For a Better, Greener Future
By Sanuj Hathurusinghe
Combustion of fossil fuel which results in the emission of greenhouse and toxic gases, excessive use of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials, and unsustainable business practices that add to individual and industrial accumulation of carbon footprint – are all factors that contribute to global warming of which we have been blissfully ignorant for so many decades. However, the time has now come to open our eyes to see the damage we are causing to the environment and to realise that to have any sort of future, we immediately have to adopt sustainable practices on both an individual and corporative level. In this regard, Sri Lanka has made some optimistic commitments under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
Green Energy Champion
In Sri Lanka’s efforts to become sustainable, we are helped by some countries who are leading by example by adopting sustainable practices in various sectors. On behalf of Germany, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has teamed up with the Government of Sri Lanka – the Ministry of Power and State Ministry of Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development to be precise – to improve energy efficiency in Sri Lanka. One of their nationwide initiatives, ‘Green Energy Champion’ has been in effect in Sri Lanka since 2016 and has already achieved much in creating awareness on energy conservation and promoting energy innovation. “It has become increasingly clear that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced worldwide in order to stop global warming. Especially a small island nation like Sri Lanka is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. Resource efficient and sustainable solutions for transport, industry and use of renewable energy have a particularly high potential to counter the impacts of climate change. As Sri Lanka has set itself ambitious targets to meet the national energy needs with renewable energy by 2030, based on its own experiences and its drive to promote and support the use of renewable energies worldwide, Germany is very committed to cooperate with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Power, State Ministry of Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development in improving energy efficiency in Sri Lanka,” said Ambassador of Germany to Sri Lanka Holger Seubert.
Green Energy Champion Accelerator 2021
Each phase of the initiative so far had two main components – awareness campaign and promoting green energy solutions. Taking their efforts up a few notches, this year, they have introduced Green Energy Champion Accelerator 2021 targeting an integral sector of countries economy – start-ups and small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs). “This time, the Green Energy Champion will specifically support start-ups and entrepreneurs with innovative and disruptive business ideas in the areas of sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Selected entrepreneurs will undergo the Green Energy Champion Accelerator 2021 implemented by Hatch Works and Good Life X together with GIZ. The Green Energy Champion Accelerator 2021 will provide selected start-ups and entrepreneurs with tailored support in strategy development, marketing, match-making and prototyping materials equalling to Rs 1.5 Million,” the Ambassador added.
How it works…
The Green Energy Champion 2021 is an advanced accelerator programme that offers intense, rapid, and immersive training aimed at accelerating business growth. The programme hopes to support startups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs to create a better future for people and for the planet through their sustainable business mission and ideas. It is a great opportunity for innovators to interact with established local and international giants in the same arena as the Accelerator offers visibility among key political stakeholders such as the Ministry of Power, State Ministry of Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development and the German Federal Foreign Office, while also extending potential penetration opportunities in global markets via the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka.
Keen interest from start-ups
Although the accelerator programme is not a novelty concept for Sri Lanka as Hatch Works and Good Life X have been conducting such programmes for the benefit of SMEs and start-ups, an accelerator programme in the green energy arena is rather new to Sri Lanka but despite the unfamiliarity, there have been a large number of inquiries from various entities. “We are getting a lot of inquiries because there are lots of people working in this sector who are keen to grow and have opportunities. We are getting responses from different types of groups such as established companies, students, entrepreneurs who are trying out new products. The response so far has been very positive,” said CEO/Founder – Good Life X Randhula de Silva.
“Start-ups and SMEs contribute to the economy of the country at a large scale. The acceleration of growth of start-ups and SMEs are able to contribute to the increase of the GDP of our country,” said Co-Director of Green Energy Accelerator 2021, Sasmini Bandara from Hatch Works. Since the programme is supported by the Government and brings both local and international expertise for the benefit of the applicants, Bandara thinks Green Energy Champion Accelerator 2021 is a golden opportunity to all start-ups and SMEs in the country gain knowledge, experience, and funding. Since the programme is absolutely free, the applicants only have to dedicate time to receive an endless amount of benefits.
“I invite all the innovative start-ups and SME’s to grab this one time opportunity to accelerate your growth,” Bandara said. “We are very much looking forward to a new successful round of the Green Energy Champion and would like to invite all entrepreneurs in the fields; sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, and renewable energy to submit their applications. All past winners have achieved great success and visibility in Sri Lanka through the support of Federal Foreign Office, German Cooperation, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Power, State Ministry of Solar, Wind and Hydro Power Generation Projects Development, the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority, and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka,” added Ambassador Seubert. So, what are you waiting for? If you have an innovative product or a prototype with regards to sustainable mobility, energy efficiency or renewable energy, visit Green Energy Champion website now to submit your application. The detailed description about the programme and the FAQs answered will provide all the details you need.
A resounding success
Since its initiation in 2016, Green Energy Champion has steadily been reaching out to broader audiences, spreading awareness about the possibilities and potentials of sustainable energy and mobility concepts. “To date, the project’s media campaign has reached over 4.3 million users. It is the aim of the project to provide households with easy-tounderstand energy efficiency guidelines to motivate people to save electricity in their homes and their everyday life too,” the Ambassador said.
“In the programmes, which were run in the past phases, more than 160 applications with innovative and resource-friendly projects in the area of sustainable energy and mobility were submitted by private citizens, municipalities, universities, public authorities, and SMEs. One of the past winners was able to equip a college with a photovoltaic system and introduced a waste separation system with composting capacity from the price money,” the ambassador revealed one of many success stories of Green Energy Champion. This as well, with the addition of the Accelerator programme, Green Energy Champion will achieve even bigger success, imperative in their journey towards helping Sri Lanka to achieve the SDG number 7.