“Doing good for planet, people and society can go hand-in-hand with doing well for business and shareholders,” said René Van Berkel, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) Representative in India, at the Millennium Alliance Innovation Summit where he presented the Organization’s work to support social enterprise innovators.
Taking place from 31 May to 1 June in New Delhi, India, the Forum was organized to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Millennium Alliance, an inclusive platform to leverage Indian creativity, expertise and resources to identify and scale innovative solutions to address development challenges.
“Over the past five years, the Alliance has supported 116 enterprises, touching the daily lives of some seven million people in the areas of agriculture, clean energy, education, health, water and sanitation, and disability,” said Nirankar Saxena, Deputy Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), at the opening of the event.
Van Berkel introduced UNIDO’s Global Cleantech Innovation Program (GCIP), which seeks to foster a clean technology innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in partner countries. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), GCIP supports and accelerates start-up entrepreneurs in the development and commercialization of their innovative ideas. “In India, GCIP has supported 84 cleantech innovators over four years. More than 25 innovators succeeded in raising funds for their business totaling over USD 7 million,” said Van Berkel
Some innovators have already benefited from support provided by both the Millennium Alliance and UNIDO’s GCIP, including WATSAN, which provides water and sanitary solutions to the rural population by manufacturing and distributing low-cost, yet effective electricity-free water filters; AVANI Bio Energy, which builds and operates pine needle gasification power plants to provide clean and affordable electricity for rural needs; and Science for Society, which has developed an advanced solar dryer for fruits.
“UNIDO looks forward to strengthening its cooperation with the Millennium Alliance, with a particular emphasis on the global promotion of proven innovative solutions from India,” Van Berkel said.
The Millennium Alliance is a partnership between the Technology Development Board (Government of India), United States Agency for International Development, ICCO Cooperation, the UK Government, World Bank Group and Facebook, and is coordinated by the FICCI.