Twenty-eight teams, announced earlier this month, have reached the semifinals of the South African leg of the 2015 United Nations Industrial Development Organisation’s (Unido’s) Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The winner will be announced on October 15 at an awards ceremony, which will take place in Gauteng.
The GCIP runs in seven developing nations, including South Africa, where it is being implemented by the South Africa-based Technology Innovation Agency. Other participating nations include Armenia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey.
Unido international energy and low- carbon programme coordinator Claudia Giacovelli tells Engineering News that the GCIP is a combined competition and business accelerator programme “aimed at attracting the most promising cleantech entrepreneurs and businesses”.
Each team is selected from about 120 applicants, based on the strength of its business plan, from proof of concept to precommercialisation, for the development of technology in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency and waste beneficiation.
The semifinalists are undergoing a training and mentorship programme to help develop and grow their SMEs into sustainable businesses. The training and mentorship programme will be concluded at the end of next month and will be followed by a business pitch by each team to a panel of judges. The winner will be chosen based on the strength of the presentation and training outcomes.
Giacovelli notes that the training requires each team to have at least two members, as each team is required to complete ten webinar training modules and submit a worksheet on each module while still managing its SME as an individual. The worksheets are used to assess the teams’ ability to apply the theory of each webinar module in a practical business situation.
“The GCIP tries to transfer a full skills set to the team, which can be used from business start-up to product commercialisation and business expansion,” she states.
Teams receive training on the development and structure of a business model, product and market identification, business partnerships, technology validation, business sustainability, finance and funding, team management, mergers and acquisitions, and how to present a strong business proposal.
The winners from the seven participating nations receive a monetary prize, as well as media exposure and a trip to participate in the world’s largest green technology accelerator for start-up companies, the Cleantech Open, which is being held in November, in Silicon Valley, California.
The event will provide each of the GCIP winners with an opportunity to pitch their businesses to potential international investors and secure invaluable business relationships.