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First-ever bootcamp for clean tech enterprises in Vietnam yields first generation of graduatesMonday, October 20, 2014 > 09:42:10
This week 24 innovative clean-tech startups graduated from Vietnam’s first-ever Clean Tech Bootcamp. This program helps small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) develop and bring to market innovative clean-energy and energy-efficiency solutions and adaptation technologies in the areas of transportation, agribusiness, and water management, according to the World Bank Group.
The initiative was developed by infoDev/World Bank’s Climate Technology Program (CTP), in partnership with the Asian Devolvement Bank (ADB), to accelerate the growth of new green businesses in the region and help reduce the significant threats posed by climate change. Vietnam is one of the five most vulnerable countries to climate change in the Asia-Pacific region. In the last 50 years sea level has risen by 50 cm, while extreme climate events (typhoon, flood, landslide, drought, saline intrusion, etc.) have cost the country 9,500 human lives and approximately 1.5% of GDP each year.
“Vietnam’s climate-related challenges combined with its rapid economic development call for local innovative solutions,” said Laura Altinger, Senior Environmental Economist at the World Bank Vietnam office. “The development of locally relevant climate tech ventures would not only enable Vietnam to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions, but also to meet energy needs, maintain competitiveness, and minimize its dependence on fossil fuel imports,” she added.
The 4-day program of lectures and hands-on workshops gives these innovative entrepreneurs an opportunity to refine their product strategies, business models and marketing pitches; sharpen their negotiating skills; and network with clean-tech entrepreneurs, investors and peers.
"To tackle climate change, we need to help train innovative and successful climate technology entrepreneurs," said Dr. Aiming Zhou, Senior Energy Specialist at the Asian Development Bank, one of the co-organizers of the training. "A bootcamp like this, which provides intense hands-on support to the most promising emerging climate technology businesses in Vietnam, plays a critical part in making this happen,” he added.
With the successful conclusion of the bootcamp, the program will continue to nurture and mentor these and other climate technology SMEs and startups through the Climate Innovation Center (Vietnam CIC). This upcoming business hub is designed to provide a targeted suite of services, including early-stage financing, technology commercialization, business development, and capacity building support. Supported by UKaid and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Vietnam CIC will deliver business advisory services and technology commercialization funding to up to 65 climate technology entrepreneurs, including equity investments to 25 companies in the first five years.
Through this support, the center is expected to reduce or avoid the equivalent of the annual emissions of 47,000 passenger vehicles (225,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions), improve access to clean water, increase agricultural efficiency, and provide access to renewable or more efficient sources of energy. Overall, the Vietnam CIC will contribute to make one million people less vulnerable to climate change, according to the World Bank Group.