In recent, the concept of “Blue Economy” has been broadly prompted by an array of interested parties as a theory or a strategy to protect the world’s oceans and water resources. Blue economy primarily focuses on a sustainable approach to ocean resources in various aspects such as exploitation, conservation and regeneration of the marine environment. This concept of Blue Economy originated as the 14th Goal United Nations 14th Goal among the seventeen Sustainable.
Development Goals (SDGs) presented to the world by United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in 2015-2016. Accordingly, the ocean can be divided into 4 parts as the extraction of living resources, the extraction of non-living resources, commercial trade and transport, marine environment protection and maritime security. At the heart of this emerging concept, Blue Economy is a separation of socioeconomic growth from environmental degradation which offers the means of balancing competing demands and establishes the framework for the sustainable future of the oceans.
Aim & Scope
Sri Lanka is strategically located as an important island in the heart of the Indian Ocean with a land area of nearly 65,268 sq. kms and having Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) over eight times its’ land mass, whereas it is estimated that over 50% of its population, directly or indirectly depend on marine and coastal systems for their livelihoods. The ocean itself is a valuable resource and makes a significant contribution to the Sri Lankan economy in which maritime industries like fishing, sea transportation, tourism, offshore mining, and energy production play a substantial role there. Being an island nation surrounded by one of the world’s largest oceans, embracing a Blue Economy is not an alternative, but mandatory for Sri Lanka. It is more opportune to take a broad look at the overall theme in the light of growing interest in the ‘Blue Economy’ as a prospective agenda for exploring our future opportunities in oceans. Focusing on these economic benefits would ultimately drive towards a positive influence to address Sri Lanka’s current economic downturn as well.
For this purpose, the Institute of Ocean Resources Analysis-Sri Lanka: INORA (Guarantee Limited) has taken the very first initiative in Sri Lanka through focusing on local and foreign non-profit organizations to generate new business opportunities by stimulating the Sri Lankan youth community and providing the supporting hand to those respective businesses. This emerging concept can simply be stated as a Blue Economy Business Incubator. As mentioned, this Blue Economy Business Incubator (blu.biz) will be primarily powered by INORA -Think Tank along with the “Oceanlust” magazine which is the first ocean-based e-magazine in Sri Lanka.
Institute of Ocean Resources Analysis (INORA – Sri Lanka)
Institute of Ocean Resources Analysis (INORA – Sri Lanka) was formulated as a non-profit guarantee limited company with the vision of “assisting Sri Lanka to become a marine nation by 2050” while carrying out community-based projects mainly based on the ocean and conservation of oceanic resources. In coordination with subject matter experts of ocean resources and aquatic environments, we aim to facilitate the economic and social development of the fisheries communities and other stakeholders by conducting research and development activities, training and capacity-building programs, and policy, advocacy, and awareness campaigns in a long-term sustainable plan to achieve global millennium development goals, marine tourism, and ocean-based economic development.
With the aim of generating awareness in the blue economy, a magazine on the Ocean poignantly titled “oceanlust” was introduced with the assistance of young talented Sri Lankan youths with a passion for a prosperous future. “oceanlust” magazine is the first ever ocean-based magazine in Sri Lanka where issues have been released while an online site continues to publish articles on a regular basis. Currently, print editions are also involved in this great endeavor to make a huge influence on society.
Proposed Methods & Techniques
Underlining the ultimate purpose of improving the Blue Economy in Sri Lanka, INORA proposed its innovative concept of the “Blue
Economy Business Incubator” which paves a pathway to create new business prospects by inspiring the Sri Lankan young generation. The term business incubator refers to an organization that supports start-up companies and individual entrepreneurs in expanding their enterprises by providing a wide range of services, starting with management training and office space and ending with venture capital financing. These programmes are especially created to support the innovation and growth of emerging enterprises. Accordingly, the Blue Economy Business Incubator (blu.biz) powered by INORA -Think Tank along with the “Oceanlust” magazine will act as the entrepreneur ecosystem piece connecting all the sectors of the blue economy for a thriving society and sustainable development.
Blue Economy Business Incubator (blu.biz)
Blue economy is essentially a cross-industry, cross-disciplinary wide term that is entirely related to the sustainable ocean solutions.
Innovation should be placed at the heart of the sustainability transitions in all the blue economy-related sectors. In these innovation processes, entrepreneurs and start-ups play a crucial role by investigating cutting-edge business models that can address the present environmental threats like the effects of climate change, the deterioration of marine ecosystems, the loss of habitats, etc. Entrepreneurs can play a key role in turning ecological problems into business opportunities by creating fresh, workable, and sustainable business models. These opportunities can assist business owners in starting profitable, long-lasting ventures in the blue economy sectors, either through direct investment or business programmes. In this regard, youth entrepreneurs are expected to be empowered through manual and digital platforms. Further, Blue Economy Business Incubator would provide a platform to facilitate scientific research with its
extensive academic and professional network and inspire the next generation to look into the blue economy as a recognized job-generating channel. At the core of the concept, Blue Economy Business Incubator is to generate a stable functioning system that
connects the research to the commercialization of the industry.
Due to the fact that most of the aforementioned tasks are aimed catering young entrepreneurs, a mobile application can be developed as a digital platform that connects young entrepreneurs with business incubators and provides entrepreneurial opportunities for
these smart youth. In this scenario, designing the mobile application should create the latest trend for this new smart digital youth. For
example, we can use disposable plastic bottles around us, where several of these bottles can be bundled together and delivered to bottle collection centers or mobile cells. That way, new job opportunities can be provided by using a new economic opportunity
by paying more attention to the world grant in the country.
Ayesh Indranath Ranawaka
INORA – SL