Entrepreneurs from Mongolia, Bangladesh win youth pitch contest at World Export Development Forum
(Ulaanbaatar/Geneva) – Air filter manufacturer Airee of Mongolia and agri-tech firm iPAGE of Bangladesh win the top prizes in the young entrepreneurs pitch contest of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, after pitching live before a panel of international judges.
The announcement was made on 28 June at the closing ceremony of the conference. WEDF is the annual flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC), this year co-hosted with the Government of Mongolia from 26-28 June.
Oyungerel Munkhbat of the Mongolian air filter manufacturer Airee won the top prize in the green business solutions category. The company reduces microplastics pollution through 100% biodegradable wool filters.
Mashrur Hossain of Bangladeshi agri-tech firm iPAGE won for best land restoration initiative. The company provides crop-specific digital advisory services to smallholder farmers to enhance their productivity.
A special mention goes to Chirag M G of Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovations, who based on nearly 800 votes by conference participants, won the public vote. It is an Indian waste management company that converts coconut leaves into drinking straws while creating jobs for rural women.
Taking home the top prize
The Mongolian and Bangladeshi companies take home $5,000 each in seed funding and will receive capacity building to scale up their businesses. The prize packages are provided by ITC, the G20 Global Land Initiative of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Google's Startups for Sustainable Development programme and the multinational law firm Sidley Austin.
The winners were chosen based on their work promoting sustainability, circularity and the green economy, including land restoration. They emerged on top following a three-step process, first a written application, followed by a pitch to the finalists selection committee, then a live pitch on the WEDF stage, presented to a panel of judges and hundreds of participants.
Recognizing contest finalists
The finalists who pitched on the WEDF stage were iPAGE, Bangladesh; Cupmena, Egypt; Sommalife, Ghana; Brown Reed Agri Waste Innovations, India; Liberty Society, Indonesia; Bôndy, Madagascar; and Airee, Mongolia.
This was the fourth young entrepreneurs pitch competition at the World Export Development Forum. At each of the previous conferences, the national host was offered the opportunity to field independent candidates in the competitive process.
These finalists were selected from a shortlist of 419 companies from 63 countries.
Diversifying through green, digital trade
The 2023 edition of the World Export Development Forum took on the theme of diversifying with green and digital trade. While the conference theme is global, there is a focus on trade opportunities for landlocked developing countries. Mongolia is the world's second largest landlocked country.
The conference was hosted by the Government of Mongolia, led by the Office of the President, in close partnership with the United Nations Country Team for Mongolia.
About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
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Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
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