Youth Green Entrepreneurship for the Circular Economy

In June 2019, PAGE and the Decent Work for Youth Network of Mongolia held a training on green entrepreneurship in Ulliastai, Zavkhan. Among the trained stakeholders were 143 participants from the Mongolian Bar Association, the Mongolia Youth Association, trade unions, employers and government authorities, including labour & welfare department, labour inspection department, social insurance department, Agency for Family, Children and Youth Development. 

During the training, participants developed green entrepreneurship action plans and problem tree analysis of the Green Economy transition for nine aimags in the Western region of Mongolia, including Gobi-Altai, Bayan-Ulgii, Uvs, Khuvsgul, Khovd, Arkhangai, Bayankhongor, Uvurkhangai and Zavkhan.

On 13-14 November, as a follow up to the initial training, PAGE Mongolia held a workshop on “Youth Green Entrepreneurship for the Circular Economy” to discuss the implementation progress and mainstream circular economy concepts into the logframes that had been developed by aimag constituents during the green entrepreneurship training in June.  40 participants from the 9 aimags, the Decent Work for Youth Network, startups and incubator centers joined the workshop. The workshop included a presentation on Circular Economy entrepreneurship opportunities and business models, together with presentations from a number of entrepreneurs in Mongolia on how they are applying Circular Economic principles into their business activities, and how the projects have progressed since June. For instance, Gobi-Altai’s proposal of a project on waste management, developed during the June workshop - obtained funding for implementation from “EcoAltaqi”. Bayan-Ulgii aimag built a fence around the local dumpsite and trees will be planted at the site. Khovd aimag initiated the waste sorting at household level.

This workshop is the second of its kind to discuss business models for the circular economy. Among other, it allowed for follow-up on the progress of the Zavkhan aimag project “Decent Work for a green future - Youth Network strategy for Mongolia” as well as on financing green entrepreneurship.

The second day of the event featured an exhibition of green enterprises and green projects for youth and by youth — for example the ‘Change the Toilet’ campaign that aims to break the taboo about discussing sanitation in Mongolia. The project consists on an affordable toilet that meets the needs of households living off-grid in Mongolia (i.e. does not require connection to central water and sewerage systems and will not freeze over in winter). Other entrepreneurs discussed their businesses including recycling and reuse of plastics into fencing and outdoor furniture, food waste processing with worm farms and developing charcoal from wood waste.

Each of these presentations emphasised circular economy principles including the importance of working up and down the supply chain, designing out waste at the source, structuring businesses to take advantage of social, environmental and economic opportunities and the importance of not just developing a product, but also the market behaviours, supply chain and funding models around that product or service.

Leveraging Mongolia’s experiences as a PAGE graduating country, some training products will be developed from this workshop. These include a video-clip that will be produced and disseminated by the Decent Work Youth Network to its members in all regions in Mongolia — and a training module suitable for train-the-trainer activities, which will contain the materials that have been used in the Mongolian context.