Cleantech Open, the world’s largest cleantech accelerator, is expanding its program for startups to six countries. In partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and local partners, 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.
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).
“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.
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.