blog

Climate Solvers Rework the World

I’ve just returned from an unusually inspiring conference (isn’t that an oxymoron nowadays) in a picturesque Dalarna, just 2 hours north of Stockholm. Rework the World gathered 1,700 decision makers and social entrepreneurs from 120 countries for 4 days of workshops and discussions on youth, employment, and sustainability built around 5 central themes: energy, water, land, cities and people.

During the conference WWF hosted a workshop to highlight the need for innovative financing models that support the development and dissemination of sustainable solutions. It is clear that conventional financing models are insufficient for meeting the needs of both entrepreneurs and their customers in developing countries. Brief presentations by Bright Green Energy Foundation, Corporación Inversor in Colombia,UNEPs Seed Capital Assitance Facility and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) were followed by a lively discussion. Several entrepreneurs took the stage to share their methods and models as well as their challenges. We had the opportunity to hear of both new methods of financing as well as old methods being used in new ways.

From the workshop it was clear that many entrepreneurs have difficulty attaining adequate financing and often don’t know where to turn. They see the need for affordable financing as opposed to traditional venture capital, and the benefit of public funding as a means of attracting further investments by private actors. As far as policy issues are concerned, there is a great need for proactive and harmonized strategies to support social entrepreneurs. It was a plea for more grants and government funding to be allocated for these pursuits.

This was a good first step and we’ll take these outcomes further as we continue to expand Climate Solver in different countries and regions of the world (next up China, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana), and in our interactions with policy makers, business leaders and the financial sector.

Oh, and just one final note…I left Rework with over 70 business cards from people with whom I spoke during my four days in Dalarana.  Some were older, well-known figures from respected and established institutions. Others were young, bright and passionate - busy making things happen on the ground at a truly impressive rate. Kudos to Tällberg Foundations and YES for bringing these magnificent people together – it was a great idea and initiative. Something we all need to consider is a more deliberate integration of the two groups. Youth must be a more integral part of the dialogue and process if we are to succeed in tackling the huge challenges facing our globe.

It tickles to imagine what could be achieved by marrying the wealth of knowledge and experience of one generation with the energy, creativity and passion of the next!