The Royal Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Ingrid Marie Mikelsen, has challenged young entrepreneurs in the country to seize the opportunity unveiled with the launch of the Growth Accelerator Cohorts 7 and 8 targeting growth oriented post-revenue ventures.

Cohort 7, a General Window with a multisector focus, is being supported by the Germany Government through the KFW Development Bank, while the Royal Norwegian Embassy is supporting Cohort 8, an Agriculture Special Window for enterprises in the agriculture sector.

Mikelsen challenged potential ventures “to devote their time in developing winning business growth plans which will help them accelerate their business and have meaningful impact on the Malawian economy.”

“The main targeted beneficiaries of cohort 8, which is being launched today, are you, young entrepreneurs, who have a footprint in the agriculture sector and are seeking to accelerate growth of your business,” she emphasised.

On her part, KFW Country Director Daniella Bese said they anticipate that the two entrepreneur challenges “will encourage ventures to embark on a multitude of innovative projects that will exert a tangible, positive, and sustainable influence on the conduct of business and the functioning of markets in Malawi.”  

The Growth Accelerator she said, plays a vital role in accelerating Malawi’s economic development and to increase opportunities for the poor through generating higher incomes and job creation.

The Growth Accelerator which provides opportunities for youth-led high-impact business ventures to access technical assistance, mentorship and co-financing support in the form matching grant of up to US$40,000, is a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) private sector growth initiative.

According to Fenella Frost, UNDP Resident Representative, the launch of the two challenges “aims to further accelerate the growth of innovative young ventures that approach poverty alleviation with a business-oriented mindset.”

Frost said the agency understands the inherent risk aboard but this, she emphasised, “is a risk we willingly embrace, recognizing it as an inevitable aspect of supporting young entrepreneurs striving to push boundaries.”

Since its inception in 2018, the Growth Accelerator has supported six cohorts impacting 78 high-impact post-revenue start-ups with matching grants and technical assistance, across value chains.

The two cohorts launched on September 21, 2023, are targeting to recruit 20 ventures, combined, according to GA project manager Tambulani Chunga who said the call for expression of interest for Cohorts 7 and 8 will close on October 20, 2023.