On 10 November, Belarusian small and medium-sized businesses that use new approaches to struggle with climate change were awarded.
At the first call round award ceremony, four companies received Vouchers worth 170,000 euros, on average about 40,000 each. Representatives from the European Union (EU), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and other partners attended an event. In Belarus, this program is implemented with the CIVITA consulting company, and the Ukrainian public organization Greencubator.
The grant will cover up to 75% of the cost of innovative solutions and technologies developed and implemented by the winning companies. These are engineering services, development of design documentation, searching of market needs, etc.
“The linear economy – the traditional economic model – is responsible for 45% of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, which is a major obstacle to the fight against climate change. Moving to a circular economy (reusing resources, minimizing waste) helps not only reduce these emissions but also allows companies to invest the money saved in their development and help others. Therefore, the EBRD, together with the EU, supports innovative Belarusian entrepreneurs in the transition to a circular economy,” Vincent Duijnhouwer explains, Head of Country Relations, Green Economy and Climate Action at the EBRD.
Experts emphasised the company’s market potential, innovativeness, ability to scale, and competitiveness as criteria in choosing the winners.
Among the winners are the company that organises the short-term rental of micro mobile vehicles Eleven BY; My Shop Bel (Burshtat Group of Companies) develops and manufactures charging stations for electric scooters and bicycles; KinoMayak (SilverScreen Cinema Network) automates the transmission of the film screening schedule to the cinema projector; Chek Back does a project that reduces coffee waste.
CEO of Eleven BY, Denis Bogdanov: “We receive recognition from a well-known financial institution that we make a good and necessary product, and, of course, this is good financial support for our developments. We have already advanced quite far in development, and I hope that next year we will delight our users with a new product on the streets of Minsk and not only – this is an electric sharing bike”.
Eleven BY has developed an electric scooter to participate in the project and is now working on an electric bike for sharing.
KinoMayak creates a program that will automatically extinguish the lamp and send the projector to “sleep mode” for the time set for starting/leaving the cinema hall and cleaning the hall between sessions. It significantly saves the electricity consumed for idle equipment.
Chek Back and its EcoCoffee project use coffee grounds as fertilizers, additives to biofuels or cosmetics, and street deicing agents.
Vladislav Shumsky, project manager of CIVITTA and coordinator of the CIV project in Belarus, says that about 50 applications were submitted for the first round of the program:
“We have carefully selected them for their relevance and adherence to the project regulations – it was not easy to find these four champions. And companies that did not make it to the finals should not despair: at the beginning of 2022, a second round will be announced, where they can apply, and we will consider their improved projects”.
The CIV program started in 2017 in Ukraine and has expanded its coverage over time.
“We get new opportunities to support those who create solutions aimed at the sustainable and friendly attitude to the climate and the environment, which affects the future,” adds Roman Zinchenko, Greencubator Project Chair and CIV Project Coordinator in Ukraine.
He also spoke about the results of the participants of the Ukrainian project. For example, the country’s leading postal operator Ukrposhta bases energy management in various structural units on a product funded by CIV.
Before the award, a webinar about climate innovations, helpful world, and Belarusian practices was organized for CIV participants and online listeners. Speakers include Marius Brinzea, EBRD International Energy Efficiency and Environment Consultant, and other European and Belarusian experts.
CIV aims to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses in developing and implementing climate technologies. Vouchers enable Belarusian SMEs to receive a grant of up to EUR 50,000 to develop climate innovations.
The program includes five rounds of selection, two of which are in Belarus, the rest in Ukraine.