Derek Newberry

Fourth Investor Forum is Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Green Entrepreneurship in China

Landwasher picI’ve run across numerous articles, briefs and blogs in the past few months talking about the trend of green business and investment that is heating up in China. The Investor Forum that New Ventures wrapped up in Beijing last week was a real testament to the fact that this is more than just empty heat, that there are real concrete examples of this generation of sustainable entrepreneurs sweeping China’s private sector.

The judges panel at the Forum decided they had too many good options, so they picked four winners this year. One of the big winners was Landwasher, a company that produces eco-friendly toilets, of all things – see an example form the Forum pictured here. The company has heavy demand for its products particularly in rural areas where public infrastructure is not always perfect, and they have been asked to supply their system for the 2008 Olympics here in Beijing. I won’t go into depth on exactly how this waterless system works as the details get a bit gritty, just to note that some of the greatest sustainable innovations of these entrepreneurs are often the least expected.

We could see from the Forum’s attendance that investors are not unaware of the growth in these green sectors; some thirty funds were represented showing plenty of interest in the ten finalist entrepreneurs as well as an additional group that was presented at our Sustainable Market Place.

More details are available on the WRI site, where I posted a full wrap-up of the event. For some further thoughts, also check out our China program intern Xiao Jia’s posts – she makes some really interesting contrasts, for instance between the old Maoist phrases written on the wall of the building where the Forum was held and the vibrant entrepreneurial atmosphere inside.