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Profit With Purpose: Eight Tips For Green Entrepreneurs In The GCC In the UAE, the government is placing a significant emphasis on nurturing local green technology businesses.

By Rasih Ozturkmen

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The GCC is rapidly emerging as a leading global hub for green entrepreneurs, individuals who put sustainability, emissions reduction, and ethical practices at the heart of their businesses.

We can see the region's commitment to green innovation in the surge of strategic partnerships and investment deals in the space. This, in turn, can be viewed as a core part of larger investment diversification strategies that are opening unprecedented opportunities for young, ambitious green entrepreneurs looking to make a positive impact at scale.

Take for instance the Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives. This ambitious program aims to rally government ministries, private sector entities, and foreign leaders to accelerate climate action. To date, it has committed over US$180 billion to more than 60 initiatives.

In the UAE, the government is placing a significant emphasis on nurturing local green technology businesses. An example of this is the Make It in the Emirates StartUp Competition, which invites young Emirati entrepreneurs with businesses that can decarbonize heavy industry to present their ventures to local and global investors. Major financial institutions in the country are also making significant investments in impact-driven, sustainable businesses, with green financing seeing a 532% rise since 2020.

In Qatar, the average size of climate tech deals quadrupled from 2020 to 2021, a growth driven by the country's National Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Related: A Leadership Roadmap for Sustainability Success

But while the investment landscape in the GCC is rich with opportunities for green entrepreneurs, it's also important to acknowledge the inherent challenges of establishing new businesses. Having worked at the intersection of finance, technology, and sustainability, I'm well-acquainted with these hurdles.

However, with the right strategies and guidance, I am confident that green entrepreneurs can navigate these challenges, and contribute significantly to the region's sustainable development. Here are some of my recommendations for green entrepreneurs in the region:

1. Leverage available resources and funding. Gulf governments are actively promoting sustainability through various initiatives, policies, and funding options. Take advantage of green-focused grants, tax incentives, and potential government partnerships. These resources can provide critical financial and technical support to kickstart your venture, as well as ensure its growth. Don't overlook funding opportunities designed specifically for green startups.

2. Seek out impact investors, venture capital firms specializing in sustainability, and government-backed grants or programs. To gain necessary financial backing, craft a compelling pitch that highlights the potential positive environmental and social impact of your venture. By clearly articulating the value and potential of your ideas, you're more likely to draw in investors who share your vision for a greener future.

3. Foster collaboration, and form strategic partnerships. Establish connections with established companies, research institutions, or industry experts that align with your mission and values. These strategic partnerships can provide valuable resources, mentorship, and lend credibility to your green venture.

4. Proactively engage in networking opportunities, attend industry events, join relevant associations, and participate in sustainability-focused workshops or forums. This not only strengthens your connections, but also creates pathways to new opportunities that can spur the growth of your green startup.

5. Embrace innovation and technology. Use innovative solutions and emerging technologies, such as renewable energy, circular economy models, smart systems, and data analytics to optimize resource utilization, minimize waste, and enhance efficiency.

6. Actively contribute to thought leadership on green entrepreneurship. As the 28th edition of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) draws near, and government bodies are nearing critical deadlines for action, it's crucial for entrepreneurs to exchange innovative ideas with like-minded partners, government stakeholders, and institutions. Your insights can influence effective strategies to achieve net-zero targets, and effect meaningful change.

7. Educate and engage your local community. Increasing awareness and mobilizing community support are pivotal for a sustainable future in the Gulf region and for startup visibility. Conduct initiatives to promote eco-conscious behavior, and inspire sustainable actions within your community. This could be through workshops, seminars, or awareness campaigns that educate about sustainability, and offer practical solutions for greener practices.

8. Always remember profit and purpose can go together. Lastly, remember, it's entirely possible to build profitable businesses that generate revenue through responsible practices, and make a significant, positive impact. By aiming for longevity, sustainability, and profitability through responsible practices, entrepreneurs can not only thrive, but also foster a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

Related: The MENA Needs To Empower Its Young Entrepreneurs To Create Sustainable Economies

Rasih Ozturkmen is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Carbonaires, a unique environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principled carbon asset management company that invests in the creation and expansion of high-integrity carbon credit projects.

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