It is clear that our world is at a tipping point, a tipping point many scientists have warned about for decades. Climate change is now at the forefront on both the political, economic, social, and environmental levels. This is an issue that is not going away anytime soon. Experts, scientists, and thought leaders in regards to climate change feel the human race has 10 years to drastically change how we live and how many of the world’s major industries do business. South Korea understands this issue which is why the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center (ASEIC) and the Ministry of SMEs and Startups of the Republic of Korea (MSS) will launch the P4G Entrepreneurs and SMEs Challenge. It will be a side event at the 2021 Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Seoul Summit which will take place on May 31st. 

The awareness of the urgency of climate change and sustainability is growing within the startup community. Over the next 10 years, we will see another wave of business disruption thanks to the rise of AI, mobile, and cloud technology. Startups and SMEs will create more transparent supply chains and more sustainable manufacturing practices. Therefore, overall sustainable development will grow in all areas across the full business landscape. This event aims to highlight the importance of cooperating roles in responding to climate change and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

The event will be operated through an online channel and is divided into two programs. 

Online Exhibition (May 31st – June 30th) 

The online exhibition will promote startups/SMEs by presenting their company profile and product/services of their business through virtual online exhibition booths. There will be 60 startups/SMEs from 12 P4G member countries. There will be both Korean and global investors, impact investors, and large-sized companies, and participants of P4G. Therefore, Global Investors and experts can explore business booths and have business meetings with participant companies. 

Investment Relations (IR) Pitching (May 31st) 

12 startups will pitch on May 31st. It will be a pre-recorded IR Pitching video (3 mins) and a recommendation video from an investment company. Each company was selected by an ministry or agency supporting startups and SMEs from each P4G member country. Expected visitors include Korean and global investors, impact & venture investors, corporates, international organizations, and international development banks. This event is a great opportunity for startups and SMEs to not only receive funding but also get feedback from investors. A Meet-up Day will be organized for companies and investors that participated in IR Pitching.

2021 P4G Summit Seoul

The event provides opportunities for impact investors and international organizations to explore through Startups/SME’s contributions to the five P4G key sectors 

  • Food & Agriculture
  • Water
  • Energy
  • Cities
  • Circular Economy 

Sustainability is no longer just a corporate social responsibility. Many companies of all sizes are beginning to realize that if they don’t begin to invest in sustainable innovation today, they will lose money from the potential clean-up costs in the future. Many corporations look towards startups and SMEs to speed up their innovation. Therefore it is in their best interest to help fast-track innovative startups on their paths towards sustainability. This is because startups/SMEs have agile teams that are working with the newest technologies and testing new concepts quickly. Therefore, the P4G Entrepreneurs and SMEs Challenge are great for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and people passionate about new energy solutions, new agriculture solutions, and sustainability overall. In addition, the event will offer corporations the opportunity to develop deep business relationships with startups from around the world. 

While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are celebrated as the global agenda for a sustainable future, challenges remain for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in achieving the SDGs. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, many entrepreneurs are facing difficulty in accessing funds and business opportunities. Furthermore, the majority of investors lack interest in companies with sustainable development solutions. These situations are hampering the growth of innovative businesses, resulting in a rise in demand for a space for global networking and business promotion.

P4G Entrepreneurs and SMEs Challenge

Recognizing this demand, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups of the Republic of Korea (MSS) and ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center (ASEIC) will provide a venue at the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit for networking among innovative start-ups, SMEs, and investors. As a networking platform, the “P4G Entrepreneurs and SMEs Challenge” will serve as a virtual space for the Online Exhibition and IR Pitching events for companies and investors.

The event will bring together leaders of government, business, civil society, and academia to advance sustainable growth through innovative partnerships in five focus areas: Food & Agriculture, Water, Energy, Cities, and Circular Economy. The aim will be to boost startups and SMEs and promote their sustainable business to the global audience. Furthermore, they will help attract investment partners through a global platform. In addition, it will give them an opportunity to expand their business into new overseas markets, especially those in P4G member countries. 

The Program is open to Start-ups/SMEs from P4G member countries that meet all the following criteria:

1) Active in the sector(s) referenced in the P4G focus areas (Food&Agriculture, Water, Energy, Cities, and Circular Economy)

2) Recommended by the related Ministries or Agencies supporting Start-ups/SMEs of P4G countries

3) Has the following funding Experience:

  • Above Seed Funding or;
  • P4G Partnership funding or;
  • Funding from International Organizations or International Development Banks (UN, UNDP, UNCDF, WB, ADB, AfDB, GCF, GGGI, etc)

Expected Participant Investors 

  • International Organizations
  • International Development Banks
  • Investment Department of Large-sized Companies
  • Impact Investment Companies/Investors
  • Global Investment Companies/Investors

The world around us is changing very rapidly. Therefore, the P4G Seoul Summit aims to help startups/SMEs both large and small, large corporations, and investors by providing foresight into how industries will change and gain access to innovation looking to make a positive impact. Moreover, startups and SMEs that are able to navigate the transition into a more sustainable world will be uniquely positioned for the future while also making a key difference on the earth. 

About ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center

ASEIC was endorsed at ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) as the initiative to enhance eco-innovation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). It is an international platform for spreading eco-innovation principles and practices among SMEs. In addition, it assists them in harnessing the new business opportunities that arise out of such principles and practices, the ASEIC promotes cooperation of green growth with a particular emphasis on enhancing eco-innovation.

Those looking for more information please contact: 

Ms. Prum Kang, Assistant Manager of ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center (ASEIC) 

Email: prumkang@aseic.org  Phone: +82-70-8852-8005