2.2.1 Challenge young entrepreneurs to develop green business ideas.
Strategies for supporting eco-entrepreneurs are similar to those used for social entrepreneurs. Primary among these are developing partnerships with organizations that can support or complement an idea, building the capacity of eco-entrepreneurs and their organizations, and introducing new networking opportunities with peers—and new fundings schemes—that further the development of an eco-entrepreneur’s ideas.
E-idea is a competition that funds, supports and mentors young eco-entrepreneurs, ages 18 to 35, from seven Asia-Pacific countries (Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam). In each country, the competition identified initiatives—either new ideas (start-ups) or the expansion of existing projects (step-ups)— that could make meaningful contributions to the region’s environmental future by focusing on real-life sustainability challenges. To win, projects had to clearly address some of the biggest environmental challenges facing local urban communities. These include waste reduction and efficiency, environmental transport and travel, energy reduction, water efficiency, and sustainable design.
The program is jointly operated by the British Council and Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA). Selected eco-entrepreneurs receive funding as well as expert technical, business, marketing, and networking support for the implementation of their projects. In addition to the E-idealists featured in the following pages, E-idealists who participate in the program have come up with the following innovative ideas:
- In Indonesia, Arif Nugroho’s company converts discarded coconut husks into 100 percent biodegradable netting, called cocomesh, that is used to prevent erosion and support planting in mine reclamation sites. His clients include ADARO, Total, and Chevron. This project promotes environmental protection, waste reduction in the coconut industry, and rural job creation.
- Satoshi Yanagisawa of Japan is developing Cyclus, a hand-cranked power generator for mobile devices.
- Nerida Lennon of Australia is working with high-end fashion designers to create garments that adhere to sustainability best practice. She will chronicle the process for a documentary about sustainable fashion and the future of the industry. The project aims to spur the fashion industry to review its manufacturing processes and adopt more sustainable practices.
The E-ideas Competition estimates its reach at over 94.2 million. It has engaged 87 government ministers and senior officials while reaching 2,170 corporate, academic, environmental, and youth leaders. Over 57,000 people attended E-idea events. Third party funding leveraged by E-idealists has been £252,000.
For more information, see: www.e-idea.org.