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Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme

Supporting the development of new, exciting and innovative ideas for sustainable businesses in Nepal

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Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme

2021-07-23

The Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme aims to support the development of new, exciting and innovative ideas for sustainable businesses in Nepal that harness nature-based and craft-related solutions to promote positive environmental impact and climate change resilience. The programme supports ideas in craft and related sectors that empower the most vulnerable people who are first to feel the effects of climate change.

The Innovation Grant Programme is for individuals and teams from diverse backgrounds who have ideas grounded in nature-based processes and craft-related practices which protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges like climate change. Those excited about creative problem-solving and committed to developing ideas to realise climate change resilience in Nepal (and perhaps beyond) through their entrepreneurial capacities would be best suited for this opportunity.

Your idea can be completely new or something you have been working on already, though we expect as a minimum that you have begun to discover more about and define your idea. The idea could be for a new object, service or process, or for improvements to ones that already exist, and for small or large businesses. You can apply as an individual or a team. No education or disciplinary qualifications are required to apply.

As part of our commitment to deliver an inclusive programme, we encourage applications from anyone and would particularly welcome applications from females, young people, people from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

Why the craft sector?

Craft making is a major tradition, vocation and export of Nepal. The many sectors that combine to form the craft industry employ a considerable portion of Nepal’s labour force which includes a significant number of women / girls, ethnic minorities and indigenous people. This has allowed for the economic empowerment of many vulnerable groups and communities, such that craft has long-served as a vehicle for sustainable development activity in the country.

Craft signifies Nepal’s diversity, identity and people. It enjoys a history which is rich with innovative and contemporary thinking but it is also in need of urgent action to protect its intangible cultural heritage and to graduate it from its informal status. Additionally, the many craft sub-sectors are directly connected to Nepal’s unique natural heritage and biodiversity, which makes them highly susceptible to climate change but also a potential investment area for greener post-pandemic recovery.

The Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal (FHAN) has announced 2021 as Handicraft Year, which will be supported by the Ministry of Industries and Supplies and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. This programme aims to support this national campaign.

What does the Programme include?

The Programme includes an incubator event followed by the opportunity to access additional support.

During the incubator event you will:

  • Learn about establishing a business that is people-, planet- and purpose-centred, and that can create sufficient profit to realise and sustain your idea. Learning will take place through case studies, workshops and activities that focus on values-based frameworks for development of businesses that aim to achieve social, environmental and financial benefits.
  • Have the opportunity to refine or develop your idea through discussion, collaboration and research.
  • Define what success looks like for your business idea, and understand who or what else (e.g. skills, training, equipment) you need to maximise your chances of success.
  • Consider how best to tell the story of your business and its authentic connection to people, planet and purpose as a means to maximise audience reach and benefit.

The incubator event will take place during 3-5 and 8-10 Mar 2021, and will be delivered online with the opportunity for some participants to attend in person sessions at KU’s Center for Art and Design, subject to availability and Covid-19 safety guidelines at the time. In-person sessions will be prioritised for those individuals who can prove barriers to accessing virtual sessions.

Participating in the incubator event will help you to acquire the tools to refine your idea and help work towards climate change resilience in Nepal.

After the incubator event, participants will be able, if desired, to apply for additional support to help them develop their idea(s) further. The support package, from April-September 2021, includes:

  • Tailored mentoring over six months from Nepali and UK experts in sustainable business practices & nature-based solutions.
  • Grant support for the creation and testing of prototype objects, services and / or processes.
  • The opportunity to showcase your work to audiences in Nepal and the UK in the lead up to the November 2021 UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) UK.

Further information on the Programme and the application (in Nepali and English) can be found here: www.kuart.edu.np/cop26. For support please contact [email protected]

Road to COP26 is a campaign of activities in the lead up to the next UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) UK in Glasgow, Scotland (1-12 November 2021). It is implemented by the British Council and is sponsored by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Nepal. The Innovation Grant Programme is a partnership between Kathmandu University with Applied Arts Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University. The programme is supported by the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme and the National Innovation Centre Nepal.

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