Back to CESC

Fostering Cleantech Innovation Ecosystems: The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme & Network

24 May 2016

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Cleantech Open, hosted this webinar on fostering cleantech innovation ecosystems.

Following the historic Paris climate agreement in December 2015, there is growing interest in the role of clean technology entrepreneurship and innovation as an essential tool to reach these climate goals. Careful consideration must be given to the strategies for developing and strengthening the national clean energy innovation ecosystems that can support high-growth cleantech ventures. This webinar drew on the experience of the GEF, UNIDO and the Cleantech Open in creating the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme and Network (GCIP). GCIP is focused on enhancing emerging cleantech startups, growing the local entrepreneurial capacity and supporting the policy framework for innovations in small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in developing and emerging countries. The GCIP programme employs an ecosystem approach to identify the most promising innovators and entrepreneurs across a country, while a local acceleration programme supports, promotes and “de-risks” the participating enterprises and connects them to potential investors, customers and partners around the world.

The webinar provided insights drawn from the first two years of operation of GCIP and its growth to 345 supported cleantech ventures across the participating countries in four clean technology areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste to energy and water efficiency. Currently, the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme & Network includes seven participating countries (India, Malaysia, Armenia, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and Thailand), with further countries under development.

Presentations were followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.


Pradeep MongaDr. Pradeep Monga, Director of Energy Department, Special Representative of the Director General on Energy, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

An energy expert with over 30 years of working experience in the field of energy policy, strategic planning and clean energy technologies, Dr. Pradeep Monga is presently working as Director of Energy Department at United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Vienna. His primary responsibility is to provide strategic policy advice to member states on sustainable energy and industrial issues, and to lead an inter-disciplinary team of energy experts, planners and networks of international energy technology centers at UNIDO to promote technical cooperation projects and partnerships in the field of energy efficiency, renewable energy and low carbon technologies in developing countries and countries in transition.

Prior to joining UNIDO in 2001, Dr. Monga worked with UNDP for over five years, overseeing their energy and environment portfolio in India. Before starting his UN career, Dr. Monga held senior positions in the Government of India and undertook several international assignments with the World Bank, FAO and other multi/bi-lateral organizations. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Monga has been a visiting Fellow at TERI, New Delhi, and World Resources Institute, Washington DC, and he has completed the leadership and change management programme at the Harvard Business School. He is closely involved in strengthening of global partnerships and networks on energy such as UN Energy, Global Bioenergy Partnership, REEEP, REN 21, and he has been closely associated with the global initiative on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) launched by UN Secretary General at Rio + 20 in June 2012.

Dr. Monga has presented technical papers in over 45 international seminars and workshops in the field of energy, environment and sustainable development focusing on energy policies, technology transfer and capacity building issues in developing countries and economies in transition. He has several technical papers to his credit, and he has organized several global forum activities. He has co-authored three books: (1) Rural Energy Alternatives in the Hilly Areas, (2) Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development in the Himalayas and (3) Renewable Energy and Environment: A Policy Analysis for India. He is working on his fourth book, Renewable Energy for Industrial Applications: A Case Study of India.

Gerswynn MckuurGerswynn Mckuur, National Project Manager – Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa

Gerswynn Mckuur manages the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa (GCIP-SA), a partnership between Technology Innovation Agency, UNIDO and the GEF. This programme aims to spur South African innovations in Clean Technology in order to strengthen the Cleantech Innovation ecosystem in South Africa. Through the programme over the past two years, 52 startups and SMEs have been supported, with training, mentoring and showcasing opportunities.

From 2010 to 2014, he led the Industrial Energy Improvement Project in South Africa at the National Cleaner Production Centre of SA (NCPC-SA) in partnership with UNIDO, an initiative designed to help transform industry energy usage patterns—helping them adopt a more systematic and holistic approach to energy management through Energy Management Systems (EnMS), Energy Systems Optimisation (ESO) and ISO 50001, within their organisations.

Gerswynn holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town. He has previously served as the Chairman of the Board of the Measurement and Verification Professionals Council of South Africa (MVCSA), and he serves on the South African Bureau of Standards Committee on Energy Management (TC242).

Kevin BraithwaiteKevin Braithwaite, Vice President, Global Programs, Cleantech Open

Kevin is the Vice President of Global Programs for the Cleantech Open, where he is responsible for international expansion and for all operations outside the United States. He works closely with international agencies, governments, investors and corporations to launch new Cleantech Open accelerators and programs around the world. Kevin leads the Cleantech Open’s partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to launch cleantech accelerators around the world through the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme and Network (GCIP). In addition, Kevin is the Chair of Cleantech Open Global Ideas, an annual global venture competition to find the most promising cleantech entrepreneurs on the planet, held in conjunction with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). Kevin has founded and built a number of companies, encompassing both service and product based ventures in multiple technology sectors. He has been a valued advisor to early stage technology investors, startups, incubators, corporations, and universities in many countries. For a number of years, he worked with the venture incubator at the University of Cambridge, where he mentored, trained and supported a wide range of entrepreneurs. Kevin holds an Executive MBA from London Business School and has worked with cleantech entrepreneurs from over 46 countries.

The Cleantech Open is a not-for-profit organization that runs the world’s largest accelerator for cleantech startups. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. Since its founding in 2005 by leaders in Silicon Valley and Boston, the organization has established itself as a leading force for accelerating clean technology entrepreneurs. Of the over 1,000 companies that the Cleantech Open has worked with in the United States alone, nearly half have gone on to raise external capital now totaling over one billion dollars.

Dave Lello Dave Lello

Dave Lello started his business life as an IT specialist, but after starting his first full time venture in 1990 became a serial entrepreneur. Over the last 25 years, he has started among other things a software company, a property development company and wine estate and a clean energy business. He has also done some turnarounds for distressed businesses. He believes that if a good idea is nurtured and looked after, it develops a life of its own and can grow into an organization that can challenge the status quo and satisfy the market needs of the day. He maintains that people are the heart of any business and that brilliant ideas can only grow into great products if the right mix of people exists.