World Bank network aims to help small businesses develop clean technology

The World Bank Group and partners have launched a network that brings together more than 30 foundations, donors, venture funds, and others to help local businesses in 12 countries develop clean technology and advance climate action.

The Climate Business Innovation Network will support developing countries in their transition to clean energy and other climate-smart paths by building local capacity and linking small businesses to global sources of technology, finance, and expertise.

Diverse partners, including foundations, donors, businesses, investors, venture funds, universities, international organizations, and government agencies will provide advisory services, partnership and funding to small and growing businesses in developing countries, with a focus on Africa. As the network expands, more organizations will join to enhance the service offerings.

“The World Bank Group is happy to be convening organizations for maximum impact through the new Climate Business Innovation Network, to help accelerate small and growing businesses’ capacity,” said Anabel Gonzalez, the World Bank Group’s senior director for Trade & Competitiveness. “The network will deliver concrete solutions to climate problems, while creating jobs and value in our partner countries and helping them meet their Paris commitments.”

With countries gearing up to implement the actions in the Nationally Determined Contributions, it is essential they deploy the latest innovations available. The network will allow climate technology businesses in developing countries to access the expertise and know-how needed to adapt and adopt innovative business models that have been proven in other countries.

Specifically, the network will:

Spread models to enable climate innovation: Countries have implemented a range of strategies to catalyze innovation locally and globally to create new technologies for climate mitigation and adaptation. The network will be the premier vehicle to gather experiences and share them with participating countries and stakeholders.

Diffuse disruptive green business models: The innovation we are seeing in every country around the world in climate sectors is creating many new business models which not only address climate challenges but do so in a commercial manner that creates jobs and investments. The network will gather, collect, and share these successes, linking private sector firms and government entities across boundaries to facilitate this transfer.

Crowd-in global sources of finance for climate tech innovation: Both the public and private sector have shown keen interest to invest in novel climate change solutions with developing country applications. There are many barriers to such investment, however, including lack of knowledge, high transaction costs, and challenges to align different investor interests. The network will gather these sources of funding for climate innovation to channel them effectively among a pipeline of promising options.

The network also will sponsor networking events and pitch competitions, and share local and global research and resources through a virtual platform.

Over the next decade, investments in clean technology sectors in developing countries are expected to top $6.4 trillion globally, with $1.6 trillion of that market accessible to small and medium enterprises. The network can help leverage the available financing for climate solutions in local markets. In doing so, it can both diminish the stresses of climate change on vulnerable populations while improving their livelihoods with the benefits of newly introduced climate solutions.

In Asia, initial network partners include the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (Vietnam) and the Vietnam Climate Innovation Center.