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Incubation Phase

Once the training phase is closed, the best 270 ideas across the region are selected by the Local Trainers and Local Partners in each country to receive extra one to one support to improve their green business canvases.

They are then invited to submit their proposals to participate in next phase where a final assessment is made by our High Level International Jury. Based on a weighted score, the best proposals are selected to go through to an 8-month period of support and advisory services, known as the incubation phase.

As part of this incubation phase, the 45 out of those 270 coached green entrepreneurs (GE) will take their proposal further than just a green business canvas: they will now develop a Green Business Plan (GBP) and a business strategy.

To do this, we have a developed a new and innovative methodology for the incubation of the green entrepreneurs, one of the first ever comprehensive guides that includes a life-cycle assessment approach. Some of the main goals that each entrepreneur will strive to achieve include:

  • Completing and executing a thorough Green Business Plan
  • Registering the legal status of the company in the country where they are operating
  • Launching their product/service on the market
  • Communicating the environmental, social and economic impact of their business

A special incubation support plan will be implemented with the supervision of a local mentor that will support the GE during 8 months of intense activities in order to boost the green idea. This is around 640 hours of entrepreneur engagement with 40 hours of one to one support from the local mentor, as well as continual support from the SwitchMed Coordination Team.

Check out our first 24 selected GEs currently under incubation phase by visiting this link.


Stage 1. The Green Business Plan Review

As a first step, the GE will review what they’ve previously developed, including their green business canvas, as well as test and validate their hypotheses, including the prototype of the products and services. This is also the chance for them to identify any other needs they may have and seek external expertise to help throughout the incubation. Looking for areas for improvement may include reaching out to other established green entrepreneurs, creating a support ecosystem across the region (The Switchers).


Stage 2. The Green Business Plan

The GE will initially develop their green business plan whilst receiving continual feedback and evaluation that will help them to later refine their strategy as well as solve the managerial, operational, legal and financial issues that may arise. Any other technical needs will be met by external experts, from marketing and communication support to scientific investigation and research, among others.


Stage 3. The Business Take Off

Up until this point, the GE will have developed a roadmap that will guide them in the execution of their plans. The take off stage involves them going out and physically carrying out their planned activities, some of which may be undertaken with the help of the mentor and/or experts. They will also scope out future activities, beyond year 0 of the business.


Stage 4. Get Funded

With the complete Green Business Plan, the general strategy and growing maturity of the business, the 45 GE will have the opportunity to present their viable green business projects to various stakeholders: national and international financial actors, organisations and potential investors such as banks, business angels and private equity funds, in a regional match-making event. Our financial support team are developing a financial toolkit both on a national and regional level to facilitate our green entrepreneurs and the wider community of green start-ups in the MENA region.

If green entrepreneurs are successful in launching their own green businesses they can also apply to become part of our network for green start-ups in the Mediterranean and MENA region. Apply to The Switchers network now! 


In addition, to support the growth of innovative green businesses in the Mediterranean, along with our partners we have created The SwitchersFund. Through a mix of grants, loans and equity participationsThe SwitchersFund is a novel way of bringing finance directly to eco and social innovators. It is a joint initiative of the UN Environment MAP Sustainable Consumption and Production Regional Activity Center (SCP/RAC) & the European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks and Financiers (FEBEA)

As a first action, on September 25th 2017 the OSCE has partnered with the SwitchersFund and its promoters by launching the 
OSCE GEMS Awards, thanks to an initial endowment by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.
The OSCE GEMS Awards will provide a 15,000€ grant to the best business ideas submitted by young Green Entrepreneurs from the Mediterranean, so they can turn their idea into a business.