ClimateLaunchPad (CLP), the world’s largest green business ideas competition, held its national finals in Kenya on Friday, 8th September 2017 in conjunction with The Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC). Three finalists were selected to represent Kenya at the Global Grand Finals which will take place in Cyprus on the 17th and 18th of October 2017 where the top ten teams will stand a chance to win access to the Climate-KIC Accelerator and prize money.
Speaking during the ceremony, KCIC CEO Edward Mungai emphasized on the importance of supporting ideas which can transform the state of the environment and improve livelihoods through resource efficiency.
“A lot of the challenges we experience today could be easily solved if we adopted and supported the ideas of green entrepreneurs,” he added.
Winning the top position was team Bio Alkanol Gel consisting of Boniface Jiveri and Dr. David Musyimi from Maseno University. Their concept involves the fermentation of waste fruit peelings converted into eco-friendly fuel for domestic use. The second runners up were Clean Planet, represented by Elis Mabiria and Sarah Onchangu. Their concept was also based on waste management by converting municipal waste into gas using pyrolysis and plasma technology. Position three was taken by Dach, headed by Davies Ateka. His is a bio pesticide and fertilizer that will serve farmers efficiently in protecting their crops from pests.
The competition is geared towards supporting startups evolve their innovative ideas which address climate change. Out of 63 entries, 14 teams were shortlisted and underwent intensive boot camp training in July followed by a six week intensive pitch training. The aim of the boot camp was to equip the participants with adequate skills to successfully run their startups. Frans Nauta, CLP founder, was the lead trainer at the two day boot camp, together with the national lead for Kenya, KCIC CEO Edward Mungai.
“Things start to change when we act on ideas, and that is what entrepreneurs do. We started ClimateLaunchPad to support green entrepreneurs in building their ideas to big start ups that address climate change,” noted Frans Nauta.
Kenya was selected as the host country because of the strides it has taken in incubating and funding startups geared towards addressing climate change challenges in Africa. One of the many challenges of climate change in Kenya is its economic impact on the country. To expound on this, the study ‘the Economics of Climate Change in Kenya’ was carried out by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Oxford working with local partners and addressed three main issues. The impacts and economics costs of climate change, the costs of adaptation and the potential for low carbon growth.
The study indicated the existing climate discrepancies, have a significant economic cost to Kenya and if not addressed, will lead to future additional economic costs to the country.
Kenya Climate Innovation Centre has been on the forefront in combating climate change challenges. KCIC offers incubation, capacity building services and financing to Kenyan entrepreneurs and new ventures that are developing innovative solutions mainly in the fields of energy, water and agribusiness to address climate change challenges.
The ClimateLaunchPad competition is in its 3rd year and has over 35 countries participating mainly from Europe. Of all the startups selected in 2015 and 2016, 85% of them are still in operation. Despite having prize money as the ultimate goal, the competition has more to offer. With Keynote speakers and interactive sessions, the selected teams will leave the competition more inspired and knowledgeable in respect to the future of their businesses and the impact they are yet to make on our planet.
The selected teams to attend the finals will have the opportunity to meet the trainers, all of whom are established and renowned individuals in their respective fields of expertise. Ranging from Communication and Marketing to Geography and Land Resource Management. What they have in common is the spirit of entrepreneurship which they hope to share with the 2017 Climate Launch Pad participating teams.
By Michelle Mung’ata