This project was part of UNIDO’s Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP), a global flagship programme on clean technologies for SMEs. GCIP aims to support innovation and entrepreneurship-focused ecosystems by identifying and nurturing cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs; by building capacity within national institutions and partner organizations for the sustainable implementation of the cleantech ecosystem and accelerator approach; and by supporting and working with national policy makers to strengthen the supportive policy framework for SMEs and entrepreneurs.
GCIP India aimed to promote clean low carbon technologies to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions of the Indian industrial sector. This project aimed to promote such clean energy technology innovation and entrepreneurship in selected SME clusters across India through a cleantech innovation platform and competition. The programme focused on supporting emerging cleantech startups and enhancing the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and policy framework.
The key activities of the project included:
- Creation of a national platform to promote clean technology innovations and competitiveness of SMEs and business models that can deliver global environmental benefits. The goal of this platform was to conduct annual cleantech business competitions and establish an accelerator across selected SME clusters covering four clean energy sectors: energy efficiency renewable energy, waste-to-energy and water efficiency. Each startup involved received training, mentoring, and promotion, and was put in contact with potential investors, customers and partners through participation in the programme.
- Building national capacity for clean technologies and the development of a supportive local entrepreneurial ecosystem. This activity involved capacity building of national industrial associations to host the programme, establishing a mentor programme to maximize every participant’s chances of winning the business competition, of raising investment capital and of achieving sustainable commercial success, and intensive training programmes for qualifying participants.
- Policy and institutional framework for scaling up cleantech competition, innovation and acceleration activities across India. This involved providing inputs to policies relating to promotion of clean energy technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship as well as regional stakeholder meetings across the country.
- The project conducted four annual innovation competitions between 2014 and 2017. These competitions received more than 700 applications, and approximately 84 SMEs qualified and benefitted from the programme’s support. About 100 stakeholders were directly associated with GCIP India as mentors; screening committee members; judges; jury members; and investors.
- The programme provided support related to market research, business development and financial modelling, beyond the technology validation or technical development in other comparable programmes.
- ‘Winners’, ‘runners-up’ and other ‘finalists’ within the competition-based accelerator were also assisted to take part in other various national and international platforms for greater exposure and recognition. Indian SMEs competed internationally at the annual Global Forum and won the Global Cleantech Innovation Award in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- Building a realistic business plan around a sound technical innovation helped GCIP trained entrepreneurs to receive over US $7 million in grant, equity and debt financing.