The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs provides small and medium-size enterprises in growing economies with training, mentoring, and access to investors. Based on the successful Cleantech Open Accelerator, the initiative aims to spur local innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste to energy, and water efficiency.
PALO ALTO, Calif., May 20, 2014: The Cleantech Open (www.cleantechopen.org), the world’s largest clean-technology accelerator, is expanding its successful program for cleantech startups to six countries. In partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and local executing partners, the Cleantech Open is launching six international cleantech accelerators in Armenia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey through a joint initiative, the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs. The mission of each national accelerator is to find, fund and foster small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that can tackle the most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges in those countries.
The Cleantech Open was founded on the premise that entrepreneurial innovation is the answer to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, and the key to economic growth for all nations. In the United States, nearly 900 startups have participated in the Cleantech Open accelerator and raised capital in excess of $950M, creating thousands of jobs. The partnership with the GEF and UNIDO leverages their unique contributions to protecting the global environment by promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition, and aims to nurture cleantech innovation that can address global challenges.
“Right now, entrepreneurs around the world are developing ingenious solutions to major challenges in the generation, distribution and storage of energy, air and water pollution, waste management, new forms of transport, and sustainable construction techniques,” said Rex Northen, executive director of the Cleantech Open. “The GEF and UNIDO are the perfect partners to clone the Cleantech Open DNA in countries that can most benefit from our proven accelerator program. Our objective is to help those entrepreneurs turn their ideas into transformative commercial successes.”
“The planet has entered a new ecological era in which human activities will lead to unprecedented environmental and resource challenges. We must leverage technological innovation and action from across the private sector, especially the small medium enterprises which drive the majority of the world’s economies,” said Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and chairperson of the GEF. “By combining the Cleantech Open’s global platform, mentors and proven methodology with UNIDO’s international network and resources, we have a unique opportunity to tackle our biggest environmental challenges through breakthrough innovation on multiple levels, including technological, business model and policy innovation.”
“We are proud to join hands with such strong partners as the GEF and the Cleantech Open to engage with thousands of energy entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world to systematically raise the awareness, acceptance and significance of innovation and investment in clean technologies in each participating country,” said Dr. Pradeep Monga, director of the Energy & Climate Change Branch at UNIDO.
The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs blends local market experience and networks with proven resources and programs. The GEF has more than twenty years of experience investing in pioneering and innovative country-driven projects that address local needs and deliver global environmental benefits. UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability, and has been supporting the growth of SMEs in developing countries for more than 20 years.
Participating countries will have access to UNIDO’s in-country resources and to the Cleantech Open’s proprietary events, training, materials and an online global platform that connects entrepreneurs to a global network of mentors, industry experts and investors. Each national cleantech accelerator is led by national executing partners and teams in country, hosted by major institutions, universities, and supported by local industrial associations and key stakeholders.
Key national partners already on board in participating countries include the Malaysian Industry-Government group for High Technology (MiGHT), the Technology Innovation Agency (South Africa), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), TUBITAK (Turkey), and the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (Armenia).
How the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs works
- Each national cleantech accelerator supports startups in four technology categories in 2014: energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste to energy and water efficiency.
- Each country leverages $1–2 million in funding from the Global Environment Facility, matched by $2–6+ million in co-financing (including in-kind contributions) from in-country public- and private-sector partners.
- Each accelerator identifies the most promising entrepreneurs in country and unites a diverse range of local partners with the sole objective of accelerating and supporting the best cleantech ventures in each category.
- A national competition in each country selects the most promising entrepreneurs. Qualifying entrepreneurs also participate in the accelerator program, which builds the local entrepreneurial ecosystem; supports, promotes and “de-risks” the participating companies; and connects them to potential investors, customers and partners.
- In November 2014, the best cleantech ventures from all six participating countries will attend the Cleantech Open Global Forum in Silicon Valley, a major event on the cleantech calendar that attracts thousands of attendees from 30 countries. There, they will meet with technologists, corporate leaders and investors.
- To learn more, visit http://www2.cleantechopen.org/gef-unido/.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY
The Global Environment Facility is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. The GEF serves as financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It also works closely with the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances. Since 1991, the GEF has provided $12.5 billion in grants and leveraged $58 billion in co-financing for 3,690 projects in 165 developing countries. For 23 years, developed and developing countries alike have provided these funds to support activities related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, and chemicals and waste in the context of development projects and programs. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has made more than 20,000 grants to civil society and community-based organizations for a total of $1 billion. Among the major results of these investments, the GEF has set up protected areas around the world equal roughly to the area of Brazil; reduced carbon emissions by 2.3 billion tonnes; eliminated the use of ozone-depleting substances in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia; transformed the management of 33 major river basins and one-third of the world’s large marine ecosystems; slowed the advance of desertification in Africa by improving agricultural practices—and all this while contributing to better the livelihood and food security of millions of people. For more information visit www.thegef.org or follow the GEF on @thegef or www.facebook.com/TheGEF1.
UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. The mandate of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition.
ABOUT THE CLEANTECH OPEN
The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual accelerator and mentorship program, almost 900 participating companies in the United States alone have raised a total of more than $950M and created thousands of jobs. Internationally, the Cleantech Open Global Ideas competition is held annually in collaboration with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), and has included entrepreneurs from 39 countries. Fueled by a global network of more than 2,000 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making the cleantech sectors a thriving economic engine around the world. For more information, visit www.cleantechopen.org, or follow us on @cleantechopen and Facebook.