In Brief

 
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By the bootstraps

Twenty-four innovative clean-tech start-ups recently gradu-ated from Vietnam’s first-ever Clean Tech Bootcamp. The program helps small- and medium-sized enterprises develop and bring to market innovative clean-energy and energy-effi-ciency solutions and technologies in the areas of transporta-tion, agribusiness, and water management.

The initiative was developed by the World Bank’s Climate Technology Program in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to accelerate the growth of new green businesses in the region and help reduce the threats posed by climate change. In the past 50 years Vietnam’s sea level has risen by 5 centimeters while extreme climate events—typhoons, floods, landslides, droughts, and saline intrusions—have cost the country 9,500 lives and about 1.5 percent of GDP each year.

“To tackle climate change, we need to help train innovative and successful climate technology entrepreneurs,” said one of the organizers, Dr. Aiming Zhou, senior energy specialist at the ADB. “A boot camp like this, which provides intense hands-on support to the most promising emerging climate technology businesses in Vietnam, plays a critical part in making this happen.”

Drawing on the success of the boot camp, the program will continue to nurture and mentor climate technology enter-prises through the Climate Innovation Center (Vietnam CIC). Support from the U.K. Department for International Development and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will help deliver business advisory services and technology commercialization funding to many climate technology entrepreneurs, including equity investments to 25  companies in the first five years. Through this support, the center is expected to reduce or prevent the equivalent annual emissions of 47,000 passenger vehicles, improve access to clean water, increase agricultural efficiency, and provide access to renewable or more efficient sources of energy. Overall, Vietnam CIC will help protect a million peo-ple from the ravages of climate change.

Spoon-feeding

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the PepsiCo Foundation have launched the Sustained Program to Improve Nutrition (Spoon), a five-year program designed to prevent undernutrition and reduce the risk of obesity in babies living in poor areas of Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.

âUndernutrition and obesity-related health problems are rising sharply in Latin America, and they...

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