THE German government through its agency GIZ and the Philippine government through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are gearing for more innovations for the Promotion of Green Economic Development or ProGED project.
Now, they are looking for bright and green ideas that can empower micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The idea generators can submit a one-paragraph proposal of an application that can help enterprises become green.
MSMEs compose over 90 percent of businesses in the country and more than 50 percent have access to mobile phones. Where people never had Internet access, now it can be possible with smart phones and applications that increase productivity or help make business better and operate more efficiently.
I was invited to share what we do as ECHOstore, being a green business under the MSME category. We, of course shared our latest adoption of green technology in the use of LED lighting, use of inverter air-conditioners, and the simple use of ceiling fans to make air-cons cool the place in a shorter period of time. All these practices made our electric bills go south and makes for a more profitable business operation.
Further, our sources of goods and produce like organic farms and sustainable suppliers are also green or environment-friendly. So, from source to store, we green it all the way.
The audience asked if MSMEs would benefit from such applications on smartphones, iPads and laptops. Of course, I replied. Instead of playing games on the Internet, entrepreneurs can find productivity apps in the App Store or Google Play to make their businesses greener.
The contest participants or idea generator can be anyone who has a bright idea that can be monetized or can mean savings or efficiency for any entrepreneur.
If you have an idea to “green” a business, enter the competition and GIZ and DTI will help you see the idea come into fruition. Log on to www.go.greeneconomy.ph before August 15.
The areas or hotspots are: Resource Efficiency, Solid Waste Management, Green Supply Management, Natural Resource Management, Green Transportation Management, Water and Waste Water Management and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. They sound like big words but actually, you may already be doing them in your company.
Women are encouraged to participate because DTI and GIZ know that many MSMEs are operated by women. Students, professionals, OFWs, investors and almost anybody who has an idea that can be mobile app ideas can enter the contest.
So talk green with your friends. Gather ideas and write it out and send to the website.
ProGED programs will be implemented until the end of 2016. Through GIZ and DTI offices around the country, it can help MSMEs around the country become more conscious about greening the environment and hopefully also address disaster risk reduction and mitigation.
People hardly connect use of materials to disasters. That plastics and non-biodegradeables lead to clogging of waterways. But that is the simple connection. The plastic you use today may be the cause of flooding which will lead to your own disasters or risks in coming to work or doing business. The styro that does not degrade will fill up our landfills.
So in our MSME business, we do not even have to think of the big stuff like waste water management. Just start with our own waste management. Do we segregate our wastes? Do we reduce waste? Do we reuse? Do we recycle?
We started in 2007 with the motto “Live Green” and soon after we founded ECHOstore and made green our first agenda. We used old magazines for our shipping bags. We did not use styro or plastic grocery bags for take out food. Then the LGUs followed with ordinances banning plastics and styro use.
It can be done by small and medium size enterprises. It can be done by you and imagine how our economy will progress and our own businesses profit when we start greening our supply chain and our very business.
Greenovation. It’s something MSMEs can really use.
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao and Cebu City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.