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.
Against this background, the UNIDO ITPO Italy's FIPEE Call aimed to identify and accelerate high impact cleantech solutions, innovations and projects of MSMEs and startups from Botswana, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kenya and Peru, to tackle the most urgent global issues in energy and environment and ultimately contribute to UNIDO's mandate of accelerating Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development.
The selection process and specific methodology of the Acceleration Programme were primarily based on the UNIDO Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP) approach. A total of 59 projects were identified and evaluated between September and December 2021.
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.
25 selected MSMEs and startups from Botswana, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kenya and Peru had the opportunity to take part in the coaching and training activities of the Acceleration Programme to improve their business model and investment readiness.
Delivered by Koestinger Consulting, the Acceleration Programme of the FIPEE Call for High Impact Cleantech was carried out successfully throughout the months of January and April 2022. The course notably featured 6 Live-Labs as well as multiple special sessions with international mentors, entrepreneurs and top guests sharing their experiences, success cases and best practices.
During the concluding Demo-Day on 20th April, all MSMEs and startups who attended the course delivered their best business pitch to the Jury Members of the Acceleration Programme — including MiTE, GCIP and the business acceleration mentors — who eventually selected the five winners of the FIPEE Call, one for each target country.
The Award Ceremony of UNIDO ITPO Italy’s FIPEE Call for High Impact Cleantech was held on 10th November 2022 within the framework of the Ecomondo & Key Energy exhibition in Rimini, Italy.
The five winners were announced and awarded by representatives of the high-level institutions participating in the Ceremony — among which: the donor of the project, the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition (MiTE); the UNIDO Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP); Her Excellency the Ambassador of Ethiopia to Italy; the Embassy of Botswana to the European Union; the Ministry of Energy of Kenya; and the Cuban National Institute of Water Resources (INRH).
Furthermore, the winners had the opportunity to showcase their technologies at a dedicated booth inside the fair, where UNIDO ITPO Italy also coordinated and assisted the participation of a multinational delegation composed of 31 companies and institutions in energy and environment from the seven target countries of the project (including Kazakhstan and Morocco). The winners took part in more than 30 B2B meetings with local and international exhibitors, promoting the development of new business synergies for investment and partnerships.