Alexandr Iscenco (ELP 2013) | MEGA Co-founder; Research and Cooperation Coordinator, Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA)
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions have made many activities and events impossible to implement in a traditional offline manner. Therefore, as practically the entire globe, we have transitioned into the online environment and have adapted our activities and events to the “new norm.”
However, pollution and degradation of the environment did not go digital as well; it stayed in the offline world, damaging real ecosystems and habitats. And the need to address these environmental problems also with real-world solutions and innovations remained even in the times of “going remote and online.”
We at MEGA have been supporting environment-and-sustainability-oriented innovation for over three years. In this regard, we have organized a variety of educational programs and startup competitions, such as Eco-hackathon and ClimateLaunchpad Moldova. Since 2019, we have also been running our own pre-acceleration program for sustainability-oriented startups called GreenTech Rangers.
Certainly, our programs and events were rich in learning, networking, and fun for participants, when those programs and events were happening offline and in various inspiring locations, such an eco-village in Moldova. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to all those offline activities in early 2020. Nevertheless, the force majeure situation was not able to “infect” and kill our resolve to nurture and support innovations and startups that are able to address environmental issues still present in the world.
Thus, during 2020 and 2021, we have been trying to find a way to help young people create and develop social or environmental startups online. This is how we have begun developing the GreenTech Rangers online platform. And now, in March 2021, we have reached the milestone of releasing the first version of the platform in public and testing it for the first time within a climate-innovation-focused hackathon called Climathon Chisinau.
The GreenTech Rangers online platform is a web-based learning-and-startup-building tool designed especially for prospective environmental or social entrepreneurs, who are focused on financially sustainable solutions to environmental or social issues. We have developed this platform in order to continue running our programs, competitions, and events in online mode and to make those events even more effective in generating long-lasting positive outcomes. In this respect, our product allows its users, wherever they are located, to grow their startups with environmental or social value from raw and untested ideas to fully-fledged startups.
The current version of the platform has only several components and features from the total planned ones. Among the currently available components, the most essential one is the Startup Constructor. It allows users to develop their environmental or social startups block by block, like a LEGO constructor, by combining different elements together and seeing the startup building up. Furthermore, users can create and manage more than one startup at a time, thus experimenting with several entrepreneurial ideas at once and deciding which one is truly worth pursuing further.
For organizers of startup accelerators, competitions, and educational activities focused on social or environmental entrepreneurship the platform offers a comprehensive Administration dashboard. There, organizers can manage their events, connect with participants, assess progress of startups created within those events, and support the startup teams with training, mentoring, and consultancy.
Surely, there is still a lot to do in terms of designing and developing the GreenTech Rangers platform. For example, we also plan to add sections of video trainings, courses, assignments, and challenges into our product and to connect all of those to the Startup Constructor and Administration dashboard. Nevertheless, the current milestone of releasing and testing the first version of the platform is an important step in our adaptation to the times of “going remote and online.”
The GreenTech Rangers online platform is now available at www.greentechrangers.online. If you find it interesting and useful for your needs, we welcome you to try it out and then to give us your feedback. We are also open for collaboration within sustainability-startup-oriented programs and events. So please, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you also feel that it is a very good idea to be partners and to join forces in nurturing online entrepreneurial solutions for offline environmental pollution.