After weeks of intense preparations, the moment arrived that we’ve all been waiting for…7 new WWF Climate Solvers were born! Climate Solver 2009 was presented for both the press, and the participants of the Stockholm Cleantech Venture Day – Scandinavia’s larget Cleantech event.
And it didn’t take long before the interest in these technologies, and the companies representing them, made headlines. Apparently the companies profiled in the various newspapers have had their phones ringing off the hooks since the launch. As have ours. We’ve received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback on our innovations work and the important role that WWF now plays in this field.
Obviously WWF doesn’t have commercial interests in the cleantech industry which allows us to maintain an objective position when reviewing the hinders and challenges in current innovation systems. Once those aspects are identified, our main objective is to encourage policy makers to create environments in which climate entrepreneurs can flourish.
In addition a presentation of our climate innovations work, WWF also hosted a panel discussion entitled, “A New Deal for the Climate – A Very Big Deal for Cleantech.” HereChristian Korneval, WBCSD, Patrick Burtis, Amadeus Capital Partners, Igor Jelinski,European Commission Environmental Technology Action Plan, and Svante Bengtsson, CEO Climate Solver Rehact, discussed the implications of a global climate deal on the cleantech sector. Huge sums of public funding will be needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change. WWF is calling for global deal which secures $160 billion/year. But the public funding is only a drop in the bucket, and is meant to stimulate several times that in private investments. This potential influx of capital will certainly transform the entire market for the clean technologies, and it’s vital that these actors are well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.
You’ve probably been waiting with baited breath, so finally Climate Solvers 2009:
Elviz (Electricity Visualizer) – energy monitoring device for reducing energy consumption in households developed by Exibea AB
Integrated bio-methane plants for vehicle fuel production developed by Swedish Biogas International AB
AirLight heat exchanger developed by Airec AB
The Supersonic Wave Engine developed by Neo Power Technology AS
The Solar Safe Water System developed by Solvatten AB
The low-energy HVAC System using Thermal Energy Storage in the building structure developed by TermoDeck International Ltd
The WoodRoll biomass gasification for process industries developed by Cortus AB
For more info on our selected Climate Solvers visit the Innovations section of this site.
The current Swedish government supposedly prioritizes support for small companies. They made election promises about how they would create conditions for stimulating the flow of private investment to smaller enterprises through various tax incentives. According to Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest newspaper, yet another investigation in this area has been completed. And guess what? The Ministry of Finance just realized that in order to offer tax deductions to venture capitalists, they’d have to compensate for loss of income through increases somewhere else. Of course, I’m not a brilliant financial expert, but it appears to me that a scheme deliberately designed to support the development of new enterprises, which will ulitimatly grow and create jobs and stimulate economic activity, is a darn good deal for the country. But of course, that’s only if you think longterm and not just as far as next year’s election.
On a more positive note – We recently completed the selection of this year’s Climate Solvers. 7 technologies with the combined potential to reduce emissions by 600 million tons/year by 2020 will be profiled here tomorrow. Exciting new solutions with the potential to radically reduce CO2 emissions here and abroad - given the right conditions for entrepreneursip.
Johan Silverklev and Maud Olofsson
Every summer Swedish politicians and their stakeholders meet for a week of lectures, lobbying and liasing on Gotland, a large island off the southeast coast. WWF convinced the organizers of an opening seiminar to invite Climate Solver Johan Silverklev, CEO at Air to Air, to participate in a panel discussion entitled New Leadership – defining how to save the planet. Johan did a truly fantastic job representing the entrepreneur’s perspective, and clearly identified faults in the innovation system that prevented society from benefiting from climate technologies with the potential to radically reduce CO2 emissions.
Oh, and the other panelists weren’t too bad either – the Leading Ladies: Gro Harlem Brundtland, Member of the Club of Madrid and Former Prime Minister of Norway. Mary Robinson, Vice President of the Club of Madrid and Former President of Ireland,Margot Wahlström, Vice President of the European Commission, and Maud Olofsson, Minister of Enterprise and Energy and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden.
Johan identified 3 main problems and offered smart advice as to how they could be tackled:
Problem 1. Today, someone with an idea must qualify it every time they are in need of assistance, be it for writing a business plan or finding a VC. If we entrepreneurs had a dollar for every slap on the back we get, we wouldn’t need any financial help.
My suggestion: A centralised qualification system divided into stages where every stage qualifies for the next. This provides correct help at the correct time. This way, for every time the project qualifies, it gains value and moves forward.
Problem 2. Most technical entrepreneurs have never had any education in business, and thus couldn’t make a believable forecast or financial analysis of an idea if their life depended on it. They still have to depend on the goodwill of business people when asking for help though. And quite probably, the business person won’t understand the beauty of the technology because they in turn, don’t have a technical education. And so the entrepreneur is often sent home without getting the help he or she needs. It’s time to design a system that focuses not only on the product, but also on the entrepreneur behind it.
My suggestion: Different stages of development require different focuses. With a centralised step-based qualification, the system is able to recognise the need for personal, technological and economic assistance when they are needed. Remember that quite often it’s the person, not necessarily the product, that is successful.
Problem 3. When employing someone in Sweden, the net salary is only about 50% of the company’s total cost for paying that salary. This means most new companies can never afford to hire specialist help, resulting in the entrepreneur having to become something of a renaissance artist, ie know everything and do everything by him/herself.
My suggestion: Lighten or abolish the “social fees” for development companies so that they may hire the help needed to successfully grow and build competence capital in-house instead of buying competence when they can afford it.
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