ClimateLaunchpad’s return to Ireland was marked by the successful completion of 2018’s 2-day boot camp, where eleven teams presented new and innovative cleantech ideas to combat climate change. Over the intensive, fun boot camp, founders developed their vision for a successful business, discovered niche customers markets, assigned value to their idea, and finally, practiced pitching their climate change innovation for the first time.
In its fourth year, ClimateLaunchpad Ireland continues to provide an invaluable opportunity for climate-aligned startups to unlock their potential and connect to a powerful network of entrepreneurs, trainers, and supportive peers, and to date has supported 47 teams to start new businesses “One of the best parts of ClimateLaunchpad is the communication and insights you get from not just your trainer, but from other start-ups. You won’t believe the number of connections and references you can get just by talking to people who want to see you and your idea succeed!” Eoin Matthews, Co-founder Size U.
There is vast business potential and opportunity in tackling climate change, but it requires entrepreneurs who have fresh ideas and want to take the next step in turning their start-up into an agent for change. “I would say that start-ups hold some of the highest capacity to change the way customers view the goods and services they are buying because these founders have the passion—they understand who their market is and what motivates customers to try a new company that has something good to say and something good to do,” says Ron Immink, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Sustainable Nation Ireland.
Start-up ideas range from seaweed food supplements to reduce methane emissions in livestock, to 3-D printed crop irrigators, and apps to help waste management companies teach their customers about recycling procedures. Whether the idea is around production systems, urban improvement, or something else, and whatever the level of expertise, an innovative concept and the initiative to develop it are the key factors in the success of companies during and after ClimateLaunchpad.
“ClimateLaunchpad is an invaluable opportunity for cleantech—one that I think anyone with the right determination should participate in. We’ve had companies make it to the top-twenty in the international competition, and every year I am amazed by the level of ingenuity and dedication to change the way things are run—all coming out of Ireland This year is no different, and I’m excited about coaching and mentoring the teams to help them grow their business,” says Immink.
ClimateLaunchpad offers these motivated start-ups an opportunity; whether their ideas need an extra push because they are still in development, or they want access to the training and entrepreneurial excellence that will help them learn how to succeed with their cleantech business. “Over the past four years, I’ve seen the potential of the start-ups we work with; the enthusiasm their founders display for how their ideas can fight climate change is powerful. A lot of people have innovative potential, but they don’t know where to start or where to find the right support networks. That’s what ClimateLaunchpad and the climate-aligned network is all about—helping them see the way forward and connecting them with the right people,” says Aideen O’Hora, Director Sustainable Business, Sustainable Nation Ireland.
Every year, ClimateLaunchpad Ireland selects three teams to participate in the finals; last year the finals were hosted in Cyprus. In 2018, the finals will take place in Edinburgh. “The ability for these teams to have international exposure and experience at such an early stage is invaluable to their future development. It also shows businesses and investors at all levels that clean-climate-tech is here and it’s the climate focus that customers want in their new products and services. Sustainable Nation is excited to work with the teams from this year’s boot camp to prepare them to take their idea to the big stage,” O’Hora says.
“The wonderful thing about this programme is the ability of teams to move past ClimateLaunchpad. We provide them with the skills, knowledge, and national platform, and they can take off from there,” O’Hora says. “It’s always nice to see start-ups from previous years succeeding and making a difference.” Four teams from Ireland’s 2017 ClimateLaunchpad programme will participate in the 2018 Dublin-based Climate-KIC Accelerator, an 18-month, 3-stage accelerator programme for start-ups looking to expand their understanding of the climate technology market and reach new customers, building on the training they received during ClimateLaunchpad.
The 2018 boot camp may be finished, but the search for clean-tech solutions to climate change induced problems is never over. There are always new ideas that will make a difference, and looking at start-ups from Ireland that aim to increase operational efficiency, solve waste issues, and overhaul supply-chain management show a bright future—not just for climate change, but for business start-ups and innovation.
“And in the end, it really is about that opportunity,” O’Hora says. “Climate change is a threat, but it’s also a chance for start-ups to make a name for themselves doing something impactful—for the planet, and for their customers.”
If you would like to participate in ClimateLaunchpad 2019, please visit https://climatelaunchpad.org/. For more information on other sustainable business programmes please visit https://www.sustainablenation.ie/enterprise-development/
Article written by Amy Kruzan.