Monday 29 August 2011

British Council

6 Young Japanese Eco-Entrepreneurs Win the British Council and LRQA E-idea Competition
The British Council and LRQA's E-idea is an innovative competition that funds, supports and mentors young eco-entrepreneurs from seven Asia-Pacific countries 

Six young eco-entrepreneurs triumphed over a field of 63 applicants in the E-idea competition, to win up to 600,000JPY in seed funding as well as mentoring and international training opportunities for projects they have devised to address some of the environmental challenges facing their local communities.

E-idea is an innovative competition that funds and mentors young eco-entrepreneurs in Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, and was launched by the Rt Hon William Hague, the UK Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs in January in Australia.

In each country, three prizes for start-up ventures and three ‘step-up’ prizes for expansions of existing projects were recruited The winning projects were selected by panel of LRQA and British Council specialists through face-to-face interviews after document screening.

In Japan, E-idea was open to Japanese citizens and residents aged 18-35, and applicants were asked to formulate proposals for projects that address one or more of the following sustainability issues: transportation, waste reduction, energy reduction and efficiency, sustainable design; initiatives for creative industries, and positive communications campaigns. The projects were further evaluated on their ability to produce behaviour change amongst a defined target audience, focus on a specific community or industry, capacity to be replicated or expanded over time, clear communications plan, prospects for future commercialisation and investor/donor appeal.

The winning eco-entrepreneurs will each receive seed funding of up to 400,000JPY for “start-ups” or 600,000JPY for “step-ups”to implement their project. They will also enjoy professional mentoring and access to LRQA’s global business network of 60,000 clients to gain the leadership, business, project management, technical, fundraising and marketing skills they will need to bring their E-ideas to fruition. The winners will also have opportunities to gain exposure through in-country, regional and UK media campaigns conducted by the British Council and LRQA. All the 42 selected eco-entrepreneurs in the region will be announced on September on the E-idea website. The awards ceremony for E-idea winners in Japan will be held at the British Embassy on 21st September 2011.

<E-idea Competition Details>

  • Start –up E-idea winners

『Exploring rice fields through Segways』
Taishi "Brian" Azuma (34years old Mimasaka City, Okayama Prefecture)
Mountain villages and the maintenance of terraced rice fields are being affected by aging populations and reduction in rice production. Our project is aiming to use the drainage systems of the terraced rice fields to produce energy through the use of a micro hydroelectric generation system. This project aims to create a new value to the cost of maintaining existing rice terrace fields by providing energy for local use. We aim to use the energy for developing eco-tourist opportunities, powering Segways to increase access to local sites, and promoting interaction between rural and urban communities. We are also looking to use the energy source to power vehicles and farming machines in place of the currently used fossil fuels to make our community more sustainable.

Satoshi Yanagisawa (33 years old Nishi Tokyo City, Tokyo)
A fundamental paradigm shift is necessary to promote user awareness of a true sustainable future, and design has a crucial role to play as a catalyst for this shift. Cyclus has been designed as a hand-held, portable power generator, which can be taken anywhere and used in daily life  Using practical and reliable technologies, users can rotate the lower part of the Cyclus several  times, providing constant rotational energy which can be used to recharge, for example, various hand-held digital devices without a negative impact to the environment.  Through its design and use, Cyclus also aim to promote user-awareness of the movement toward a more sustainable society.

『Horses and Humans together』
Tatsunori Kikuchi (35 years old Daito Ward, Tokyo)
Self-sufficiency rates for agriculture production are falling in Japan and the food mileage of the products we buy are increasing. How can we increase production in areas that are suffering from a fall in the number of the working population and a decrease in the number of farms? For our project we are using unused land at a horse riding club in Tomisato City, Chiba prefecture. Using the horse manure from the riding club, we are developing a farming project which reduces dependency on fossil fuels and contributes to the conservation of local ecosystems. We are also looking to increase the food self-sufficiency ratio in our area and also to address the issue of unused farm land in communities.

  • Step Up E-idea Winners

『Energy Literacy Platform』
Shuichi Ishibashi (31 years old, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture)
Conserving energy is important both for environmental and economic reasons, but how many people really know how much electricity is used for the various appliances and devices which surround them, or how much energy is saved by switching them off? Normally, we only realize how much energy we have used once the bill comes from the electric company. However, the bills cannot tell us how much energy was used for individual items such as the refrigerator and the vacuum cleaner. The Energy Literacy Platform (ELP) is a tool that shows you how much electricity you are consuming in your home for individual items. Users can learn more about the amount of electricity that they are consuming every day in a more intuitive way, and so increase their home energy literacy. Through the use of ELP, our goal is to reduce wasteful electricity usage and promote more efficient home energy consumption.

『Art School by FUNFAM』
Tsuneyuki Fujioka (35 years old  Adachi Ward, Tokyo)
"Deforestation" has now become a hot issue worldwide, and there has been a tightening of regulations for timber harvesting. Our goal is to make people aware of an alternative to fossil-fuel derived products by promoting bamboo tableware as a sustainable and renewable resource. We believe environmental issues will not be tackled until we examine our culture of mass production and mass disposal. The "Art School' workshop is an interactive program for children to make original bamboo plates through their own designs in collaboration with the bamboo craftsman at FUNFAM.  Through the workshop, we aim to raise awareness of environmental issues among children and their families and provide an opportunity to learn more about the super, eco-friendly material- bamboo.

 『Tie for Change』
Hiromi Morimoto (34 years old Suginami Ward, Tokyo)
Tie for Change aims to change our perception and behaviour from a position of looking at what we don’t have to one which embraces the richness of what we already possess. Utilising unwanted, donated neckties, we clean and remake them, and also use the ties to fashion into other items such as cufflinks, tie-clips and hair bands, which we sell at fairs and markets through our professional image consultants. Tie for Change aims to contribute to sustainability by creating an ecological, educational and empowering platform, where “looking better” can lead to “making society better” by being more environmental friendly through the reuse of unwanted items. In the remaking of the ties, we provide employment opportunities to disadvantaged people in the society such as homeless and single mothers. We are keen to expand this initiative to other countries.

  • Organisers: British Council, Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance Limited (LRQA)
  • Supported by: Ministry of the Environment (MOE)

About Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance Limited (LRQA)

LRQA is a member of the 250-year-old Lloyd’s Register Group and is a leading independent provider of Business Assurance services including certification, validation, verification and training. The Group enhances the safety of life, property and the environment by helping our clients to ensure the quality construction and operation of critical infrastructure. It comprises charities and non-charitable entities, which support the charities in their main goal. 

LRQA brings a well-established independent and authoritative professional global network as well as a high level of technical climate change expertise. The E-idea competition will give the young winning entrepreneurs the opportunity to work with LRQA’s global business network of 60,000 clients.

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