The recession and a lack of joined-up government action are creating a bump in the growth path of cleantech companies.
Cleantech products and services have yet to reach the market in any significant way, but the diverse mix of technologies and processes are getting closer and closer to the mainstream. The European cleantech industry is currently recording high venture capital investment figures against an overall global decline in cleantech investment. The industry is attracting the brightest people, professional services firms are increasingly responding to the growth needs of the industry and exciting new business models and partnerships are being created. The sector needs to grow, and as it attempts to extend its footprint globally, it is encountering uncertainty, delay and disappointment.
Cleantech is a success story in terms of significant FDI growth over the past few years, and investment promotion agencies across the world want a piece of the action. Hopefully, such agencies will dispense with the usual bland brochures and paralysing powerpoints and instead focus on how they can really help cleantech businesses thrive in these challenging market conditions. This means matching them with good local partners, assisting with financing projects as funding gaps widen, helping them access infrastructure and encouraging politicians to be consistent and long term in their policy and legislation. Now is the time to put on the gardening gloves and nurture these precious green shoots – both for profit and for the planet.
Douglas Clark is Director of Tenon techlocate, a site search and location marketing consultancy, which is part of the Tenon Group plc, a top 10 firm of accountants and business advisers.