Twenty-four innovative Vietnamese startups have graduated from the maiden Clean Tech Bootcamp, a World Bank-backed initiative to accelerate the growth of new green businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, the international financial institution announced Friday in a press release.
The program, the first ever launched in Vietnam, is meant to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop and bring to the market innovative clean-energy and energy-efficient solutions and adaptation technologies in the areas of transportation, agribusiness, and water management, the World Bank said on its website.
The initiative was developed by infoDev, a multi-donor trust fund within the World Bank, and the World Bank’s Climate Technology Program, in partnership with the Asian Devolvement Bank.
Clean Tech Bootcamp also seeks to help reduce the significant threats posed by climate change in Vietnam, which is one of the five countries most vulnerable to climate change in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the World Bank.
Extreme climate events, including typhoons, floods, landslides, drought, and saline intrusion, cost the Southeast Asian country 9,500 human lives and approximately 1.5 percent of its GDP each year, the World Bank said, adding that Vietnam’s sea level has risen by 50cm in the last 50 years.
“Vietnam’s climate-related challenges combined with its rapid economic development call for local innovative solutions,” said Laura Altinger, Senior Environmental Economist at the World Bank Vietnam office.
“The development of locally relevant climate tech ventures would not only enable Vietnam to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions, but also to meet energy needs, maintain competitiveness, and minimize its dependence on fossil fuel imports.”
The 24 innovative entrepreneurs attended lectures and hands-on workshops during the four-day program, which gave them an opportunity to refine their product strategies, business models, and marketing pitches; and network with clean-tech entrepreneurs, investors, and peers.
The Clean Tech Bootcamp took place from October 10 to 13 in Ho Chi Minh City.
“To tackle climate change, we need to help train innovative and successful climate technology entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Aiming Zhou, Senior Energy Specialist at the Asian Development Bank, one of the co-organizers of the training.
“A bootcamp like this, which provides intense hands-on support to the most promising emerging climate technology businesses in Vietnam, plays a critical part in making this happen.”
The World Bank said the program will continue to nurture and mentor the fresh graduates and other climate technology SMEs and startups through the Climate Innovation Center (Vietnam CIC).
The upcoming Vietnam CIC, supported by UKaid and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will deliver business advisory services and technology commercialization funding to up to 65 climate technology entrepreneurs, including equity investments to 25 companies in the first five years, according to the World Bank.
The center is expected to reduce or avoid the equivalent of the annual emissions of 47,000 passenger vehicles (225,000 metric tons of CO2emissions), improve access to clean water, increase agricultural efficiency, and provide access to renewable or more efficient sources of energy.
“Overall, the Vietnam CIC will contribute to make one million people less vulnerable to climate change,” the World Bank concluded.