Aspirations and Inspirations for Sustainable Development: Acc Lab Nepal in the 2nd year!

September 21, 2021

Collective Intelligence Session with Innovation Eco-system players of Kathmandu, UNDP.

761 days ago, the UNDP Accelerator Lab was launched in Nepal. Seems like it was just yesterday when the 3 of us, the explorer, mapper and experimenter embarked on a journey that have enriched us professionally and personally in every aspect.

In these past 761 days, we have been trying to learn as well as unlearn all that we collectively knew about working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agenda 2030. In order to deep-dive into our frontier challenges, we have conducted series of collective intelligence sessions, mapped solutions and tested few viable solutions through experimentations. As Acc Lab Nepal has hit the milestone of being in its 2nd year of operation, we wanted to steer the spotlight on few of our completed and on-going projects.

Every year more than 500,000 youth enter the job market, the rate of unemployment which is 11.4% is one of the highest in the region (UNDP, 2021). The economic sector has been impeded by the pandemic, thus few of the interventions that we launched before the pandemic has been pivoted to re-integrate inclusiveness and amplified outreach. One such intervention is our collaboration with Kathmandu Metropolitan City to pilot Kathmandu Business Hub. The vision is to ultimately build a physical infrastructure which will have an “open-door” policy for every entrepreneur/ innovator in Kathmandu looking to accelerate!

Saroj Basnet said, ”K-Hub aims at providing relatively longer term support to aspiring young entrepreneurs so that their innovative ideas would turn into a business. While doing so, K-Hub will engage the private sector academia, industry experts, investors and other government and non-government agencies to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship eco-system in  Nepal."

Thinking out loud

This year (2021) we are planning to launch the pilot programme of K-Hub where we will be nurturing 20 innovative ideas during the 1st 3-month cohort.

SipShala Portal, Cell App Innovations

We simply cannot underestimate the power that data and technology has to reach countless people in one click! in 2020 we partnered with Cell App Innovations to create-  SipShala, a digital platform that exchanges opportunities and network between opportunity seekers and providers. The portal uses Blockchain (Hyperledger) to create better matches among the users of the portal, the Artificial Intelligence keeps track of user behaviors with their consent for learning and creating automated skills match suggestions to the job seekers. The major objective is to help re-establish COVID-19 affected jobs. Apart from jobs, it also supports entrepreneurs to connect with their peer groups, gain access to mentors’ network and receive investment opportunities. With technical assistance from Accelerator Lab the portal has been iterated to become more inclusive in terms of workforce diversity and tested in 3 local government i.e. Biratnagar Metropolitan City, Waling Municipality and Birendranagar Municipality. “In the long run, the platform envisions to aid into accelerating the Entrepreneurial culture in Nepal and with Sipshala we aim to bridge over 100,000 opportunities,” says Mr. Manoj Bhattarai, CEO of Cellapp Innovations.

Mass production of plastic mixed bricks (Green Roads Waste Management)

Now, let’s hear from our partners with whom we are mapping and exploring solutions around plastic waste management. Mr. Bimal Bastola, a local plasticpreneur from Pokhara says, “I want Nepal to become a zero-waste nation, this is always been an internal driving force for me and my team. We want to do everything in our reach to combat the impacts of Climate Change.” Thus, at the heart of our plastic bricks project is our partner’s dedication towards minimizing the quantity of non-recyclable plastic waste from landfills and finding the optimum quantity of non-recyclable plastics which when used along with aggregates such as cement and sand will overcome the current standard requirement as per the building code of Nepal.

Green Roads Waste Management team holding the shredded non-recyclable plastics used as the raw material for producing the plastic bricks.

Together we have built a small infrastructure using plastic bricks in collaboration with Pokhara Metropolitan City to test its strength and sustainability quotient.

Community Immersion (Aeloi)

Sonika and Tiffany from Aeloi say,” Hearing the stories of women who have pushed forward the Electric Vehicle/ Safa Tempo sector for the last 30 years is very inspiring. We hope to help increase this green pioneer legacy though growing financial inclusion through our approach.” The Green Energy Mobility project is aiming to support informal sector women entrepreneurs in the safa tempo industry. By setting up a digital system equipped with Interactive Voice Response System and USSD technology this project aims to help women entrepreneurs gain access to finance as well as tap into a new customer base by enabling a private hire feature.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues, partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries for supporting us, guiding us and for being our motivation. Stay tuned as we launch new projects, partnerships and learnings in coming days. 

Women Safa Tempo entrepreneur (Aeloi)

UNDP Accelerator Lab in Nepal is working closely with development partners, the private sectors and grassroot innovators as a “vehicle” to test innovative solutions around unplanned urbanization and unemployment. It is on a quest to invest technical expertise on these two frontier issues in order to map, and explore a portfolio of experiments to foresee more possibilities.