Adopting circular economy in impact entrepreneurship

Tue, 15 Nov 2022 15:18:00  |  Print  |  Email   Share:

The international Startup Forum “Adopting Circular Economy in Impact Entrepreneurship” is held on 15 Nov. 22 in Hanoi.

The international Startup Forum “Adopting Circular Economy in Impact Entrepreneurship”

Viet Nam’s dynamic economy has positioned the country as a development hub for innovative start-ups in the Asia-Pacific region. Vietnam was singled out by Golden Gate Ventures as a rising star in Southeast Asia's startup landscape. The country is emerging as one of the region's largest startup ecosystems, forming part of the “Startup Golden Triangle” with Singapore and Indonesia. 

“I have been inspired by the number of young people who are choosing to start their businesses with careful consideration of social and environmental impact. It’s a clear sign that the new generation of Vietnamese entrepreneurs are committed to business models that ensure a positive impact on the people and the planet”, said Ms. Ramla Khalidi, Resident Representative of UNDP in Viet Nam. 

Over the past 5 years, UNDP Viet Nam has continuously supported young social entrepreneurs on their impact startup journey through the project “Youth Co:Lab”. Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co: Lab aims to establish a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in and empower youth. 

By developing 21st-century skills, catalyzing and sustaining youth-led startups and social enterprises across the region, Youth Co: Lab is positioning young people front and center to solve the most pressing challenges in the country and across the region.

Youth Co: Lab is implemented in 28 countries and territories across the Asia Pacific. Started in Viet Nam in 2018, with strong collaboration among the Business Forum Magazine, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and other partners, Youth Co:Lab has trained over 500 young entrepreneurs. Of these 30% are from marginalized backgrounds. The project has also trained 110 startup mentors and supported 35 startups with financial and technical support through the Competition and Incubation Programme. Over 500 youth joined sub-national & national policy dialogues at the local and central levels to advocate for social impact business and youth innovations and entrepreneurship.

Vietnam is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. With over 3,200 km of coastline and many low-lying cities and river delta regions, it is on the frontlines against climate crisis. 

According to a recent World Bank report, climate change impacts are already disrupting economic activity and undermining growth. Initial estimates suggest that Vietnam lost $10 billion USD in 2020, or 3.2 percent of GDP, to climate change impacts. 

It is with this backdrop that Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh pledged net zero emissions by 2050 at COP26. With this commitment, Viet Nam has joined 70 countries that have made concrete pledges to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our time. 

In June 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai signed Decision 687, approving the circular economy development plan with a number of ambitious targets. This decision seeks to raise awareness and respond to investment concerns of enterprises and investors regarding circular economy. It aims to promote the application of the circular economy model to promote green transition of economic sectors. 

Ms. Ramla Khalidi said: “The transition to a circular economy gives us the framework to support Viet Nam’s dual goals of becoming a high middle-income country and reaching net zero emissions”.  

Ms. Ramla Khalidi, Resident Representative of UNDP in Viet Nam. 

“A circular economy could unlock up to 4.5 trillion USD and create millions of jobs in the global economy by 2030, according to an Accenture Strategy study. Recently, Danish Group LEGO officially broke ground on its US$1 billion USD first-ever carbon-neutral factory in Binh Duong Province, which will create up to 4,000 jobs over the next 15 years”, stated Ms. Ramla Khalidi. 

Ms. Ramla Khalidi’s view, to move toward a circular economy requires a whole-of-society approach. We need a shared vision co-created by all stakeholders; business owners, government, academia and civil society, including young entrepreneurs, so our collective efforts in terms of regulations, investments and research and innovation are advancing towards this common direction.

With the establishment of the Vietnam Circular Economy Hub in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is consistently bridging the gap between consumers and producers, small and medium-sized enterprises, financial institutions, research institutions, ministries, and all actors within value chains by improving dialogue, generating know-how, and mobilizing collective action toward the circular economy transition.

In addition, adopting circular economy practices in impact entrepreneurship will create a great competitive advantage for young entrepreneurs, attracting investment and support from national and international programmes. 

“A growing number of Vietnamese start-ups have taken on the task of developing long-term solutions to the country's environmental issues. We are thrilled and proud to serve as a launchpad and companion to some of them, namely EQUO, a Viet Nam-based sustainability company with eco-friendly products, which was named a Top 18 Finalist in UNDP's Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge 2021 (EPPIC) and one of nine winners in the UNOPS Global Innovation Challenge for entrepreneurs. This year, EQUO has raised $1.3 million in seed investment with high evaluation of their products”, empharsized Ms. Ramla Khalidi. 

Another example is ECOSOI, a startup that provides natural fibers such as pineapple fibers and banana fibers, as well as fiber products for the fashion and garment industries, recently received a lot of attention from prestigious investors on Shark Tank Viet Nam and was awarded 127.000 USD in funding through the program. I'm also pleased to announce that ECOSOI was the runner-up in last year's National startup competition, which was co-organized by Youth Co:lab and VCCI. 

By: Business Forum Magazine



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