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The Challenge of Strengthening Environmental Entrepreneurship

first_imgThis is the first installment of a five-part blog series on scaling environmental entrepreneurship in emerging markets. In forthcoming posts, experts in the field will provide insights on how business accelerators, technical assistance providers, investors, and the philanthropic community can work with developing market entrepreneurs to increase their economic, environmental, and social impacts.One of the greatest challenges of our time is achieving economic development without harming the planet and local communities. Entrepreneurship can play a critical role in solving this dilemma.In fact, entrepreneurs and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) they create contribute up to 78 percent of employment and more than 29 percent of GDP in developing economies. These types of businesses play an invaluable role in creating jobs, spurring community growth, and alleviating poverty. Some of these SMEs create even more value by generating clear, measurable environmental benefits.But the problem is that these entrepreneurs face a host of challenges when it comes to growing their businesses and succeeding. As Global Entrepreneurship Week is celebrated across the world this week, it’s a good time to examine the importance of environmentally focused entrepreneurs as well as the difficulties they face. Here are a few insights and stories they shared:Financing is a huge hurdle: SMEs are typically too large for micro-finance, but too small for commercial finance. Acquiring the funds to get up-and-running can be especially challenging. Impact investors—investors who funnel money into companies, organizations, and funds specifically to generate social/environmental impact and a financial return—have emerged to help finance environmental SMEs. However, actually unlocking funding can be a devastatingly slow process. Luis Felipe Avella Villegas is the CEO of Factoria Quinoa, which helps small producers in the Andean region cultivate fair trade quinoa. “The world of impact investment is so slow compared to the world of traditional investors,” he said. “And this is not good for creating results and supporting companies like ours…because when the company is in this stage of growth, we need to move quickly with everyone in the chain. The investor can’t say to us, ‘I really like your product, I love your project, but I want to wait maybe one or two years.’ Because that does not work.”Human capital forms the base of a successful business: Without a strong team, a company does not have a solid foundation to build on—and it’s not always easy to attract and maintain quality employees. “One of the most important things is a great team,” said Caio Bonatto, co-founder and CEO of Tecverde, a Brazilian company that produces energy-efficient, low-cost, wood-frame housing. “And when we talk about the team, it’s not just the people that work with you inside your office, but the people that work with you outside your office—your social network, the people that really believe in your company and make some efforts to help you. And we realize that it’s those people that make your company a success.”Download WRI’s new report, Voices of the Entrepreneurs What Is New Ventures?New Ventures provides business development and investment facilitation services to environmental entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Since 1999, New Ventures has supported 367 SMEs in six countries (Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, and Mexico) and helped facilitate US$337 million in investment capital to these companies. It’s a Hard Business to Be InThe majority of environmental SMEs in developing economies fail in their first few years of operation. WRI’s new publication, Voices of the Entrepreneurs, collected excerpts from interviews with 32 entrepreneurs supported by WRI’s New Ventures program. While these particular entrepreneurs are on the path to success, many cited several challenges they faced along the way, such as accessing finance, attracting and maintaining quality human capital, tackling limited markets and mindsets, overcoming unsupportive policies, coping with risk and uncertainty, and distributing their products and services. Distribution challenges make it hard to reach scale: “Once we had solved technology and affordability problems, we realized the problem was, how do we go to the village to sell the product?” said Mayank Sekhsaria, co-founder of Greenlight Planet, which designs and distributes solar-powered lanterns to rural customers in India and Africa. “The biggest challenge was, and remains, distribution. How do you go the last 50 kilometers? We have the solution [the product]. How do we scale it up, replicate it, and grow faster?”Scaling Up Environmental EntrepreneurshipLuckily, there are many organizations working to help these businesses grow. Accelerator groups like New Ventures help entrepreneurs develop solid business plans and skills, link them to networks of mentors and supporters, and showcase their business models to investors. Other groups that also help SMEs expand their impact include philanthropies, impact investors, policymakers, corporations, and international development institutions.We’ll be exploring how some of these SME facilitators work in our ongoing environmental entrepreneurship series. We hope that by highlighting both the challenges and solutions SMEs face, we can raise awareness and help environmental entrepreneurship grow in developing nations. After all, ensuring that environmental SMEs reach scale can have a global impact—environmental entrepreneurs provide the innovative business models, technologies, products, and services that can shape growth that’s truly economically and environmentally sustainable.WRI is launching its “Voices of the Entrepreneurs” report at an event on November 14, 2012. Visit WRI’s website for more information about the event.last_img read more

Mamata lauds state govt after Bengal bags Krishi Karman award again

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday expressed her happiness after Bengal got nominated for the Krishi Karman award by the Centre yet again. She also congratulated the government officials who contributed to achieving the significant milestone.Taking to Twitter, Banerjee said: “I am happy to share that West Bengal has been selected once again for Krishi Karman Award by Govt of India for the year 2017-18, primarily for maize production.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”Earlier, we received it for five consecutive years from 2011-12 to 2015-16. I want to congratulate all state officials involved for their performance. Keep up the good work,” she added. It may be mentioned here that the state Agriculture department has increased the production of cereals and also ensured a sharp rise in production and increase in the area of maize cultivation. In the past few years, there has been a manifold increase in production of food grains and oil seeds. Major steps were taken to bring in more agricultural land under oil seed cultivation. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe Centre had not issued any Krishi Karman award last year. In the past, the state government has experienced a growth in the cultivation of food grains. The increase has helped the state top the list among all other states a number of times, in this particular segment. In oil seed cultivation too, there has been a growth of more than 30 percent in Bengal. It can be stated that in order to bag the award, representatives from the state Agriculture department are required to give different presentations in Delhi, demonstrating the methods and processes opted by the state government to augment the production of cereals and food grains. The Centre also has its own mechanism to monitor the performance of the state. It has a satellite-based system for monitoring, which helps prepare a list containing names of all states. Subsequently, a state is awarded, based on certain parameters.last_img read more

Kejriwal promises 500 more mohalla clinics by end of year

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said that 200 mohalla clinics will be completed by October 15 and another 300 is expected to be completed by December. “There has been a massive expansion in the health infrastructure in Delhi on various levels. The dispensaries in Delhi were prevailing in adverse conditions, and people had to rush and crowd the big hospitals for simple medical conditions, which is why the Delhi government has constructed 200 Mohalla clinics and construction of 200 more clinics will be completed in another 10-15 days. Construction of additional 300 Mohalla Clinics is being carried out and will be completed by December,” the CM said while addressing the people at Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: Javadekar”No other city or nation in the entire world has constructed Primary Healthcare Centers, dispensaries or clinics in such vast numbers. We have constructed around 700-800 Mohalla Clinics in the last five years, for providing free healthcare facilities along with free medications to the people. We are also constructing polyclinics providing day-care facilities to the patients and consisting of healthcare specialists,” added the Delhi CM. “Delhi Government has designed the healthcare system of Delhi in such a way, that it should incorporate 1000 Mohalla Clinics, 122 polyclinics, and Delhi government hospitals thereafter. The hefty cost of treatments has made the state government provide free treatment to people in all the hospitals and primary health clinics. Medicines have been available in hospitals and clinics,” he added. Kejriwal went on to explain “Mohalla clinic is a two-room dispensary with a doctor present. It provides free medication and is apt for seasonal coughs or fever. It is not equipped for patient admission and day-care for serious health issues. On the other hand, polyclinic is a day-care facility where doctors specialising in eight different departments will be present to diagonse people.last_img read more

Doubles defeat for Djokovic ahead of Japan Open singles debut

first_imgTokyo: World number one Novak Djokovic, forced out of the US Open with a shoulder injury, suffered a doubles defeat at the Japan Open on Monday, but proved his recovery is on track. Bruno Soares of Brazil and Mate Pavic of Croatia beat the 32-year-old Serbian star and his countryman Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 4-6, 10-4 to progress to the quarter-finals. The doubles experts survived Djokovic’s powerful serves with crisp volleying as their quick court coverage overwhelmed the Serbian pair’s bold shots. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju Top seed Djokovic will make his Japan Open singles debut later this week playing Alexei Popyrin, a 20-year-old Australian, at the Ariake Coliseum, a venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. His main challengers in the Japan event will be second seed Borna Coric of Croatia and Belgian third seed David Goffin. Earlier this month, Djokovic was forced to pull out of his US Open fourth-round clash with Stan Wawrinka due to a nagging injury in his left shoulder. His return means he could play out the season and hold off a challenge to his number one ranking from US Open winner Rafael Nadal. Later in the day, 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia will face Yuichi Sugita, entering on a wild card, who leads local hope after Japanese star Kei Nishikori pulled out of the tournament due to injuries.last_img read more