In their 12th year, the NZI National Sustainable Business Network (SBN) Awards are New Zealand’s longest-standing and pre-eminent sustainability awards. The awards are designed to recognise businesses that are making a real difference by innovating and inspiring New Zealand’s business landscape.
Wellington City Council won the award for the Smart Energy Challenge, which invited social entrepreneurs to come up with community-led projects to help households and businesses save energy and to switch to smart energy. The Challenge was co-designed with Enspiral and PledgeMe, and supported by Generation Zero, Deloitte, Kiwibank, NZ Post and the Sustainability Trust.
Three community-led teams entered the challenge:
Aro Solar – a project to install solar PV panels on Aro Valley Community Centre;
Solair – a project to test a solar heater on social housing;
Shyft – a Wellington car-sharing start-up.
The teams learned entrepreneurial and business skills to help refine and eventually implement their ideas. The teams raised money through the crowd funding platform PledgeMe, with the Council matching their crowd-funding efforts dollar for dollar.
The judges liked that the initiative has a public/private funding model, which is ground-breaking in its approach to provide funding and encourages a generation of new ideas and collaborative solutions to move towards a low carbon future.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says, “Well done Wellington City Council for winning the Renewables Innovation award at SBN Awards. A Smart Energy Initiative that's making a real difference.”
The Council’s Portfolio Leader for Climate Change, David Lee, says he’s excited about the next round of social entrepreneurs coming through for the Smart Energy Challenge 2015.
"Our thriving social enterprise community and supportive business sector creates an ecosystem that is a gold mine of talent and innovation."
Candidates can apply in early January.For Information and updates in the New Year, see: About - Smart Energy Challenge
For details of the full results of winners for the 2014 Awards, see: NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards - Smart Energy Challenge