Nature and Biodiversity

Meet the inspiring ecopreneurs with solutions to restore and protect the Amazon

Toque Amazomico workers Amazon Bioeconomy Challenge ecopreneur movement

There is a growing ecopreneur movement that seeks to foster 'bioeconomy' business models that preserve and restore the Amazon Rainforest while making sustainable use of its standing-forest resources in order to provide livelihoods for its people. Image: Toque Amazomico Ltda

Gianluca Gygax
Impact Lead, Uplink,
Yves Lesenfants
Sustainability & Inclusion Senior Specialist - Forest Conservation, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB Group)
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This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • UpLink, the World Economic Forum's open innovation platform, sources innovative solutions to global issues as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The Amazon Bioeconomy 2022 Challenge called for innovative projects in the Amazon Forest that protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystem functions.
  • 15 ecopreneurs were selected as winners and will gain visibility opportunities, special event invitations, curated introductions to experts and potential funders and notably, the chance to be evaluated for potential co-financing from IDB Group.

The Amazon is the largest rainforest on Earth, home to more than 34 million people and 10% of the world’s known biodiversity. Continued deforestation and ecosystem degradation across the entire 847 million hectares of Amazonian territory pose major economic, cultural and environmental threats to the region and the planet. Recent studies show that the Amazon will reach a tipping point if current trends continue.

There is a growing ecopreneur movement, driven from the ground up, that seeks to provide an alternative to the business-as-usual scenario and curb deforestation by building sustainable “bioeconomy” models that preserve and restore the Amazon Rainforest while making sustainable use of its standing-forest resources and providing livelihoods for its people.

To support this, IDB Group and have partnered together with UpLink to identify the best start-ups and organizations leading the way and support them to accelerate and scale their impact. After a successful 2021 edition, we are delighted to announce support for a second cohort of Top Innovators.

The 2022 UpLink Trillion Trees: Amazon Bioeconomy Challenge was designed and run in collaboration with various supporting partners, among them COICA, Los Aliados, IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands, NESsT and WRI Brasil. Received submissions were carefully reviewed and assessed by the community of experts from and partners to elect a cohort of 15 UpLink Top Innovators.

Over the coming months, the Top Innovators will have an opportunity to share and learn from each other, and and UpLink will work extensively with this group to scale their impact by promoting their work on our social media platforms, presenting them at our events and introducing them to experts and potential funders who can accelerate their ideas. Notably, all Top Innovators will have the chance to be evaluated for potential co-financing from IDB Group.

Amazon Bioeconomy 2022 Top Innovators
Amazon Bioeconomy 2022 Top Innovators

Here are the 15 UpLink Trillion Trees Top Innovators of the 2022 Amazon Bioeconomy Challenge:

Awí Superfoods brings food-for-good tech and regenerative nutrition from agroforestry, biofactories together into a brand with global aspirations. This allows them to accelerate the development of supply chains of new fruit and palms that protect and restore the Amazon.

Belterra Agroflorestas partners with small and medium-sized farmers to implementing agroforestry systems in previous degraded areas from cattle. They develop responsible supply chains, connect agricultural production to large clients through off-take agreements with premiums and ensure quality assurance and traceability.

Capi Bara are giving smallholder farmers in the Andes and the Amazon forests access to international markets by promoting their products in the gastronomy sector.

Cerco Verde is a solution developed and managed in partnership with indigenous entrepreneurial leaders from the Bolivian Amazon to preserve biodiversity by providing opportunities for development, employment and decent work. They enable individuals and companies to finance the preservation of natural areas in danger of deforestation.

Certi Amazônia is developing Bioconex, a digital replica of bioeconomy value chains that allows for simulations and prediction of future demands and guides the structuring of capabilities.

Chiribiquete Yarí transforms fruits from the Colombian Amazon, such as Sacha Inchi, Copoazú, Arazá and Camu Camu into biocosmetics.

Cooperativa Agraria Allima Cacao contributes to reducing pressure on forest resources and promoting the sustainable conservation of local biodiversity in Peru by supporting cocoa producers to develop their bioeconomy business models, improve the price of cocoa sold by its members and developing new commercial models.

Courageous Land work to keep the Amazon forest standing up by adding value through sales of organic sustainably wild harvested super foods. They are a Brazilian, vertically integrated agroforestry company, developing a tech platform to help expand agroforestry products sales and solutions to other agroforestry partners.

Fundación Pachamama promotes the development of innovative value chains for Amazonian products and seeks to strengthen local associations of producers, cooperatives and bio-enterprises through processes of capacity building, research, acceleration and connection with local and international markets to ensure their future sustainability.

GameForest.Club develops gamified and blockchain based approaches to support large scale ecosystem restoration and nature-based solutions through tokenization and connecting it to the biggest entertainment industry of our times: Gaming.

RONAP (Recolectores Orgánicos de la Nuez Amazónica del Perú) is an association of Amazonian chestnut collectors from the Madre de Dios region created in 2002 by 15 visionary chestnut growers who decide to embark on the path of association for the commercialization and conservation of their forests.

SUMISAWA is an indigenous-led association in the Ecuadorian Amazon to strengthen agricultural production, fish farming, animal husbandry and Amazonian wild species to promote the food sovereignty and security of the Sarayaku ayllukuna, encourage local fair trade (community economy) and preserve the biodiversity of the Kawsak Sacha-Living Jungle.

The Ocean Ranch integrates regenerative aquaculture, agroforestry, and ecological water treatment producing seafood, fishmeal, and forest products with substantial social and environmental impact. This circular economy creates an integrated agriculture solution that is 80 times more profitable than destructive extensive livestock and mono-crop agriculture common in the Amazon region.

Toque Amazonico combines rural female empowerment with sustainable development in the countryside of Rondônia through processing and producing sustainable cosmetics from Buriti and Babassu palm trees.

umgrauemeio has developed a technology to monitor the Brazilian forests against wildfires. They use their artificial intelligence and other resources to help stop the wildfires by identifying the focus and sending alerts to the brigades.

Do you have an idea which could help our forests? Do you want to offer help to one of the Innovators? Join UpLink now.

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