The Incubation Network Injects US$72,000 to Support Recycling and Upcycling Solutions in Asia

5:05:18 PM | 3/3/2023

After five months of working to scale high-impact solutions for plastic recycling and upcycling across five Southeast Asian countries, the Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge program has successfully concluded. A total grant of US$72,000 has been awarded to the cohort to further boost their operational capacities and improve working conditions, enabling them to manage, process, and recycle larger quantities of plastic waste.

"With the grant, it allowed us to hire a Consultant to analyze and assess strategic decisions and look for ways to improve our processes. This has enabled us to have a designated person focusing on our company business plan and upscaling project. We also utilized the grant for machine maintenance, bought new machinery to unlock operational bottlenecks, and hired additional people to prepare the team for our scale-up project." says Nano Morante, Founder, Plastic People. Meanwhile, Fei Febri, CEO, Bank Sampah Bersinar, says “Thanks to the grant that we received from the program, we will invest in a new waste pick-up truck, enabling us to collect more waste from our unit waste bank partners.”

The program, led by The Incubation Network, in partnership with the Global Plastic Action Partnership, UpLink by the World Economic Forum, and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, have provided tailored development support for Bank Sampah Bersinar (Indonesia), Envirotech (Philippines), Kibumi (Indonesia), Plastic People (Vietnam), and TerraCycle Foundation (Thailand).

Tailored business scale-up support

The cohort had access to a range of resources and support throughout the program, including workshops, mentor matching, and networking opportunities. To prepare for scaling up their businesses, they participated in workshops focused on waste management and recycling, marketing, and more. The insights and advice gained from these workshops helped the cohort to fine-tune their marketing strategy to cater to new audiences and develop a better understanding of the dynamics of diverse markets.

A group of nine experts, comprising business leaders, finance professionals, marketing and public relations experts, and investment specialists, served as mentors to the cohort, providing them with specific guidance and direction towards achieving their growth objectives. “This tailored program introduced us to experts that could support our identified needs, and both of the experts that were paired with us are very well connected. Based on the learnings of the mentorship, we are now going to develop our marketing strategy and campaign,” says James Scott, Executive Director, TerraCycle Foundation.

In February 2023, the program concluded with a virtual showcase with UpLink, the Global Plastic Action Partnership, and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, where the cohort demonstrated their growth and development. The showcase also helped to foster more connections, indicating promising collaboration opportunities.

“Coupled with our support for the Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge cohort, we have extended our business scale-up assistance to 358 other startups within three years, with a result of close to 148,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste diverted,” says Simon Baldwin, Global Head of Circularity, SecondMuse. “SecondMuse’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the plastic waste value chain and promoting upstream solutions is set to continue in the upcoming year, with a focus on driving progress and innovation in this critical area.”

"Innovative solutions are crucial to mitigate plastic pollution. High impact and inspiring trailblazers provide a glimmer of hope on how to take action to the impending plastic crisis through innovation. We look forward to supporting the Top Innovators to scale impact through increased visibility, expertise and learning opportunities and relevant connections through the UpLink platform,” says Poonam Watine, Impact Specialist, UpLink.

"Since its inception, the Alliance has been involved in the region’s dynamic start-up scene, connecting with many entrepreneurs pioneering innovations and novel business models to improve plastic waste management and circularity. We strive to support start-ups to be able to demonstrate solution models that are technically feasible and economically viable, positioning them for investment, scaling and replication. The Incubation Network’s programmes have been a key part of this journey, uncovering and enabling the advancement of dozens of ventures that demonstrate a real commitment to solving the plastic waste challenge in the region, inspiring us all to do more,” says Nicholas Kolesch, Vice President, Projects, at the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

B.H (Vietnam Business Forum)