Taking what he describes as a broad view of cleantech, the CEO of Climate-KIC Australia, Christopher Lee, is encouraging Australians with climate-positive tech ideas to apply for its national ClimateLaunchpad competition.
Part competition, part business program – how it works is Australians with a cleantech startup concept apply by sending in a short description of their business idea and what technology they are looking at. Climate-KIC Australia, which is a sister organisation of Europe’s Climate-KIC funded by the European Union, then selects around 40 teams to proceed into its program, which includes a three day bootcamp in capital cities across the country built around developing pitch decks and customer offerings.
“We don’t shy away from it, it’s a business competition,” Lee told pv magazine Australia. After this process, finalists are selected and mentored before a state-based final, followed by a national final. The winner of which will be awarded a $50,000 grant put forward by Humanitech, a think+do tank established by the Australian Red Cross in partnership with Telstra.
Winner will then proceed to the global finals, in which over 50 different countries last year took part (virtually, of course).
“Our motivation as the Australian Red Cross is to have that impact perspective in the use of technology,” Alastair Pryor, Humanitech’s Lab Manager, told pv magazine Australia. “The power and impact we can create out of something like this really demonstrates to the sector, and also to state and federal governments, that this is achievable – that cross sector approach.”
The program itself is a global offering and is operated the same everywhere, from its birthplace in Europe through to Australia, Southeast Asia and Africa where it runs today. In Australia, it’s funded by the Commonwealth government’s incubator program, making it entirely free for participants to take part in, granted their applications are accepted.
The program is focused on developing early-stage ideas – for instance, applicants can’t have already starting selling their products to customers. Though the competition isn’t looking for any particular kind of cleantech, Lee said once it get into the evaluation stages aspects like viability, climate impact, social impact, and team strength will all be part of the criteria.
“Our mission is to drive systemic change,” Lee says.
For Humanitech’s Alastair Pryor, the key is “supporting and identifying technologies that have impact and result, beyond just commercial viability. We want to see technology that is scaleable,” he said, adding that Humanitech already has funding allocated to help successful finalists scale their concept.
Previous Australian ClimateLaunchpad program participants include green shopping app Greener, organic waste recycler Localcycle, circular economy consultants Coreo, solar thermal PV tech company Sunovate and sodium-ion battery builders Elevenstore.
“If you have an emerging tech idea to tackle climate change then we want to help you get it off the ground,” Lee said.
Applications for this year’s competition are now open and close on April 22. Participation in the program is completely free of charge. You can apply here.
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