Applications closed. Acceleration program in progress

FIPEE Call for High Impact Cleantech

Global trends and experiences have shown the catalytic potential of technology innovation in addressing the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation. In addition, climate change also offers opportunities for economic growth through creation of new industries and business models. In particular, the agility of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups allow them to be key players for providing innovative technology solutions and products.

However, as innovation ecosystems in developing countries are often too weak or nonfunctional, MSMEs and startups with such technological innovations are not systematically identified, accelerated, or fostered, and are not given the opportunity to transform their clean technological innovations into viable enterprises that attract investments at local and global level.

This initiative is organized in the framework of the project “Fostering international partnerships between companies and/or institutions operating in the energy and environment sectors” (#FIPEE), implemented by UNIDO ITPO Italy with the financial support of the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition and aimed at supporting the commercialization and scale-up of sustainable energy and environmental technologies and projects in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Start-ups in the seven partner countries of the project.


Objective of the call

The purpose of this call is to identify MSMEs and projects with high-impact potential cleantech innovations in Botswana, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kenya and Peru, in order to address the adverse effects of climate change and ultimately contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic development.

Selected MSMEs and startups will receive targeted support to enhance their investment readiness and business competitiveness. The specific methodology and curriculum for business coaching and acceleration will be mainly based on the UNIDO approaches Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP) and the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN).

Specifically, priority will be given to the following technology categories:

  • Renewable Energy (including Waste-to-Energy)
  • Water Efficiency
  • Water Treatment
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Waste Management
  • Green Transport and Green Building
  • Climate Mitigation and Adaptation (GHG Emission Reduction, Early Warning Systems)
  • Forest Management and Conservation (AFOLU)
  • Soil Remediation
  • Treatment and Disposal of Inert
  • Sustainable and Smart Agriculture
  • Circular Economy

Selection process

The key steps of the selection process are:

  • Announcement of the call and opening of applications
  • Applications deadline and applicants screening
  • Round one judging: selection of semifinalists by an ad-hoc jury
  • Mentoring programme to semifinalists and submission of deliverables (e.g. Investor Presentation)
  • Round two judging: selection of finalists (1-winner for each country)
  • Award Ceremony

Mentoring Programme

The mentoring programme will consist of online webinars, one-to-one mentoring and coaching. Covered topics will include the following:

  • Product and Its Value Proposition
  • Technology, Its Competitive Advantage and IP Defensibility
  • Customer Segmentation, Beachhead Segment and Pilot Customer(s)
  • Competitor analysis
  • Revenue Models and Pricing
  • Total Addressable Market (TAM) and Sales Model
  • Funding Strategy
  • Team composition and skillset
  • Sustainability (environmental and social impact)
  • Executive Summary and Investor Presentation/Pitch

At the end of the mentoring programme, semifinalists will deliver an Investor Presentation to the round two jury.

Admissible candidates

The call is addressed to the following entities from target countries - Botswana, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kenya and Peru:

  • Micro enterprises
  • Small enterprises
  • Medium enterprises
  • Startups (less than 3 years in existence but not yet profitable)

The above entities could be also linked to universities, technopoles, research centers, innovation hubs and incubators.

Although all applications will be considered, we strongly encourage female candidates to apply.

Individuals cannot participate. 

Submission of applications

Participation in the initiative is free of charge.

Applications must be submitted by November 1st 2021 at 18:00 GMT filling the online form:

The applications and related supporting documents must be submitted in English or Spanish languages only. Documents in local language must be uploaded with a certified translation in English or Spanish.

Each applicant can submit a maximum of 2 (two) applications for different innovations. A larger submission of proposals would lead to the exclusion of extra applications based on the order in which they are received.

Each applicant cannot apply for more than one country. 

During the submission phase, applicants will be asked to provide personal and non-personal information. This information is collected only with the user’s knowledge and permission, and will be kept in JotForm Inc. Personal data will only be used by UNIDO ITPO Italy for the following purposes: internal audit, sending communications by email about this initiative and its related activities, sending promotional e-newsletter about UNIDO and ITPO Italy future initiatives (only if the user accepted through the specific field in the form). Personal and non-personal data will not be made available to third parties without previous applicant’s authorization, except for the review of the application by the jury members.

Participants will be asked to accept these Terms and Conditions.

Eligibility criteria

The applications received will be submitted to an initial screening phase and will be required to meet a set of minimum eligibility criteria in order to be considered for evaluation:

  • Applications must be complete in all their mandatory parts and consistent with the objectives and themes of the call.
  • Applications must be related to technology innovations that fit within one of the defined technology categories.
  • Applicants must fit within one of the entities listed in Art. 4 - Admissible candidates. A scanned copy of the official registration document of the company in accordance with the local regulatory system (i.e. chamber of commerce certificate, tax number registration) is required.
  • The innovations proposed must be new and ground-breaking, or incorporate adaptation of existing technologies, or use existing technologies in unique applications. Startup projects should not be projects for the reconstruction or restructuring of existing businesses. The candidate should at least develop a proof of concept at the bench scale (TRL 3) but have not progressed beyond a prototype demonstration of the technology (TRL 6). An example diagram highlighting the Technology Readiness can be found online at:
  • Applicants must demonstrate or declare exclusive ownership of or exclusive access to the relevant intellectual property (IP). These claims may be verified by the organizers at a later date. Applicants may be disqualified where claims are proven to be false. If possible, the applicants may upload official documents of intellectual property – e.g. patents (including those whose approval is pending), copyright, property contracts, etc
  • Applicants must have a team of at least 2 (two) people, and at least one team member must be no less than 18 years of age and must be resident, citizen, or legal alien (proof needs to be provided) in the target country.
  • Candidates must have a physical address in the target country, and must have activities (e.g. sales, marketing, research and development, or administration) based in the same target country.
  • Absence of conflict of interest: for instance, if a team member were connected in some way to the organizers and donor, it would be seen as a conflict of interest.
  • The applications must comply with national labor laws and must not have adverse impact on human health and environment.

Evaluation criteria

Only the applications that have been successfully screened and considered eligible will be evaluated by an ad hoc jury during the Round one judging. 

The jury in charge of the evaluation and selection of the best innovative technologies and ideas will be composed by recognized representatives. The composition of the jury will be available on the dedicated website.

Judges will be asked to score the criteria related to each application on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

Round one judging:

The evaluation of the screened applications will be based on the following criteria:

  • Team

    must have a team of at least 2 (two) people, and at least one team member must be no less than 18 years of age and must be resident, citizen, or legal alien (proof needs to be provided) in the target country. Candidates must have a physical address in the target country, and must have activities (e.g. sales, marketing, research and development, or administration) based in the same target country.

    No member of the team is directly affiliated with the operation of the organizer or donor.

  • Technology
    The technology or service is a potentially-disruptive innovation and/or demonstrates the potential for a sustainable competitive advantage; the product, service or business model has protected or protectable IP or know-how.
  • Market
    The potential market size is large enough for sustained business growth and aligned with the expectations of possible funding sources (if any).
  • Product
    The product addresses a key national need or addresses a key developing/emerging nation need, and it is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a significant way.
  • Basic Due Diligence
    The applicant owns the Intellectual Property certificate of the technology, or has a reasonable expectation of protection of know-how.

Before submitting the results, a last review will be performed for each application shortlisted as semifinalist, and it will consists of an interview to determine the suitability of the applicant. The interview process is important to answer some key questions that may not be resolved through the application forms and supporting information alone.

The organizers reserve the right to request additional documents or clarifications to complement the candidature, if deemed necessary.

All candidates will be informed about the decisions of the jury.

Round two judging:

The Judging criteria for round two judging are grouped into 9 categories designed to guide the jury in assessing semifinalists on the degree to which they have addressed most if not all of the modules of the Mentoring programme in their validation interviews and captured their validated conclusions in their Investors Presentation.

The evaluation criteria for round two judging are:

  1. Business Description
  2. Customer Discovery
  3. Product/Technology Validation
  4. Go-To-Market Tactics / Sales Model
  5. Finances & Funding a
  6. Legal
  7. Team
  8. Sustainability
  9. Executive Summary & Investor Presentation

The round two judging will assess which of the semifinalists have the greatest potential and will select one finalist for each target country.


All semifinalists will receive a tailored business acceleration coaching, mentoring, and training service to enhance their investment readiness and business competitiveness. The specific methodology and curriculum will be mainly based on the GCIP and PFAN approaches.

Finalists will also receive:

  • Opportunity to showcase their technology innovations and business cases at the forthcoming GCIP Global Forum – as well as at other global events, as opportunities arise – gaining significant exposure to potential investors, partners, and policymakers.
  • Dedicated matchmaking services with investor networks, commercialization partners and government procurement offices to increase their exposure to the market – also through the inclusion on the FIPEE Investment and Matchmaking Platform on Energy and Environment.
  • Curated peer networking with other MSMEs to explore opportunities for technology collaboration, product co-development, joint ventures for market expansion, and further collaboration possibilites in a business-to-business context.
  • Technical support in producing promotional materials such as product brochures, company profiles, videos, etc.
  • Publication of an ad hoc webpage on the winner innovative idea and/or technology on UNIDO ITPO Italy’s institutional website ( and social media channels of UNIDO ITPO Italy and GCIP.
  • Enhanced visibility through the publication of press releases and inclusion in the final brochure related to the FIPEE project.

Award Ceremony

Finalists will be invited to take part in the Award Ceremony. The date and modality of the Ceremony will be defined later on, according to pandemic emergency regulations and travel restrictions.

Final provisions

Participating applicants acknowledge that the organizer intends to carry out a fair and open competition, with no expectation of incurring liability by virtue of such participation.

Applicants declare that any images or footages involved in the applications were taken by them or that they received permission to use them, and that such materials may be used by UNIDO as provided for in these Terms and Conditions. Applicants also declare that, if applicable, permission to submit the entry in this competition has been given to them by their employer.

Applicants accept that they will be contacted on follow-up activities arising from this competition by the Organizer.

The UNIDO ITPO Italy disclaimer applies. Links to non-UNIDO websites are provided solely as a pointer to information on topics that may be useful to UNIDO staff, Member States and the public.

The use of particular designations of countries or territories does not imply any judgement by UNIDO as to the legal status of such countries or territories, of their authorities and institutions or of the delimitation of their boundaries.

The mention of names of specific companies or products (whether or not indicated as registered) does not imply any intention to infringe proprietary rights, nor should it be construed as an endorsement or recommendation on the part of UNIDO.

Applicants acknowledge that UNIDO and UNIDO ITPO Italy are not going to be part of any non-disclosure agreement with respect to any document or information of any kind or nature that applicants submit to the Competition ("Disclosed Information"). All disclosed information is expressly agreed to be not confidential, with no restrictions on the use or disclosure of the disclosed information.

Nothing in and relating to these Terms and Conditions or the competition will be deemed a waiver of any of the privileges and immunities of UNIDO and UNIDO ITPO Italy.

Applicants release and hold UNIDO and UNIDO ITPO Italy harmless from any claim, liability, damage, demand or action, of any kind or nature arising out of any of the activities of the competition –  including without limitation: (i) decisions on competition winners and disqualifications, regardless of whether such actions are willful or negligent, and (ii) any other injury, loss, cost, harm, liability or damage sustained by applicants as a result of any participation in the Competition, regardless of whether such injury, loss, cost, harm, liability or damage results from negligence or willful misconduct of the Organizer.