Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
GreenTech Rangers - One-year Pre-accelerator for Sustainability Startups
Explain your project in details:
The GreenTech Rangers programme is focused on nurturing and supporting intra- and entrepreneurial startups specifically in the GreenTech/CleanTech/EcoTech industry. In this way, it addresses is the insufficient readiness of students and young professionals to develop viable social ventures in this industry. Objectives for the first edition of GreenTech Rangers are: 1) 30 young people participate in GreenTech Rangers and receive the necessary knowledge, skills development, and mentoring support to become capable social / green entrepreneurs; 2) 20 of these participants form high-performing entrepreneurial teams and become founders of at least 7 local GreenTech/CleanTech/EcoTech startups; 3) 7 of the teams identify their market value, build up traction, and begin generating revenue. To achieve these objectives, the programme is structured into three levels: I. SEEDLING: Ideation & Preparation: Participants learn about possibilities and case studies of social entrepreneurship through inspirational workshops. Afterwards, they start building their entrepreneurial skills via a series of preparation workshops. Finally, participants form teams, develop ideas, and initiate prototyping their products/services at Eco-hackathon. II. BLOOMING: Prototyping & Testing: Participating teams work further on developing their prototypes into Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and preparing them for the market. Each team has a mentor, who guides and supports it with advice, resources, and networks related to product-market fit research and testing. The participants also go through Sustainability Bootcamp, where they evolve their MVPs into market-ready products/services. III. FRUITING: Launch & Scaling: The teams that progressed to the third and final level benefit from additional mentoring support to register their startups and to launch their products/services on the targeted markets. The teams also participate in the national and international competitions of green business ideas: ClimateLaunchpad. Finally, GreenTech Rangers Gala is organized, where successful startups present their results and positive social/environmental impact created, join the alumni network, and receive social impact investments.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
GreenTech Rangers engages 30 young people into contributing to the three focus Sustainable Development Goals (SDG7. Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG11. Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG13. Climate Action) in an entrepreneurial way. The programme inspires them to develop innovative social startups focusing on one, two, or all three of these SDGs. Then GreenTech Rangers prepares 20 most promising participants as social entrepreneurs, educates them on the focus SDGs, and assists them in ideation, prototyping, development, testing, and presentation of their social startups. By the end of the first edition of the programme, we envision that GreenTech Rangers will give birth to 7 viable startups that would have identified their market value, built up traction, and began generating revenue, while their products and/or services would support innovation and positive change in the above-mentioned SDGs. However, we have begun implementing the GreenTech Rangers programme only recently. In February April 2019, we were preparing the concept of the project and doing fundraising for it. In May 2019, we organized only Inspirational Workshops on each of the three focus SDGs and a conference Future Energy Leaders. At the Workshops, we had 15 registered participants, while at the conference about 20. Actual educational and startup-development events begin only in June, with Preparation Workshops and Eco-Hackathon taking place at the end of June and beginning of July 2019. Only then, we will be able to monitor our achievements and evaluate our success with GreenTech Rangers.
Sustainability and future plans
The 2019 pilot edition of GreenTech Rangers is designed for the organising team to learn how to set up and run such programme and to gain experience in assisting social entrepreneurs in startup development. Additionally, the first edition serves to consolidate necessary contacts, learning materials, mentors, alumni community, funds, and other resources to continue with the programme further on. Specifically, with the 2019 edition, we aim to support three dimensions of sustainability: Financial sustainability: We aim to create a long-term investment fund during the 2019 edition. The fund is designed to give the organising team of future editions a source of sustainable funding for GreenTech Rangers outside of regular fundraising. Initial investments for the fund are going to come from participation fees (another part should be from contributions of alumni, who created successful and profitable startups). Not all participants will be able to afford the fee due to socio-economic circumstances. Therefore, each of the partners will offer a fellowship to allow meritorious participants to take part in GreenTech Rangers for a nominal amount or without charge. Organisational sustainability: Future editions of GreenTech Rangers will require organisational support for implementation. To achieve this, we will rotate the responsibility of the project manager each year where practicable. For example, we expect that the current volunteers and interns of GreenTech Rangers will become members of the core organising team, while the present members of the team will transition into mentors and advisers. Value-creating sustainability: The rotation system is going to be applied to the participants and alumni of GreenTech Rangers as well. Graduates of each edition of GreenTech Rangers will become inspiring examples and mentors for participating teams in the following edition. Current mentors and trainers will bring new mentors and trainers, as GreenTech Rangers becomes well known in the social entrepreneurial environment.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am a young Moldovan citizen born on May 9, 1985, thus having 34 years old now. I am an environmental researcher, eco-innovator, trainer, and social entrepreneur with passion in nature conservation and sustainable development. I have a Master degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Copenhagen, as well as numerous certificates in Sustainable Development and Management from the University of Oslo and UC Berkeley. Nowadays I lead the development of the social entrepreneurial organisation MEGA (www.megageneration.com) as its co-founder and CEO. Previously I have co-founded and developed 3 other social startups: Dreamups, a platform for DIY eco-innovations, 3D Magic Makers, a 3D-desing-and-printing service, and ENVERACE, an automatic pre-selection tool for environmental specialists. I also provide services of gamification and management of environmental and social projects as a consultant, as well as deliver gamified training programmes on various topics related to environmental economics, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development as a certified trainer and facilitator. Occasionally, I serve as independent expert for project evaluation at the Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission. As a hobby, I teach social robotics, hardware programming, and Internet-of-Things via the FACE ROBOTS (www.facerobots.megageneration.com) courses and write poems and science fiction novels, such as The Monster: Blade of Darkness (www.themonster.info). I also enjoy painting and experimenting with combinations of visual art and technology. I possess a number of awards, including the Green Talents 2013 award from Germany, the Youth 2014 award from Moldova, and the Danubius Young Scientist 2016 award from Austria. More information is available at www.alexandriscenco.info.