Graduates of the Blue Economy ClimAccelerator Program have not only received training in business solutions that consider social inclusion, preservation and environmental sustainability, but nine such graduates have now received funding to support their businesses.
At the end of the five-month program the participants were prepared to take part in a pitching competition to allocate funding for each project.
Officiating at the graduation and awards ceremony for the program, held last week at the Holiday Inn in Suva, permanent secretary for Trade, Co-operatives, SMEs and Communications Shaheen Ali highlighted the importance of the support such programs provide for innovators and changemakers.
“The Blue Economy ClimAccelerator Program, to me, is a very innovative mechanism that brings our young and brilliants minds in the Pacific to address some of the most critical challenges that we face, and that our oceans face, and indeed the people that depend on it face,” Mr Ali said.
The Organic Fish + Farm Mariculture Enterprise of Vanuatu won the pitching competition, earning their project 8000 euros ($19,700) as the first-place winners. Runners up, Hiri Coral of Papua New Guinea and the Samoa Women’s Association of Growers were awarded 6000 euros ($14,700) each.
The remaining six graduates who participated in the pitching competition each walked away with 5000 euros ($12,300).
These were Defiant Robotics of Tonga, Haleta Seaweed of the Soloman Islands, KBM Solutions Kiribati, Howarig Traders of Papua New Guinea, the Mangaliliu Marine Rehabilitation Project of Vanuatu and GenOrganics of Fiji.
The program is delivered through a partnership between the Global Green Growth Institute and the EIT Climate-KIC, and is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland (‘Irish Aid’).