Island Climate Initiative in partnership with the National Innovation Agency, John Keells X and MAS Foundation for Change and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program, is supporting innovators to find creative new solutions to combat plastic waste with a recently launched Plastic Innovation Challenge.
Around the world 11 million metric tons of plastic flow into the ocean each year. Plastic waste not only mars Sri Lanka’s unparalleled natural beauty but it also causes a myriad of other environmental problems – from floods to contamination of water and food. Plastics find their way into the ocean, impacting marine life, entering food chains and affecting the way people live.
The Plastic Innovation Challenge empowers Sri Lanka’s innovators and entrepreneurs to take their creative ideas from the drawing board into the real world to find solutions for some of the country—and globe’s—most pressing plastic waste challenges. The challenge, launched May 3, features a month-long application and vetting process to select the most innovative and potentially impactful ideas. Successful applicants will have the opportunity join a comprehensive six-week incubator program run by Island Climate Initiative and its partners. They will get the chance to gain key skills and understand fundamental concepts on their journey to commercializing their ideas ranging from business model canvas and customer discovery to intellectual property and fundraising.
The program will culminate with a Demo Day where graduates of the incubator program will be invited to demonstrate and pitch their technologies to an audience of consumer goods companies, investors, industry leaders, government representatives, and USAID representatives.
The Plastic Innovation Challenge is now accepting applications until 31st May. The challenge is open to anyone with ideas how to help Sri Lanka manage its plastic waste problem. Applicants can complete the application form in Sinhala, Tamil, or English at https://plasticinnovationchallenge.com/.
“Island Climate Initiative is thrilled to launch this Plastics Innovation Challenge. This initiative is an exciting opportunity for individuals and organizations to collaborate and find innovative solutions to one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. Through this challenge, we hope to spur creativity and ingenuity that will ultimately help us create a more sustainable future. We are grateful for the support and encouragement from our partners in this endeavour”- Chaminda Rajapakse – founder of Island Climate Initiative shares his thoughts.
“Plastics is a wonder material with so many possibilities. Yet we have created an everlasting pollution issue while consuming this material. Finding answers to plastic pollution creatively is important. NIA is happy to see the enthusiasm in submitting proposals to the call made in building entrepreneurship as an answer to the problem. It’s important that we nurture these eco-innovation proposals to fruition and believe this partnership will deliver in this regard.” – Prof. Ajith De Alwis – Chief Innovation Officer – National Innovation Agency.
“John Keells X is excited to be a part of an initiative that facilitates and encourages young minds to find sustainable and innovative solutions for real life environmental problems-in a time when it is needed most. We look forward to supporting young entrepreneurs build a solid foundation and provide insightful business acumen, which will allow them to create a scalable business model”- Susith Dewaraja – Head of Operations John Keells X.
About USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean Program
Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) is USAID’s flagship program to respond to the ocean plastics pollution crisis. The five-year, $53 million global program works in ten rapidly urbanizing countries to address ocean plastics directly at their source. The program builds sustainable solutions that reduce ocean plastics while empowering vulnerable populations and mitigating pollution that affects human health and climate.
About Island Climate Initiative
Island Climate Initiative is a Sri Lankan company focused on bringing in investment and providing faciliatory and consultancy services in the sustainability space. Founded in 2018, the company’s aim is to drive sustainable innovation in the areas of clean energy, circular economy, and smart agriculture.