Processes paddy husks into fibre for boxes, packing material
Has the potential to improve the livelihood of farmers
AN idea to turn fibre derived from paddy husks and stalks into recyclable boxes and other packing material won the Malaysian leg of the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP).
Free The Seed Sdn Bhd came out tops in the competition-based accelerator programme that aims to nurture startups in the green technology sector to bring their ventures to the next level by providing them with mentoring, coaching and connections to the right investors and markets.
Organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) and The Cleantech Open accelerator, and supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the programme was held for the first time in Malaysia.
The GEF is a partnership of international institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector from 1983 countries that addresses global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.
The local leg of the competition was managed by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT). South Africa, Turkey, Armenia, India and Pakistan held similar events, MIGHT said in a statement.
“I was very surprised and happy that I was selected as the winner and I’m proud to represent Malaysia at the Global Forum in November,” said Free The Seed founder Ramaness Parasumaran.
He also attributed his startup’s success at GCIP to Cradle Fund and Proficeo “for the excellent mentoring and coaching rendered to us over the past one year in the Coach & Grow Programme (CGP).”
CGP, now in its second phase, is an entrepreneur training programme launched in 2011 by Cradle Fund, a non-profit agency under the Ministry of Finance, and run by consultancy firm Proficeo.
The results were announced on the sidelines of the 5th International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.
Ramaness said that Free The Seed processes winnowed paddy-husks to turn them into fibre to construct boxes and other packing materials such as egg cartons and cup holders.
He won US$30,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to San Francisco to attend the Global Forum.
Free The Seed beat 48 other participants who had submitted their ideas to the GCIP.
Judges at the GCIP said Free The Seed’s solution is innovative and has the potential to improve the livelihood of paddy farmers.
“Instead of letting the paddy husks go to waste, they’ve come up with a solution where farmers can supplement their income selling the paddy husks as raw material. It’s deriving wealth out of waste,” said judge Sam Shafie, cofounder of Malaysian crowdfunding platform PitchIN.
“The global applicability of Free The Seeds’ entry is one of its winning qualities. It has managed to attract and reach out to customers from all around the world, from healthcare providers to companies in the food and beverage industry,” said Kevin Braithwaite, global director of The Cleantech Open.
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