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Promoting SCP in ASEAN countries
ECOTHON in Lao PDR 2023

As part of the collaboration between the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center (ASEIC) and the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), Ecothon in Lao PDR 2023 was successfully held in August 2023 with a series of online training, coaching, mentoring sessions before the Demo-Day took place on 25th August in Vientiane.

Participants in the Demo Day of Ecothon in Lao PDR in Vientiane


Short for Eco-Entrepreneur-Marathon, Ecothon operates as more than a mere competition: it functions as a strategic enabler, fostering eco-entrepreneurship while contributing to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular focus on SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP*). Hosted by the Ministry of SMEs and Start-ups of the Republic of Korea and co-organised by HSF and ASEIC, this initiative is dedicated to promoting and facilitating innovative, sustainable business model development with a focus on minimizing adverse environmental impacts. It's about diligently cultivating eco-conscious entrepreneurship for a greener, more sustainable future. In Lao PDR, Ecothon has been co- hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Lao PDR (MoIC), and implemented by the Lao ICT Commerce Association (LICA) since 2020.

Participants in the online training course of Ecothon in Lao PDR


This year’s Ecothon in Lao PDR is the first one to kick off the series of Ecothons in 4 ASEAN countries, namely Lao PDR, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.  Ecothon in Lao PDR started with an online training course instructed by international experts, which equipped 14 shortlisted teams with in-depth knowledge of essential sustainability concepts, impact investment, business model development, business strategy and plan, and IR and public speaking skills. The training course was followed by 1:1 coaching sessions in which local coaches – who have graduated from the ASEAN Sustainable Business Coach Training – provided insights and advice to the teams to help improve their access to additional technical and financial resources as well as networking opportunities. The local coaches also guided the teams on writing business plans using Ecothon template. These business plans were then reviewed by international experts during mentoring sessions. Prior to the offline Demo-Day on 25th August, the second round of coaching and mentoring was conducted by local experts to support the teams to prepare for their final pitch on the Demo-Day.

Furthermore, on the first day of the 2-day offline event in Vientiane, a series of presentations on circular economy, waste management, MSME promotion policy in Lao PDR, enhancing market access for Lao businesses under ASEAN ACCESS, and experiences of ECOTHON alumni was by representatives from the Department of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion (DoSMEP), LICA, as well as local experts and entrepreneurs.

First prize winner of Ecothon in Lao PDR 2023


The Ecothon in Lao PDR 2023 ended with the final pitches of the 14 excellent competing teams on the Demo-Day in Vientiane. First prize was awarded to Eco Machine Team who produce solar powered garbage collector machines. The second and third prizes went to teams Burning Star and CEIT IoT All, respectively. Burning Start converts waste plastic to fuels by pyrolysis, while CEIT IoT All provides farmers with Smart Agriculture Sensor Station to enable them to make better decisions about crop management by reducing agricultural waste and improving efficiency. Together with winners of Ecothon 2023 in other countries, three winners from Lao PDR will have chance to pitch their idea to potential investors at the Global Startup Festival COMEUP 2023 in Seoul in November.