SDG Alpha — Issue 5
Hello there, friends and readers (hopefully there’s actually a decent overlap between these groups…).
It’s been a week of busy project work at Resolve Partners, and I’ve been quite focused in the past few days on the very early-stage startup community. On Tuesday, I participated in two programmes supporting student entrepreneurs; TU Dublin’s ivenTUre; and Enactus Ireland’s Early-Stage Projects. Between the two programmes, I reviewed 26 pitches from wonderfully enthusiastic participants, and what was most inspiring was that 10 of the teams are firmly in the impact space, with missions that closely align with the UN SDGs. It is so encouraging and inspiring to see the hope, agency, and energy being applied to these challenges — and a privilege to get to work alongside these founders.
Which provides a neat segue to the first piece of news in this issue:
- Fincovi, an Irish startup that helps renewable energy providers with compliance and financial modelling, announced their acquisition by SkySpecs. The Resolve Partners team (in particular my colleague Alan Costello) was hugely involved with the early-days of this project, when they came through the NDRC @ Portershed accelerator; this is a great win for impact startups, and a great win for the Irish regions. An interesting aspect of this startup’s journey to acquisition is that none of the established local venture funds had invested; let’s look forward to more Irish VCs getting focusing on impact and sustainability led companies!
- More positive news from the folks at Thriftify, the Irish startup that offers an efficient process for charity stores to sell online, who announced their expansion into the UK; there’s a tonne of interest right now in applying circular economy principles to the fashion industry, and it’s exciting to see the novel approach Thriftify are bringing to this sector — particularly with the new Men’s Fashion line!. Handsome AF, right?
- Last piece of startup news; a few weeks back I mentioned that MaREI were looking for early-stage sustainable startups to apply for their Business Plan Competition: they’ve since picked the successful projects, and are annoucing the winners online next week.
- Two interesting information sessions coming up on supporting sustainability in the built environment; first, Dublin City Council has an open consultation as it prepares a new Biodiversity Action Plan — the draft plan is available on the site, and is a treasure trove of environmental nuggets: did you know that almost a third of the natural habitat in Dublin city consists of private gardens? TIL… Second, CIRCULÉIRE (the Irish innovation network promoting transition to a Circular Economy), are hosting a webinar on Circular Opportunities in Construction and Demolition Sectors.
- It’s always encouraging to see an appetite for innovation at the local authority level, and this pilot from DLRCC is a super example: they are trialling a new scheme to allow local businesses test out eCargo bikes, in an effort to heavy-polluting diesel delivery vans off the streets.
- Interesting article from Irish company Keelvar on the challenges and opportunities in the sourcing/procurement industry as the demands of a more ESG-conscious purchasing audience continue to grow.
- Another podcast recommendation: I’ve been enjoying the Climate Ambassador series from An Taisce over the last few months, and the most recent episode was so practical and informative: the guest is Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, who shares a masterclass in improving how we communicate on the climate crisis. This is just bursting with optimism, and “rational hope” — definitely worth a listen.
- And, finally, doughnuts… Specifically, the Doughnut Economic Model, developed by Kate Raworth, a self-described “renegade economist”, which elegantly describes how we can build a healthy economy by operating in a safe space defined by a social foundation, and an ecological ceiling (you can search online for heaps of graphics that illustrate why it’s called a doughnut, but I’d rather share the Swedish Chef demonstrating his method for making them). Anyway, Kate will be appearing at a free event in conversation with Roisin Markham, to discuss “Healthy Planet, Healthy Communities — Can Ireland Thrive Within The Doughnut?”
That’s it for this issue — thanks to everyone who sent in news and articles: please do keep sharing and sending feedback! Remember: stay safe, and eat more doughnuts…