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The Incubation Network is an impact-driven initiative that sources, supports and scales holistic innovative solutions to combat plastic pollution through strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems with a diverse network of key partners.

Part of a highly collaborative community of startups and entrepreneurs, investors, partners and programs, The Incubation Network works together with industry players to tackle key barriers to address plastic leakage and advance a circular economy. It is a partnership between non-profit organization, The Circulate Initiative and impact innovation company, SecondMuse.

The leakage of plastics in our oceans is resulting in long-term social, environmental, and public health consequences. Up to half of the world’s plastic leakage can be reduced by improving waste management and recycling in South & Southeast Asia. This is why The Incubation Network is committed to improving plastic waste management and circular systems in this region through diverse collaboration.

The Circulate Initiative acts as the knowledge partner by supporting The Incubation Network with research, measurement and resources such as strategic partnerships and funding.

The Incubation Network has been active since late 2019 and SecondMuse powers The Incubation Network programmes as an ecosystem development partner.

SecondMuse is an ecosystem development partner leading on advancements in plastic pollution management, gender representation in the tech industry, and more. They collaborate with actors within the ecosystem to design programs aimed at strengthening the innovation community around each problem statement. These programs – designed to meet the unique needs of each ecosystem – employ a range of tools and strategies targeted across the full stack of innovation and are carried out under The Incubation Network.

To date, SecondMuse has successfully developed a series of local and international challenges, programs, support systems and more to fuel innovative solutions. Most recently, The Incubation Network received over 120 submissions from 30 countries for the annual Global Innovation Challenge: Future of Flexibles.

The Incubation Network specifically addresses key gaps in the waste management ecosystem by leveraging on its relational infrastructure. This includes sourcing and supporting, to scaling early stage or pre-investment solutions while connecting compatible ecosystem players to strengthen the value chain in waste management and recycling.

The Incubation Network also fuels innovation by harnessing the power of its connected network of startups and entrepreneurs, investors, private sector, entrepreneur support organizations, civil society organizations, and governments to build a more inclusive and enabling environment to scale the waste management sector in South and Southeast Asia.

Since its inception in South and Southeast Asia two years ago, The Incubation Network has already achieved key milestones, such as:

  • Enrolling 51 entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs).
  • Conducting over 1,000 hours of mentorship from close to 150 industry experts to startups in our network, providing direct technical assistance to some.

The Incubation Network is more than just an incubator focused on reducing ocean plastic. It works across the waste management and recycling ecosystem to support and scale solutions through a variety of methods. The program is deeply embedded in the innovation ecosystem for plastics – working with startups and entrepreneurs, entrepreneur support organizations, capital providers, corporates and policymakers on both upstream and downstream solutions. The Incubation Network leverages the power of its connections – working with insights partner, The Circulate Initiative; and funders, Circulate Capital, to maximize impact by bringing startups to scale.

The Incubation Network supports entrepreneurs in three ways:

  1. Coordination and Wayfinding: Through personalized mentorship/training/learning experiences, The Incubation Network helps early-stage startups and entrepreneurs find their footing in the evolving landscape of sustainable waste management solutions. The program also exposes them to new opportunities and helps de-risk their entry into the market.
  2. Connection Building and Financial Support: The program connects entrepreneurs with mentors, early grants and funding that allows them to experiment and scale their projects and ideas. The Incubation Network also builds relationships and connections with capital providers, such as Venture Capitalists, in the region through pilot studies and projects.
  3. Technical Support: The Incubation Network connects entrepreneurs with subject matter experts (e.g. business model experts, product development experts, pitch coaches, marketing experts, financial modelers etc.) who can help improve specific aspects of their startup. The program also taps on its network to provide entrepreneurs with tailored assistance based on what they need to grow their business.

The Incubation Network can connect investors to partners with investable solutions that span the waste management and recycling value chain across South and Southeast Asia. The program can also support catalytic funding and link to other investors, experts, and actors in the ecosystem to increase impact.