Amazon gains impact business accelerator

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After a little over two years of accelerating and investing in businesses with an impact on the Legal Amazon, the Partnership for the Amazon Platform Acceleration Program (PPA) has evolved to become an impact accelerator.

AMAZ Aceleradora de Impacto was born with the mission of supporting entrepreneurs and businesses to overcome the challenges and peculiarities of the ecosystem in the Amazon.

And the accelerator is already starting at full force: it promotes an Impact Business Call for Amazonian businesses between 04/20 and 05/28.

“AMAZ was born with the ambition to help build a new economy for the Amazon. I believe that this economy will emerge from disruptive businesses that are aimed at solving the most urgent social and environmental problems in the region ”, defines Mariano Cenamo, CEO of AMAZ and director of new business at Idesam.

“In the midst of extremely challenging conditions and an ecosystem with a nascent impact, entrepreneurs face all kinds of difficulties to leverage their business in the Amazon. AMAZ's role is to support this entrepreneur with capital, knowledge and connections. Indirectly, I believe that we are also helping to create this ecosystem of impact and innovation in the region ”, he adds.

The Executive Secretary of the Parceiros pela Amazônia Platform, Augusto Corrêa, assesses the maturity of AMAZ as a natural evolution of the PPA Program:

“Based on Idesam's leadership, it was possible to engage different partners to establish a program that promotes innovation, while creating opportunities for Amazon startups to become stronger. From now on, the initiative gains new contours capable of expanding the entrepreneurial potential of the region and guaranteeing the conservation of its biodiversity ”, he says.

The accelerator is coordinated by Idesam and has as strategic partners and founders Fundo Vale, Instituto Humanize, ICS, PPA, Good Energies Foundation and Fundo JBS pela Amazônia. It also has a wide network of partners such as Move, SenseLab, Mercado Livre, ICE, Costa Brasil, Climate Ventures, and private investors.

About AMAZ

The name AMAZ is a tribute to the Amazon, and also makes reference to the verb to love, conveying the feeling of respect and affection that the accelerator has for the forest.

AMAZ was born in the Amazon, carries its biodiversity in the vibrant colors of the new visual identity and expresses love in its name. The standing forest is the reason for the accelerator's existence and this has been incorporated in all its contact points: from name to the visual universe, created in partnership with FutureBrand Brasil. 

The PPA Acceleration Program portfolio will be absorbed by the accelerator. The 12 businesses invested in the last two years will be monitored for another five years. 

AMAZ continues to be permeable to the stimuli and inputs of the business ecosystem and impact investing in the Amazon and in permanent construction with partners, supporters, investors and entrepreneurs.

Firm in the purpose of fostering new development models for the Amazon, which keep the forest upright and generate income for their communities.

The accelerator is coordinated by Idesam and has as strategic partners and founders Fundo Vale, Instituto Humanize, ICS, PPA, Good Energies Foundation and Fundo JBS pela Amazônia. It also has a wide network of partners such as Move.Social, Sense-Lab, Mercado Livre, ICE, Costa Brasil, Climate Ventures, Darwin Startups and private investors.

Differences and similarities

The AMAZ acceleration process differs from what was developed in the two years of operation of the Acceleration Program, and this redesign was made possible, in an assertive way, thanks to this previous experience.

The businesses continue to be selected through annual public calls, but the selection is made up of two stages:

Pre-acceleration, in which registered businesses are classified based on interviews and analyzes, and those selected participate in a workshop and intensive follow-up for one month, with a focus on building the theory of change, business plans and building impact indicators.

Acceleration, in which those that perform better in the previous stage are accelerated and will receive an initial financial contribution of up to R$ 200 thousand.

The training journey, which will last approximately 6 months, includes a cycle of training, personalized services on demand, mentoring with specialists, scholarships, in addition to promoting the connection with a wide network of companies, impact investment funds, intermediary organizations. and entrepreneurs of the impact ecosystem of the northern region and at the national level.

AMAZ's financing mechanism is a hybrid financing fund (blended finance), which receives investment from institutes, foundations and private investors.

About the 2021 Business Call

From 04/20 to 05/28 AMAZ promotes a Business Call to select the entrepreneurs who will be accelerated in their first class, in 2021.

To participate in the Call, initiatives must have a focus on impact on rural Amazonia; be in operation, even in the early stages; be located in the states of the Legal Amazon, or seek to act in the region (assume a commitment to start the operation within six months after the selection).

Sustainable businesses are expected in the areas of food, extractivism, sustainable agriculture and livestock, sustainable tourism, handicrafts, fashion, transportation, logistics, energy generation for rural areas and in other areas of activity.

In other words, businesses that generate solutions to the main social and environmental problems in the Amazon, seeking to conserve or recover areas of forest, talk and value biodiversity, generate income and quality of life for rural and riverside communities.

Individual entrepreneurs, companies at different stages of development, non-governmental organizations, cooperatives or associations, collectives, initiatives or organizations not yet formalized can register.

Initiatives that are already developing activities in a practical and operational way will be considered: prototype developed, in the market test phase; tested product, being launched on the market; or product launched, in the phase of capture or expansion.

Registration and the complete rules can be accessed at amaz.org.br/chamada2021 from 04/20.

About the PPA Acceleration Program

The Partners for the Amazon Platform Acceleration and Impact Investment Program (PPA) was created in 2018, accelerated 30 Amazon businesses and invested in 12 of them. 

It was considered the best acceleration program in the northern region of Brazil according to Anprotec in 2019. In the same year, it ranked second in the Call for Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development, which selected the best initiatives in Latin America that contribute to achieving the SDGs ( Sustainable Development Goals) established by the United Nations.  

In two years of operations, it has invested almost R$ 7.9 million in Amazonian businesses, bringing customized options adapted to different types of business, with a variety of sources (private and philanthropic capital) and financial mechanisms. 

Led by a group of PPA companies, the Program was coordinated by Idesam and had strategic support from USAID, Biodiversity & CIAT Alliance, Humanize Institute, Vale Fund and ICS.