The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and all of the restrictions associated with it have made many activities and events impossible to implement in traditional offline manner. Therefore, as practically the entire globe, we have transitioned into the online environment and have adapted our activities and events to the “new norm”.
However, pollution and degradation of the environment did not go digital as well; it stayed in the offline world, damaging real ecosystems and habitats. And the need to address these environmental problems with also real-world solutions and innovations remained even in the times of “going remote and online”.
We at GreenTech Rangers have been supporting environment-and-sustainability-oriented innovation for over two years. In this regard, we have organized a variety of educational programs and startup competitions, for instance, ClimateLaunchpad Moldova.
Certainly, our programs and events were rich in learning, networking, and fun for participants, when those programs and events were happening offline and in various inspiring locations, such an eco-village in Moldova. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to all those offline activities in early 2019. Nevertheless, the force majeure situation was not able to “infect” and kill our resolve to nurture and support innovations and startups that are able to address environmental issues still present in the world.
Thus, during 2019 and 2020, we had been trying to find a way to help young people create and develop social or environmental startups online. This is how we have begun developing the GreenTech Rangers online platform. And now, in March 2021, we have reached the milestone of releasing the first version of the platform in public and testing it for the first time within the first edition of the climate-innovation-focused hackathon called Climathon Chisinau.
The GreenTech Rangers online platform is a web-based learning-and-startup-building tool designed especially for prospective environmental or social entrepreneurs, who are focused on financially sustainable solutions to environmental or social issues. We have developed this platform in order to continue running our programs, competitions, and events in online mode and to make those events even more effective in generating long-lasting positive outcomes. In this respect, our product allows its users, wherever they are located, to grow their startups with environmental or social value from raw and untested ideas to fully-fledged startups.
The current version of the platform has only several components and features from the total planned ones. Among the currently available components, the most essential one is the Startup Constructor. It allows users to develop their environmental or social startups block by block, like a LEGO constructor, by combining different elements together and seeing the startup building up. Information for the startup development process comes from users’ activities on other components of the platform. Furthermore, users can create and manage more than one startup at a time, thus experimenting with several entrepreneurial ideas at once and deciding which one is truly worth pursuing further.
For organizers of startup accelerators, competitions, and educational activities focused on social or environmental entrepreneurship the platform offers comprehensive Administration dashboard. There organizers can manage their startup-focused events, connect with participants, assess progress of startups created within those events, and support the startup teams with training, mentoring, and consultancy.
Surely, there is still a lot to do in terms of designing and developing the GreenTech Rangers platform. For example, we also plan to add sections of video-trainings, courses, assignments, and challenges into our product and to connect all of those to the Startup Constructor and Administration dashboard. Nevertheless, the current milestone of releasing and testing the first version of the platform is an important step in our adaptation to the times of “going remote and online”.
The GreenTech Rangers online platform is now available at www.greentechrangers.online. If you find it interesting and useful for your needs, we welcome you to try it out and then to give us your feedback. We are also open for collaboration within sustainability-startups-oriented programs and events. So, please, reach out to us to firstname.lastname@example.org if you also feel that it is a very good idea to be partners and to join forces in nurturing online entrepreneurial solutions for offline environmental pollution.
The platform was financially supported by the GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).