Ecopreneurs for the Climate, a Success for Armenia

On October 24, Armenia Tree Project held the first edition of Ecopreneurs for the Climate at Impact Hub office.

70 people were expected, but it’s a 100 souls that the event hosted. This small world came to hear and judge the presentation of six ecopreneurs on their vision of a green business in Armenia and how they work for it. The six stakeholders came from different fields of activity : ARK Armenia, ecotourism in the region of Kapan, Green Age, growing products thanks to the aquaponics system, Soap for Hope, natural production of soaps with a social goal including children of Artsakh, Arevi Travel Company, mountaineering and hiking, Energy Globe, Solar energy alternative, Technology and Science Dynamic (TSD), high-tech products made in Armenia.

A ‘glocal’ initiative

Ecopreneurs for the Climate is a global event thought by young green entrepreneurs in Spain in 2002. Now, 14 countries have participated to this ‘glocal’ (at a local and global scale)initiative. For the first time this year, Armenia was part of the adventure. The mission is to boost the creation and scale up the impact of cooperative, sustainable, and sound businesses that tackle climate change. To achieve it, concrete objectives have to be completed by the participants ; the strength of the team, the innovation, the financial sustainability and the most important : the impact or potential of impact on climate change mitigation – reduction of carbon emissions- and adaptation of local communities to its effects.

Renewable energy, recycling, education, work at a local scale, deforestation, all the topics related to climate were discussed during 3 hours. At the end, two winners were selected by the jurys and the public.

Drum roll…

The winners

ARK Armenia in the ‘SME’ category. «One of the facts is that Armenia has a good number of tourists, but very few of them go to Kapan. We have statistics : one percent of all tourists that have come to Armenia actually go further than Tatev. So we have decided to build the infrastructure and mark Kapan as a touristic destination», says Oscar Alvarado, the Senior Environmental Specialist of ARK Armenia. The organization has two functioning ecocamps, one in Kapan, the other in Arajadzor village. These camps are built for tourists and for volunteers to stay. They are made from recycled materials, they include permaculture gardens to grow food and tourists and volunteers can help to grow and then eat them.

Green Age in the ‘Ecopreneurs’ category : « We can make our food production absolutely sustainable using only renewable energy sources and be fully organic and GMO free through the Aquaponics system. It is a friendly food production system, combining the crop and fish production: raising and production of aquaculture and the hydroponic cultivation of agricultural plants. The symbiotical nature of plant cultivation and fish growing in a self-sustainable recirculating ecosystem based on a natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients is completely environmentally friendly organic food-growing method that harnesses the best attributes of aquaculture and hydroponics without the need to discard any water or filtrate, or add any chemical fertilizers », explains Grigor Janoyan, Director of Green Age.

And then?

Now, what is next for the two winners ? The adventure does not stop here. The two winner’ s name will be sent to Spain where a random algorithm will select the Global winner by November 1. The reward ? The possibility for the ecopreneur to participate to the ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP22), the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is year the COP will take place in Marrakech (Morocco).

Let’s wish to our two ecopreneurs luck !

Ani Paitjan