access to CSA technologies and innovations, new financial products, and market opportunities. This will enhance climate resilience of value chains, social inclusion, and sustainable use of land and water. By focusing on innovations with a clear gender focus, AICCRA Senegal aims to highlight opportunities for women in the agricultural sector and increase their adaptive capacity and resilience in the face of climate change. 

AICCRA Senegal will promote gender-smart investments in partnership with national, regional actors and the private sector to address development and business challenges related to the scaling of CSA technology. The recently published “Strategic Roadmap to Mainstream Gender-smart Investments to Scale Climate-smart agriculture in sub- Saharan Africa “ recommends four interdependent actions areas required to successfully mainstream of gender-smart CSA investments: Capacity building of SMEs and financial actors, gender-responsive financial products and programs, partnership and engagement for faster collective action and decision making based on sex-disaggregated data collection and analysis. 

The Gender Smart Accelerator Challenges falls in line with the CGIAR Hub for Sustainable Finance (OneSF) mission to address the barriers and bottlenecks that prevent finance from flowing responsibly and ethically to food, land, and water systems in the Global South. The accelerator will contribute to building a robust pipeline of bankable projects that can be matched with private investors while ensuring gender-smart investing approaches in the origination process.