2.2.2 Identify innovative financing mechanisms to guarantee sustainability of eco-enterprises.

Many green ideas depend on creative business models and financing mechanisms that ensure the company can move past start-up. In Indonesia, Tinamitra Mandiri, a youth entrepreneur-led clean energy company, had to identify ways to support the conversion of public transportation vans to natural gas. They started a cooperative that provided micro-loans to provide drivers with the financing necessary to purchase a conversion kit. Also in Indonesia, Arif Nugroho has just signed an IDR 2 billion (US$206,000) contract with Aneka Tambang (ANTAM), one of Indonesia’s biggest mining and metals concerns, to restore land surrounding a former nickel mine in Maluku province using cocomesh produced by local farmers whom he will train.

Publicity is also critical to furthering the objectives of eco-entrepreneurs. For example, in Australia, Nerida Lennon is producing a documentary on sustainable fashion practices and is proposing a reality TV show that would draw attention to her issue. See also financing section.

Bright Ideas: Young Asian Eco-Entrepreneurs Transform Their Ideas into Reality

Aria Widyanto, Managing Director of Tinamitra Mandiri

Tinamitra Mandiri provides investments and services in clean energy as well as a micro-financing service for the conversion of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) in the city of Cirebon, West Java. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the economic wellbeing of low-income earners. Indonesia has a population of 234 million with 41.6 billion liters of gasoline consumed annually by 85 million cars. Air pollution is mostly a result of the transportation sector. The most common public transport is the minibus, or Angkot, 10-seater vans that are owned and operated by drivers. These public transportation workers typically live below the poverty line. The idea was to convert Angkot engines to use compressed natural gas (CNG) instead of petrol, thereby cutting their carbon monoxide emissions by up to 90 percent and  potentially doubling drivers’ earnings (typically less than US$5 a day). After four years, the idea has started to become a success with government.

Huang Ke, Shanghai Wei Wei Agricultural Development Co., Ltd.

Shanghai Wei Wei Agricultural Development Co., through its V-Roof initiative, creates rooftop gardens in order to reduce heat, smog, and energy consumption as well as promote local food production and enhance the quality of life in Shanghai. The project focuses on otherwise ignored public and private areas—rooftops—to create more green spaces. Their plans include planting rooftop gardens over an area of about 10,000 square meters in three Shanghai Project neighborhoods. In addition to being an E-Idea recipient, they also received 800,000 CYN (US$120,000) from the Shanghai government as their activities support the objectives of the municipal government’s Greenery Bureau. Other cities have expressed interest in copying the idea, but these eco-entrepreneurs want to perfect the process first. V-Roof works in the following ways: (1) building owners pay the company to design and maintain the roof garden, or (2) building owners donate roof space and V-Roof designs gardens and rents out the parcels to cover operating costs.