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The Climate Innovation Labs was a fast paced three-day event that brought together selected youth participants, representatives from identified SMEs, as well as climate technology experts within the selected sectors and technology fields in Africa and Asia-Pacific respectively to explore innovative design thinking tools, flexing their entrepreneurial muscles and creating solutions for enhanced 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.”

Finding promising solutions from Africa and Asia-Pacific

After sifting 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 involving 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 speakers of the program, “Be creative! Push the boundaries of your thinking when it comes to creating these solutions.”

At the end of the pitches, 6 teams from Africa and 7 from Asia-Pacific were selected to continue on and develop their ideas through the Seedstars Climate Innovation Academy. The teams advancing for the Africa region are the following:

  • 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. 

For the Asia-Pacific region, the selected teams moving forward are:

  • The Last Mile – Solves the last mile distribution of Covid-19 vaccines problem of potential distributors of Covid-19 vaccines by providing a portable, hybrid-powered storage container that meets the technical requirements to safely store the covid-19 vaccine.
    • CAPI – A platform that acts like Stripe for carbon offsets
    • Farm-In-a-Box – Solves challenges faced by beginner growers through providing them starter kits, and they can level up their kits as they learn more and more.
    • BioSol – Solves the improper disposal of used cooking oil (UCO) by the fast-food chains and restaurants by buying the UCO from them, converting it into biofuel and selling the biofuel to petrol pumps and office complexes to be blended with diesel.
    • Organica – Installs decentralized organic waste-to-compost units that would help housing societies manage their waste thereby abiding by rules and also reduce the waste load on landfills and the government.
    • Nirwallna – Turns urban heat islands into refreshing greeneries through effective green walls, green spaces
    • Space_era – Provides habitable sustainable and climate responsive refugee shelter

    The Climate Innovation Labs aimed to support 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). 

    This programme encouraged thinking about common problems in innovative ways. Supported by private sector experts, entrepreneurs and innovation facilitators, the participants will be challenged to think outside of the box and co-create solutions and business ideas. The solutions created will support the work of industrial SMEs to develop and adopt environmentally sound technologies, by identifying synergies with the CTCN’s work.

    “We are grateful to the extensive knowledge support that came from all the partners, speakers, mentors, climate and sustainability experts and jury who joined both the Climate Innovation Labs to encourage participants and their teams by supporting these early-stage ideas and interventions that use technology as the key tool for disruption to solve some of the greatest climate challenges and in taking the first steps into their entrepreneurial journey,” shared Anurag Maloo, Partnerships Lead for Climate and Sustainability innovation programs at Seedstars.

    The next steps for these winners are to move forward with the Seedstars Academy program to further hone and perfect their tech solutions. To keep up to date with the exciting progress of the teams, subscribe to our newsletter

    If you are interested in contributing to the program or applying to the Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator (AFCIA), feel free to get in touch with Anurag Maloo  at anurag@seedstars.com