In an effort to encourage green growth, the Global Green Growth Institute is turning to the many young entrepreneurs around the world who have innovative business ideas, but lack finance and technical trainings.
Recognizing the role of young people in accelerating the world’s transition toward green growth, the Seoul-based international organization hosted a pilot Greenpreneurs Program, designed to supercharge green growth startups particularly in and for developing countries.
The 10-week global competition began in July and was open to young people between the ages of 18 and 35. Of the 349 applicants, prizes went to teams from Uganda, Indonesia, Morocco and Cambodia at an award ceremony during the GGGI Council on Oct. 31.
The Weye Clean Energy Company from Uganda presented “biomass charcoal briquettes,” a way of commercializing grass and root waste to address the deforestation and smoke-related health problems in the country, where firewood is used for cooking and heating.
For farmers who frequently get ill from the improper handling of synthetic pesticides, Bumdest from Indonesia came up with an organic pesticide called “CountrySide,” consisting of derivatives of clove and lemongrass oil.
Raising awareness about the 311 million tons of plastic waste in the sea was Paveco, a startup from Morocco. It developed a new construction material that can replace concrete and consists of about 80 percent plastic waste.
Addressing Cambodia’s chronic flooding problem, Cambodia Green Infrastructure presented a “green infrastructure and bioretention system,” using strips of land within a city to create small gardens and parks for rainwater to drain into.
“Young entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas for developing countries’ green growth still lack access to right technical training, network, mentorship, and seed capital,” Frank Rijsberman, the GGGI’s director-general, said.
From the program, the participants were provided with web-based training modules and a designated mentor who helped them structure their business ideas. The goal was to encourage green growth while also addressing social challenges.
Describing the Greenpreneurs Program as a success, Rijsberman said GGGI hoped to bring in physical incubators in four to five countries to connect to the participants for next year.
“This year, it was a business competition limited to virtual mentoring over the web. The next step would be the physical incubators around the world to join the green streams to nurture green entrepreneurs.”
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com)