24 December 2018 – As the largest implementer of climate action in the UN system, UNDP has been capitalising on bringing innovation and business interest at the forefront of its work around sustainable environment in Azerbaijan. This year, UNDP teamed up with the Social Innovation Lab (Sil.) to host the first in the country Cleantech Ideation Bootcamp aiming to discover unprecedented innovations and unfold business talent that address one of the world’s most burning challenges – the climate change. Only a few days ago, gathered at the Global UN Climate Convention (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, world leaders and environmentalists were reminded once more that “the world is in deep trouble with the climate change” and that “the climate change is running faster than we are.”
Responding to the global appeal for climate action, the Cleantech Ideation Bootcamp brought together Azerbaijan’s top prizers from among young scholars, innovators, developers and emerging start-ups vying for the best business solution to fight global warming, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, among other damages that the planet has to endure. The two-day intensive training and coaching programme organised at the Baku Higher Oil School on 22-23 December 2018, has seen over 40 entrepreneurs, sustainability and blockchain experts, professional trainers and business mentors working together in a tireless effort to uncover green business ideas and innovative solutions to tackle climate change through entrepreneurship.
Powered by SiL., the Cleantech Ideation Bootcamp offered a hands-on and experiential learning platform to emerging cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to build climate change ventures, thus helping accelerate the achievement of the new Global Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its 17 accompanying Goals popularly known as the SDGs. Specifically tackling SDG 13: Climate Action and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, the programme drew upon the most up-to-date tools, techniques and essential methodologies for experimentation and development, such as Design Thinking and the Lean Start-up methodology.
Recognising that now, more than ever, as UNDP Administrator Steiner said, there is an “imperative to act and the responsibility for climate action “rests in the hands of business”, the two-day programme aimed to reach a goal of establishing and revamping the total of 8 new ventures at the end of the Bootcamp, with solidified business models and a clear climate impact at hand.
Select ventures include a wall painting robot, which reduces the amount of harmful toxic chemicals in paint; a biofuel alternative to diesel, which eliminates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; an online platform connecting vendors and sellers of any type of eco-friendly products with conscious businesses; and an alternative energy generator that harvests energy out of sea waves designed for ports and seaside businesses, to name a few. The top two winning start-ups were the “Ecosolutions” sustainable waste management services and “Coloroll”, the initiative that supports a robotics solution for nontoxic paint. Both teams received a direct ticket to the world’s largest green business idea competition ClimateLaunchpad Azerbaijan 2019, where they will go through 15 weeks of acceleration programme to further develop robust cleantech ventures of their own.
The Cleantech Ideation Bootcamp designed and organised by Sil., a leading innovation centre in Azerbaijan, received substantial financial and organisational support from UNDP and additional sponsorship support by EY Azerbaijan and the Baku Higher Oil School.
Written by Jasur Hasanov and Arzu Jafarli
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United Nations Development Programme
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Arzu Jafarli, Communications and External Relations Analyst