Where are the Sustainable Innovation Opportunities for Innovators and Entrepreneurs?

There has never been a more exciting time to be a cleantech entrepreneur. Over the last five to ten years, a vibrant early-stage innovation scene has evolved, and the trend is especially strong in the EU. According to the Cleantech for Europe report, venture capital invested in EU startups increased by 7.5 times over the period from 2011 to 2020, and EU cleantech startups attracted almost 23% of global seed funding in 2020.

Are you an entrepreneur? Then you are probably only too aware that proving technical viability and taking the first steps towards commercialisation is only the first part of the journey. The next mile is achieving the scale that will allow your venture to become sustainable and have a material impact on the environment. And there is no scale without demand: disruptive solutions need markets which translate into the customers you need to grow your business.

The good news is that the EU is working on a raft of measures which should build significant demand for cleantech solutions, starting with a comprehensive review of climate policy taking place during 2021. This is combined with an overhaul of support mechanisms for green ventures, aiming to align policy and funding to transition to net zero and grow the economy simultaneously.

LCBA Canada is one of these initiatives. Selected EU-headquartered startups, SMEs and smaller midcaps who are developing innovative low carbon and circular economy solutions will get the chance to pitch their solution to Canadian companies who are willing to sponsor pilot projects. These are large corporations and organisations who have spent time examining their sustainability goals, working out what they want to work on, and who are looking for new solutions to help them get there. Each company or organisation has defined an innovation challenge – a sustainability issue they think could be solved by partnering with companies who are developing clean technologies.

For the current wave of challenges, pitches will take place in September 2021. If your solution is chosen, your Canadian partner will fund the pilot project and the EU will fund additional support you might need to make the project a success, whether that is the mechanics of exporting your solution, how to set up a successful partnership structure, protect your IP, or general information on doing business in Canada.

The LCBA programme is an EU initiative which aims to advance the commercialisation of clean technologies in sectors with potential for high climate impact such as energy supply, transport, buildings and waste management. Over the last two weeks we have launched twenty challenges, ranging from direct solar hydrogen production to green building technologies, CCUS, waste heat utilisation, sustainable shipping, community electricity generation and production of biofuels from restaurant waste. Check them all out here.

If you don’t spot anything suitable, do check back another time. Cleantech Group’s Innovation Hub is updated regularly with challenges from our global network. We also have resources on how to apply and what makes a successful pitch. If you are working on an innovative cleantech solution, we hope to see your application soon.