Discussing ideas for the Selayar Eco-Biz Challenge.

Selayar Eco-Biz Challenge gains momentum

Launched in July by the CCRES Business Development team with an official opening by senior local government official on Selayar Pak Marjani, the Eco-Biz Challenge is attracting a lot of interest and stimulating sustainable enterprise ideas among the community.

The Eco-Biz Challenge aims to encourage innovation and business development that supports the local economy as well as coastal ecosystem services.

EcoBiz Challenge is a business plan competition that invites community members to submit their fresh and innovative business ideas and solutions that are environmentally and socially sustainable.

“In order to provide additional support as this is a new experience for many community members, we have teamed up with a local entrepreneur Ziaul Haq ‘Cawi’ from EcoNatural,” said Dr Anna Phelan, the University of Queensland, who heads the work.

“Cawi helped me organise two teams comprised of two project officers each to provide technical assistance to interested participants on a village-by-village basis over a period of two weeks.”

Key to promoting the Eco-Biz Challenge has been finding ways to communicate and explore the concept of a sustainable enterprise and the notion of developing a profitable business that is also environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and matches the community’s perceptions about caring for the environment.  

This is where Cawi and his team have been invaluable – talking with people individually and sharing what the Eco-Biz Challenge’s definition is of a sustainable enterprise in a culturally relevant way. 

“The process has been very successful and all up we received 142 applications,” said Anna.

The best ones will proceed to a semi-finalist round and be offered an intensive workshop and training on assessing and progressing their business concepts.

“We anticipate that approximately half to a quarter of the applications/participants will be selected as semi-finalists,” said Anna. “They will be invited to participate in a three-day Business Camp at the end of October after which they will be required to submit a formal business plan.”

The final three winners are expected to be announced by the end of the year and will receive a one-time equity grant of IDR15,000,000 (AUD$1,400) to start or expand their business idea.