Seven startups focused on green tech in Costa Rica have have graduated from a government incubation program and are ready for funding, in the latest example of the country’s efforts to promote sustainable business and development.
Green technology is any tech or innovation whose use is intended to mitigate or reverse the negative effects of human activity on the natural environment.
The seven companies are the second cohort to graduate from Costa Rica’s ‘Green Tech’ program, which was first launched in October 2020 with the aim of consolidating the Central American nation’s status as a hub for environmentally friendly innovation.
The recent graduates entered the 12-week program in October and graduated this month, after applications opened in June, with each participant having the possibility to win funding of around $50,000 (all figures in USD).
The program is an initiative established by Procomer, the Costa Rican trade promotion agency, to help develop green tech in Costa Rica in collaboration with the Costa Rican United States Foundation for Cooperation (Crusa), and supported by regionally renowned startup incubator Pomona Impact.
The program includes support and advice from industry experts who specialize in acceleration, as well as the likes of technology and business methodologies. The program also helps companies make important contacts, as well as providing the opportunity to apply for risk capital.
According to Andrés Valenciano, the chairman of Procomer’s board of directors, the program is designed to help develop technology which has a positive social impact, as well as boost Costa Rica’s trade profile.
“We understand that the domestic market is limited and we depend on exports to make the economy grow, so it is essential to identify the differentiators that allow us to be competitive in order to grow. And this is where we must take advantage of the positive image of Costa Rica and the resources to develop businesses with a purpose, with which we achieve social, environmental and economic progress,” Valenciano told La Nación.
Having graduated from Costa Rica’s Green Tech program, the following seven companies are now ready for investment:
7 companies dedicated to green tech in Costa Rica ready for investment
The following seven companies dedicated to green tech in Costa Rica recently graduated from the Green Tech program and are ready for investment:
DosMil 50, which uses the URL www.dosmil50.com but also refers to itself as “2050,” was established in 2019 and produces environmentally-friendly packaging made from the likes of agroindustry byproducts, starch, cellulose, and polylactide – a plastic-like product made from the condensation of lactic acid. It also promotes home composting, in keeping with its mission to promote a more sustainable future.
ecoins is a company that offers a loyalty program to reward people for recycling. Active in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Peru, users of ecoins register as recyclers and are assigned a location to which they must deliver recyclable goods (which must be cleaned, dried, and separated to be accepted), in return for which they receive financial reward in the form of ecoins, which can then be spent on a range of discounted products found via the ecoins platform.
Esquipi manufactures and markets both traditional and biodegradable cleaning products, that latter of which made it eligible for the incubator program promoting green tech in Costa Rica. Those include soaps, cleaners, and alcohol products for the home and cars, as well as for handwashing and other personal care. Esquipi’s online presence and promotion is heavily based around the company Facebook page.
Flores y Follajes del Caribe SA is a company that specializes in producing ornamental plants, as well as tropical flowers and foliage. Those can be found at the Caribbean Botanical Garden facility the company runs. Originally established in 2002, according to a press release from the company (pdf), the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the company pivot into agricultural innovation, using technology to produce high quality plant life for the export market.
Grupo Ingesa refers to itself as a company that specializes in engineering, technology, and consulting. Among its focus areas are renewable energy, including battery energy storage systems (BESS) and solar panels. Grupo Ingesa also provides consultation to companies to help them improve their energy efficiency and lower operating costs.
Novellus Breeding is another company focused on producing ornamental plants, with the stated goal of developing genetic improvements to make them better for international commercialization. Founded in 2014, Novellus Breeding develops plant life for global distribution and marketing under licensing or ownership transfer agreements.
Susty offers software to companies that helps them implement and monitor sustainability management. That includes establishing sustainable development objectives and promoting carbon neutrality. Susty has also developed Hogar Azul (“Blue Home”), an application that manages, measures, and reports on sustainability in the home.
Promotion of green tech in Costa Rica latest effort to boost sustainability
Costa Rica’s Green Tech accelerator program is just the latest example of the country promoting sustainability in business and investment.
At least 13 financial institutions in the country have backed a program known as the “Green Protocol,” which is designed to open up lines of credits for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with an environmental focus.
Launched by Costa Rica’s Chamber of Banks and Financial Institutions, the Green Protocol is intended to bolster green tech in Costa Rica and the country’s wider green economy, as well as increasing public awareness of environmental protection.
It also aims to oversee the development of sustainable products to improve the local population’s quality of life, according to Annabelle Ortega, executive director of the Chamber.
Costa Rica is famed for its national beauty and environmental credentials, with the eco-tourism industry generating approximately $1.4 billion per year prior to the global pandemic.
It is also a highly popular destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), thanks to a history of economic and political stability, which generated an estimated 7.8% of GDP prior to the pandemic.
While that fell to 3.5% after the onset of the global health emergency, the Costa Rican government has made significant efforts to encourage the return of foreign investors and visitors.
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