Sustainability, Climate & CleanTech: A Chat with the Winners of Climate LaunchPad 2020 ComputerWorld

After another successful Climate LaunchPad 2020, the winners of the competition brought forth their ideas and takeaways from the experience, shedding light on the revolutionary role of start-ups. They also talked about how CLP aided them, as well as the country in allowing a new entrepreneurial ecosystem to flourish.

Anas Sheikh from Peepu, one of the winners of the CLP was eager to share his views. Peepu is an online anti-trade platform that connects farmers directly with the customers. By cutting out the middlemen, the platform ensures that consumers receive a fair price for the goods they wish to buy, and farmers are paid their dues instead of ridiculously low prices. The application, which is available on Android where farmers and customers are directly interacting and trading, is a testament to the fact that as the world progresses, it is important to stay in touch with technology. A small commission is charged, which has been waived off in the interest of promoting online trading. The volumes in agritrade are huge, therefore even a small percentage is quite significant.

However, in addition to the economical benefits, Peepu is also staying aware of environmental threats and challenges. Anas Sheikh stated that climate change is quite clearly the most significant challenge right now. With a torrential monsoon season, urban flooding, and unprecedented locust attacks causing major devastation, the damage cannot be fathomed.

Hence, just like Ms. Ayla Majid suggested during the CLP panel discussion on Day 2, it is up to every individual to minimize carbon footprint that helps mitigate climate change. Relying on methods that cause less pollution, use of cleantech, and generally prefer environmentally friendly products are one way to help improve the environment.

While Peepu seems to be on the right track, one of their biggest challenges remains awareness and tech penetration. Urging the agriculture industry that relies on traditional and slow methods to transition to a digital mode of trading is a challenge in itself, but if successful, there’s a huge untapped market here with great potential for tech integration. For Anas Sheikh, CLP2020 has been an eye-opening learning experience that allowed him and his team to acquaint themselves better with their start-up, market, and various strategies much more intimately. This is just the first step to more marks of progress for them.

Sabaina Younas and Farah Razaq from another CLP winner, O’Naps, were also thrilled to give their interview, following a similar strain of thought as Peepu. A start-up for biodegradable, organic sanitary napkins, O’Naps sells the product directly to the customers through eCommerce and social media. Considering non-Recyclable plastic as one of the biggest threats the world faces today, they maintain that making conscious choices and reducing carbon footprint is the way individuals can go about making a change for a healthier life and future.

However, bringing about a revolutionary change in the entire hygiene industry is harder than it looks. Getting people to adapt to a plastic free-living, and urging them to change their lifestyle is hard, especially when coupled with trying to raise investment. In a country that has not yet seen environmentally friendly changes on a large scale, such ideas are to be met with a lot of hurdles. However, the winners found the program to be amazing with a very good strategy for the first step. They do, however, believe that there must be some cash prizes for the finalist start-ups to motivate and support them even further.