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ASEIC holds ‘Ecothon’, a Korea-ASEAN Sustainable Business Model Competition
11 Nov 2020

ASEIC holds ‘Ecothon’, a Korea-ASEAN Sustainable Business Model Competition              


With the support of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups of Republic of Korea (Minister Park Young-sun), an "Ecothon for sustainable consumption and production" was held online to promote exchanges between Korea and ASEAN countries and spread 'sustainable entrepreneurship'.


Sponsored by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups of Republic of Korea, Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation of Cambodia, Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Lao PDR, Ministry of Planning, Finance, and Industry of Myanmar, and the Hanns Seidel Foundation Germany, and hosted by the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center (ASEIC, Secretary General Choong-lai Cho), the Ecothon was held in three countries from October 13 to 28.


Marking its second anniversary since last year, the Ecothon aims to solidify the "Korea-ASEAN Startup Partnership" reflected in the 2019 Korea-ASEAN Special Summit Co-chairmen's Statement in conjunction with the New Southern Policy and the Green New Deal policy, and to promote the eco-friendly start-up ecosystem by spreading the "sustainable entrepreneurship spirit" in each country.


About more than 100 young entrepreneurs from the three countries have planned and announced sustainable business models and held pitching opportunities for government officials and investors under mentoring from experts from Europe and Asia for a total of four days.


In particular, the Korean startups such as "RE:harvest," which developed a "Renergy Bar" that is low in calories and high in protein and dietary fiber, and "Repaper," a startup that developed eco-friendly coating materials, participated as mentors to pass on their experiences and know-how in developing and commercializing new products.


As a result of the event, 10 teams were selected as the final winners, and the best business models for each country were "Sustainble Lifestyle supporting App (Ecobuddy, Cambodia)”, "Upcycling eco-bags made of waste plastics (Norms, Laos)”, and "High-quality Rice Improvement through Agricultural Technology Improvement (Shwinann, Myanmar)."


The final 10 winning teams will be given the opportunity to participate in the global startup festival COMEUP 2020.


"It was a useful time for me to think about the business that could minimize environmental burdens and maximize profits," said Ponnery Path, a Cambodian participant.


"We thank the Korean government and the ASEIC for providing an opportunity to revitalize Myanmar's startup ecosystem, which is just in its infancy through its online platform despite the Covid-19”, said Aye Aye Win, a director of the Ministry of Planning, Finance, and Industry of Myanmar.


A total of 40 teams from three countries participated in the Ecothon for sustainable consumption and production so far this year. Through negotiations with ASEM member countries, the ASEIC plans to increase the number of countries to attend and further expand the event to create a venue for cooperation in the sustainable industries such as businesses, investors and government officials.