‘Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme’ Nepal – Nov 2020-Aug 2022

The Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme supports the development of new, exciting and innovative ideas for sustainable businesses in Nepal that harness nature-based and craft-related solutions to promote positive environmental impact and climate change resilience. The programme supports ideas in craft and related sectors that empower the most vulnerable people who are first to feel the effects of climate change. From 50 participants at an incubator event, 6 teams received grants to develop their concepts and sustainable business models, the results of which are showcased to the public.  

With the British Council Nepal, Kathmandu University‘s Schools of Arts and Engineering, and working closely with our Scottish partner Edinburgh Napier University’s (ENU) Creative Informatics, Applied Arts Scotland co-delivered the Road to COP26 Innovation Grant Programme. The Programme is supported by the British Council’s global Crafting Futures programme and the National Innovation Center, and is part of the British Council Nepal’s Road to COP26 campaign strengthening capacities and amplifying the voices of those most impacted by climate change so that they can engage national and international stakeholders in the lead up to COP26.


  • Incubator event for 50 selected participants to further develop their ideas (April 2021)
  • Grants and tailored mentoring for six incubator event participants to take their ideas from concept to reality (April-September 2021)
  • Showcase of grantees’ projects in Nepal (rescheduled to Kathmandu in August 2022 from Scotland in November 2021 during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26)).

Detailed information about the Programme is available here.


Six grantees were supported with finance and mentoring support to take their ideas to the next stage From circular economy to material innovation, the grantees are committed to developing creative businesses solutions for inclusive growth that contribute to Nepal’s climate action.

Tekka is a community of young entrepreneurs invested in women’s economic empowerment. Through technical and financial support, Tekka encourages women to revisit the value of underutilized biodegradable agri-waste to inspire new opportunities while mitigating environmental problems created by unmanaged waste.

As a designer from Bhaktapur, Dhiraj Manandhar has witnessed first-hand how foreign import can disrupt local material culture. Addressing the potential of the growing yogurt industry of his city, Dhau explores the relationship between people and material – employing innovation and cultural practices to design more sustainable relationships that supports growth but does not ignore its environmental costs.

Lead by a group of three women, Thun-Lam aims to preserve the livelihoods of drokpas (nomads) in upper Mustang without impacting the surrounding eco-system. Partnering with the community, the group aim to employ their traditional use of yak hair in creating new, innovative and contemporary goods that can generate income and contribute to the drokpas economic and climate resilience.

Pyangaun is a small settlement in Godwari Municipality which was known for its bamboo containers called pyang. Lost to history, Pyangaun’s skilled artisanal labor and heritage is at risk of complete loss. Alina and Aman wish to revitalise the community by reorienting the community’s practice to appeal to modern sensibilities. Working with an entire community of creators, the duo hope to apply material skills and knowledge to wider application than its traditional grounding.

Bhawana Tulachan is an illustrator and designer who has been working with books and other contents for children. She wants to combine her passion for Nepali culture and craft while advocating for sustainability and eco-friendly habits. Bhawana aims to design and produce a new line of toys for children employing artisan skills and natural materials to provide parents with plastic-free alternatives while providing a living for indigenous makers. 

Aashish Shrestha, Sajan Satyal, Sauhadra Sigdel and Shreya Acharya are mechanical engineers interested in traditional machines. Together, as Aauzar, they aim to develop an upcycled loom that can create impact at the intersections of gender and climate change by supporting home-based artisans with cost-effective upgrades to weaving.


Material developments, product concepts and prototypes realised by grantees are showcased at Kathmandu University 1-6 August 2022, alongside ‘Impressions’ the BFA Exhibition Project 2022 exhibition. Our grantees and project partners in Nepal have kindly shared images, with a snapshot provided here with more in our RoadToCOP26 Instagram Highlight.

Road to COP26 and Beyond

Read Creative Informatics Research Fellow, Dr Inge Panneels’ The Road to COP26 and Beyond blog post about her research and reflections on this project and others that reflect data driven approaches to climate change undertaken in the run up to COP26; and watch case studies of the Nepali entrepreneurs and the craft communities with whom they worked and Scottish makers in the Closing the Loop research group.

Find out more about our involvement with and projects as a UK partner in the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme here.

The Innovation Grant Programme is part of the Road to COP26 campaign of activities implemented by the British Council with support from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Nepal which aims to strengthen capacities and amplify voices of those most impacted so that they can engage national and international stakeholders of climate change response in the lead up to COP26.