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The main challenge in high-risk developing countries is that early-stage ideas and businesses are not backed by enough resources to prove commercial viability and scalability. Too often, potentially high-impact enterprises fail to cross the ‘valley of death,’ running out of cash before positive returns are achieved.

It is evident that there is capital waiting to be deployed, but the biggest challenge is to identify, invest in, and nurture scalable and impactful opportunities. Investing in the agri-food sector in developing countries is risky; yet, with 70% of the world’s low-income rural population dependent on this sector for their livelihood, the impact potential is huge. The challenge of increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers in emerging markets is tied to the food security, sustainability and poverty alleviation challenges the world is facing.

The Evergreen Impact Accelerator (EIA) – a partnership of Start-Up Nation Central, the Syngenta Foundation and the Milken Innovation Center – brings together the expertise to develop a solution for these challenges, by impacting the agricultural sector, and focusing on smallholder farmers to unlock this vast potential. The project adapts technologies to the lot size, and creates business access at scale to smallholder farmers for the startups developing these technologies. This innovative investment vehicle can help us reach the required scale, and ultimately guarantee the project’s sustainability and growth for years to come.

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The Evergreen Impact Accelerator: Deploying Technology at Scale to Advance Smallholder Farmers  


The Evergreen Impact Accelerator is designed to disseminate agri-innovation among smallholder farmers in India (an ongoing process), but can seamlessly adapt to additional markets; we have already begun testing in four countries in Africa. Once we reach the needed scale, the network and acceleration processes will grow over time without additional need for philanthropic investment.