The global pandemic that we have been battling since 2020 has elevated the importance of social, economic and environmental sustainability in facing any future global crisis. Innovative local solutions which also emphasize sustainability is one of the main reasons why the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) was conceived in July 2020.
NTIS became the testbed to solve some national grand challenges brought about by the pandemic through advanced technologies in key sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, smart cities, renewable energy and artificial intelligence.
We were approached by a potential partner which is looking into the use of digital technologies to play a significant role in tackling the major global challenges of our times, including poverty, climate change and environmental degradation with an enabling institutional framework established to ensure maximised benefits and widespread adoption across all segments of society.
“My experience with IMM has guided us to correctly position ourselves in terms of the company’s commitment to the SDGs. The IMM programme encouraged us to communicate our impact in the SDGs using accurate data and tools clearly, which made us understand our impact better.”
With this in mind, NTIS entered into a strategic partnership with UNDP with an aim to build an ecosystem for impact technology, where the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and impact management are integrated into technological solutions that have potential to scale and commercialised.
This collaboration brought about the first ever Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) Programme with the start-up ecosystem, aimed at unlocking the potential of local Malaysian innovation in advocating for the SDGs while solving pressing national and global issues through impact technology solutions.
The first batch which concluded back in October 2021 were joined by the NTIS companies from the Smart Cities & Transportation and Energy sectors. The two sectors that play a major role in elevating the quality of life for the people and delivering sustainable, resilient and prosperous living conditions. Of all the applications that NTIS received by then, close to 20% are from the Smart Cities & Transportation and Energy sector.
Recognizing the role that startups and innovation play in driving the sustainable development agenda, the Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) includes identifying and considering the positive and negative effects one’s business actions have on people and the planet, and then figuring out ways to mitigate the negative and maximize the positive in alignment with one’s goals (Global Impact Investing Network). Equipping participants with IMM training helps them to consider the social and environmental impacts that their commercial activities have on broader society, and to effectively convey this impact to a wide range of stakeholders such as governments, investors, and communities.
With the 8 week programme, it is hoped that the solutions coming from the NTIS programme are commercialized and grown sustainably with measurable impact to beneficiaries and offer insights into models for SDG-integrated solutions in achieving SDG 2030 Agenda and Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
“The IMM programme made our team think outside of our existing idea. We were a company that initially installed rooftop solar panels for bungalows, terrace houses and offices. This programme on impact measurement has pushed us to explore the possibility of a shared benefit in strata properties through rooftop solar panels, and the impact that it brings.”
The training content was crafted by Ms. Pratigya Kalra Khurana, Senior Impact Measurement and Management Advisor, UNDP and supported throughout the programme by UNDP Malaysia’s Accelerator Lab team. Our participants are introduced with the methods to recognising, creating, measuring and pitching impact from September to October 2021. These are followed by One-on-One mentoring sessions, business pitching workshops and a pre-demo day pitching session with relevant industrial and business partners to prepare the participants for the Demo Day.
The IMM concluded with a half-day Demo Day that included a public voting session on the 8 pitches and a fireside chat with the ventures after the event. Tryke was announced as the winner for the pitches, determined by 30% of public vote and 70% from juries' verdict. The jury consisted by Mr. Artak Melkoyan, Global Lead for IVA UNDP, Ms. Prachi Seth, Head of Climate Action Platform AVPN and Dr. Hamim Syahrum Ahmad Mokhtar, Deputy Director of Islamic Banking and Takaful Department, Bank Negara Malaysia.
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For Our Participants
Based on the post-training survey, it is concluded that our participants are keen to follow up with the IMM programme by collecting and/or reporting data on outcomes/impact metrics and contribution to the SDGs based on the workbook and by modifying their existing business models to encourage more focus on impact/SDGs. Most are planning to develop or communicate a more visible social and environmental impact goal and to refine their impact pitches. More than half of surveyed participants would take actions or develop strategies to scale their business for a greater impact, and plan to identify new target beneficiaries or geographies for greater impact or alignment with SDGs.
“I did not realize how important SDGs were for my solution until I started diving deeper into them through this IMM programme.”
Other goals communicated by the participants include developing platforms where they can track data (e.g. data dashboard, mobile application), raise funds from impact investors connected via the programme, and incorporate impact measurements into the organization messaging.
For NTIS-UNDP Collaboration
As a national sandbox programme that encourages partnerships, we hope that the collaboration with UNDP will open doors to our NTIS companies to build solutions that are sustainable and make the planet a more livable space. Entering another year, we hope to expand the adoption of SDG and impact measurement practices amongst our companies under NTIS.
Together with UNDP, we aim to convene a wider ecosystem of partners including private sectors, public sector, local councils, technologists, academia and civil society groups to promote an inclusive ecosystem for impact technology. The goal is to contribute towards the development of policy frameworks that support economic and social inclusion. This can be done by testing out technological solutions that meet the people’s needs in real-live environments.
The selection of technological solutions will be informed by deep listening and consideration of grassroot issues, to ensure we are solving emerging and pertinent issues on the ground. This allows the prioritization and scaling-up of sustainable solutions that have deeper impact for those furthest left behind.
Whether you’re an individual with a neat tech solution, a tech-based startup, established tech-based organisation or academia; we love to talk about innovation and how you can fit into the ecosystem.
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