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Entrepreneur Support

Plastics Data Challenge 2020

Data on plastic production and waste management across South and Southeast Asia is inconsistent, unreliable and sometimes nonexistent because the region’s complex plastics value chains are fragmented and reliant on the informal economy. This results in limited visibility and transparency, as well as an inability to effectively track, forecast, or optimize material flows and reduce ocean leakage. This challenge aimed to increase awareness of the data gap and develop data-driven innovations to revolutionize Asia’s circular economy.

Program Highlights

Data Making A Difference

  • Building A Community
  • Raising Awareness
  • Supporting Pilot Readiness

We built a diverse, collaborative global community around plastics data that included an advisory council of 23 thought-leaders across the data science and circular economy, 27 mentors and local advisors from 11 countries, 20+ design-support partners, 30+ private sector partners, 92+ innovators from 39 countries currently tackling this issue, and 15+ NGOs, government and university partners.

More awe-inspiring than these numbers is the collaboration we witnessed among likely and unlikely teams—from mentors, experts, entrepreneurs, capital providers, partners, coaches, and corporate leaders across sectors.

We increased awareness of the data gap in waste management and recycling in Asia and the available innovations to address these challenges with the help of our ever-expanding community and topic-related storytelling.

The challenge also produced a market research report that shared key insights, best practices, and opportunities identified throughout this space.

We supported the development and implementation of 10 pilots for data-driven innovations across the region. Together with a design partner, we developed a custom three-month program and framework to guide the cohort of semi-finalists.

The program’s focus lied in developing these companies’ pilots market fit and design, resilience and risk awareness, as well as their connectivity to local and strategic partners through an assessment process, virtual innovation summit, and six-week mentorship program.

All companies graduated this program with enhanced networks of support, clarity of their pilot design and action plan, and the confidence to implement their pilot in the region.

The Cohort


Program Finalists

While The Incubation Network will continue to support these entrepreneurs in their piloting journey, the challenge selected three finalists that displayed strong “pilot-readiness”, and had the most actionable and market-ready pilot models. The finalists each received an additional US$10,000 in addition to further technical support from us.

Learn About Our Other Programs

  • Network Collaboration

    Ocean Plastic Prevention Accelerator

    We formed a social innovation ecosystem that addresses ocean plastic leakage in Indonesia. This includes conducting business acceleration, networking, and research with entrepreneurs.

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  • Inclusive Markets

    Leakage and Livelihoods

    This program supports organizations in South and Southeast Asia to explore innovative solutions to engage informal waste communities, and build inclusive waste systems.

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  • Entrepreneur Support

    Future of Flexibles 2021

    Flexible plastic packaging is the biggest contributor to marine debris. This challenge looks for innovative solutions that rethink packaging materials and its recycling systems.

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