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Climate change and the protection of our environment have emerged as global issues. While individuals can limit the deterioration of the environment by changing little habits in their everyday lives, it is also crucial to get companies across the globe involved, particularly in developing countries where attention to environmental issues has traditionally not been as strong as in the US or Europe.
Endeavor has over two dozen entrepreneurs across its portfolio whose businesses directly address climate change issues from energy conservation to waste-water management and agriculture (including natural fertilizers and other bio solutions). Enrique Gomez Junco of Optima Energia in Mexico has built a model business focused on energy saving solutions. Luiz Chacon of Brazil’s SuperBAC is a pioneer of waste-water management solutions. Nicholas Cock Duque is building a line of eco-friendly household products at Ecoflora.
Thanks to a grant from Zennstrom Philanthropies, Endeavor continues to seek out and help emerging companies who can contribute to addressing climate change and become role models in their countries. Three companies selected over the past eighteen months provide great stories of the growing trend towards sustainable “green” entrepreneurship in developing countries.
Carrot is the first car sharing service in Mexico City. The founders, Jimena Pardo and Diego Solarzano, are determined to solve the pollution issue that is caused by the vast amount of traffic in Mexico City. Carrot not only makes it easy and affordable for individuals to get around Mexico City, but it also helps solve the pollution problem by encouraging people to share and use electric or hybrid cars. Over the past year Endeavor Mexico has built an advisory board for Carrot and provided mentors to aid with customer acquisition strategy, among other areas.
Bionativa develops, produces, and sells phytosanitary products, naturally derived fungicides, bactericides, biological stimulants, and bio-insecticides to Chile’s medium and large-scale farmers. These organic products are just as effective as chemical substitutes but are produced at a fraction of the cost. The founders, Eduardo Donoso and Paulo Escobar, have chosen to focus on Chile’s large, conventional agriculture industry rather than just focus on smaller organic producers. Given Chile’s pivotal role as a global supplier of fruits and vegetables, encouraging mainstream players to adopt organic inputs has the potential to have a major impact on the sector. Endeavor Chile has created an Advisory Board for Bionativa and is helping focus the management team on sales strategy.
Indonesia’s Tirta Marta produces innovative plastics – some produced from locally grown tapioca rather than petroleum – that decompose in only two to three years as opposed to the hundreds of years it takes generic plastic. Founder Sugianto Tandio, who was recently named a Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year, has convinced most of Indonesia’s largest retailers to buy these environmentally friendly plastic bags, thereby keeping millions of pounds of plastic from contaminating the environment. Next stop, the US market. Since being selected at the Athens ISP in March 2013, Endeavor has already arranged ten mentoring sessions for Sugianto.
Endeavor has always believed in the power of local role models. Hopefully, the entrepreneurs behind Carrot, Bionativa and Tirta Marta and the many other Endeavor “green” entrepreneurs can prove that “green” business can be a profitable alternative.
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