Climate Innovations Labs held a recently concluded 3 day virtual events in Africa and Asia-Pacific where it brought selected youth participants, representatives from identified SMEs as well as climate technology experts. It created the opportunity for start-ups in Africa addressing climate change to work side-by-side to explore innovative design thinking tools and show their entrepreneurial spirit for improved climate action.
The UN Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), that is co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in partnership with SAFEEM and Seedstars hosted the first part of the Climate Innovation Labs in Africa and Asia-Pacific last year.
Dr. Rose Mwebaza, CTCN Director, shared, “We are very proud of all those almost 800 people from more than 50 countries that were interested to join us at the Climate Innovation Labs. So many inspirational and innovative climate innovators! Also, what an amazing global team of mentors. I would like to thank each of you for working on solutions for enhanced climate action. I strongly believe that the pathway to success is working together.”
The Climate Innovations Labs initiative takes place over a sequence of phases, beginning with interested applicants submitting inventive climate change proposals.
As the program proceeds, applicants are given a chance to to work side-by-side with climate technology experts from small and medium sized enterprises to explore innovative design thinking tools and show their entrepreneurial spirit for improved climate action.
After going through nearly 800 applications from both Africa and Asia-Pacific, 212 participants were able to join the first stage of the program where 18 teams per region were created.
Working with 4 key solution themes which were; Energy/ Sustainable Electricity, Food/ Agriculture/ Deforestation, Environment/ Waste Management, and Infrastructure/ Urban Planning, each team identified, built, and pitched their solutions. As encouraged by Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrom, one of the program’s speakers encouraged applicants to reach their limits when designing these ideas. She said, “Be creative! Push the boundaries of your thinking when it comes to creating these solutions.”
At the end of the pitches, 6 teams from start-ups in Africa addressing climate change and 7 from Asia-Pacific were selected to continue on and develop their ideas through the Seedstars Climate Innovation Academy.
These are the teams of the start-ups in Africa addressing climate change that are advancing to the next step of this program.
Community-Based Smart Microgrids – Democratizes clean energy access for better growth
RENAF solutions – Leverages the power of communities to bridge renewable the renewable energy access in rural communities across Africa
Afri-Carbon Pay – Solves the problem of deforestation land for commercial agriculture by farmers owning woodlands by connecting them to paying offsetters.
Agronovate – Built a smart storage system that will eliminate food waste, farmers’ low income and carbon footprint by leveraging on AI, ML, IoT and Cloud Technology.
Namanzi – Supports hydroponic greenhouses through crowdfunding. Their platform connects socially & environmentally conscious people with existing Hydroponic Africa Limited who need capital to up-scale their business to reach more rural communities.
Simplified Waste – An app for municipal collection routes that uses RFID technology to deploy and track private waste collectors.
Climate Innovation Labs aims at providing support to National Systems of Innovation by bringing youth innovators and climate technology experts together with the private sector to ideate technology solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation solutions aligned with countries Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The next steps for these winners are to move forward with the Seedstars Academy program to further hone and perfect their tech solutions.
Programs like these are great motivation for many people to create solutions for issues that affect the lives of many. Not many start-ups in Africa addressing climate change are well funded locally and tend to fail at the beginning stage.