WWF Switzerland Tropical Forest Challenge: Social Entrepreneurs Apply Now!

Online voting is now open for the WWF Switzerland Tropical Forest Challenge, and will remain available until September 30, 2012. Challenge winners will be endorsed by WWF Switzerland and provided global visibility, networking and capacity building opportunities.

Innovative for-profit solutions with a positive impact on tropical forest biodiversity are needed for the benefit of the planet and the people. On behalf of WWF Switzerland, Ennovent manages the Tropical Forest Challenge, to find the best for-profit solutions in 3 categories: ideas, startups and companies. Ennovent accelerates innovations creating a sustainable impact on low-income people.

Apply now, till September 30: Winners will get endorsed by WWF Switzerland and receive global visibility, networking opportunities and capacity building support.

Nominate solutions: The first Connector of a winner will get a EUR 1,000 cash reward and global visibility.

Vote: Applicants with the most votes in each category will be given high priority during expert selection.

The WWF Switzerland Tropical Forest Challenge aims to discover the best for-profit solutions from around the world in the Idea, Startup and Company categories having a positive impact on tropical forest biodiversity. The partners of the Challenge are; ANDE, Asia Social Enterprise Incubator, Dalberg, GroAction, IDESAM, ITTO, Artha Platform, The HUB and TONIIC.

Individuals can cast their vote online for their favorite solutions having a positive impact on tropical forest biodiversity.

The five Challenge applicants with the most votes in each category will be given priority during the expert pre-selection phase, which begins on Oct 1, 2012. Since the Challenge launched on June 1, 2012, over 100 enterprises have been nominated spanning a range of industries – from organic chewing gum to ecotourism. In addition to the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments, for-profit enterprises are emerging as a complementary mechanism to conserve forest biodiversity in tropical countries.

Grow-Trees Helps Increase Bio Diversity Through Gifting:

One such inspiring story and Challenge entry that combines sustainability, corporate social responsibility and web 2.0 is Grow-Trees.com, founded by Karan Shah.  Karan had always been inclined to centre his life on initiatives that created a social and environmental impact. So after graduating from Haverford College in with a major in Economics and Political Science, Karan returned to India with sustainability on his mind.

What evolved from his experiences and education was Grow-Trees.com, a cost-effective service for individuals and companies to plant trees globally with a few clicks online. Priced at less than 1 USD per tree, Grow-trees.com allows users to virtually ‘plant’ trees and gift them to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, memorials or other special occasions using a personalized e-certificate.  once purchased, a Grow-Trees.com planting partner plants a real tree, indigenous to the selected area, in an eco-friendly manner.

The company is designed so that planting partners leverage the support of labor resources from surrounding local communities to the planting sites, to help create sources of income for otherwise low-income populations. This approach has provided an important economic incentive for local communities to engage in forest conservation, thus further amplifying the impact of Grow-Trees.com

Karen entered the challenge because he wants to scale up operations in India and elsewhere:

“Winning the Challenge would mean that people worldwide find out about Grow-Trees.com and eventually start using it as a platform and send trees instead of greetings or bouquets,” concludes Karan.


About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+