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Accelerating Circular Economy Innovation

We accelerate circularity in the intersecting areas of food, health and climate change through an incubation programme and knowledge exchange.

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Accelerating Circular Economy Innovation

Years active:

2021 - 2022

Related ICLEI Pathway(s)


African Cities

Funded by

Embassy of Finland Pretoria

Project summary

The ACE Africa project aims to support the growth of circular economy businesses in Africa. Circular economy is a growing area of interest for achieving sustainability across multiple sectors, and it is clear that, in Africa, the private sector is leading the transition to a circular economy. With a focus on the intersecting areas of food, health and climate change, this project will guide entrepreneurs, and new start-ups through an incubation programme and provide a platform for exposure to, and interaction with, mature circular economy businesses, funders and government officers. The desired outcomes are to support a number of businesses to mature, to contribute to improved innovation ecosystems for circular economy, and to provide guidance to local governments on how to improve or support innovative businesses that enhance circular development.

Project aims

The project will be implemented in three phases:

  • Phase 1 focuses on broadening the understanding of circular development, inviting start-ups and entrepreneurs into the incubation programmes, and upskilling the chosen companies.
  • Phase 2 supports the growth and development of these start-ups, and further circular economy businesses through a year-long Action and Learning Festival. The festival brings together circular economy businesses and stakeholders for co-learning and sharing and includes webinar presentations, match-making opportunities, business showcases and city-to-city and city-to-business exchange events.
  • Phase 3 documents the learnings that have emerged throughout the project and develops guidance documents, policy briefs and action plans which identify key opportunities and actions for supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses to contribute to African cities’ strategic priorities and wider goals of food security, climate resilience, health and wellbeing, and circular development.

Project highlights

Highlight 1

The ACE Africa Virtual Launch held on 24 August 2021. It provided an opportunity to learn more about the project, the incubation programme and the application process. Whether you are planning on applying for the incubation programme or want to know more about our circular economy action and learning events, this webinar is a great place to start. Watch the recording here.

Highlight 2

The Circularity Is… campaign runs on social media, throughout August 2021.

Highlight 3

Businesses and entrepreneurs with circular business ideas are invited to apply for the Circular Business Showcase in November 2021 and join the ACE Africa start-up incubation programme.

Project partners

Accelerating Circular Economy Innovation