Cleantech (Open) at the tipping point
By many accounts, cleantech is at the tipping point. Wind and solar have already become the most economical source of electricity in many markets, competing head on head with traditional fossil sources. Batteries will soon reach a similar threshold. And other clean technologies are not far behind. Clean technologies are coming of age as we approach one tipping point after another. Beyond the tipping point—rapid, mainstream deployment that will build a new 21st century economic infrastructure, all driven by the power of markets.
Now in our 11th year, Cleantech Open has been a witness to, and participant in, this breathtaking evolution. We were founded in 2005 by members of the MIT Venture Forum of Northern California as the California Cleantech Open. Modeled on the original (bragging rights noted!) Ignite Clean Energy competition at MIT, the Cleantech Open gained solid traction in its early years, expanding first to Seattle and Denver, then to Minneapolis and Chicago. In 2009, we became a national organization through a merger between the California Cleantech Open in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Ignite Clean Energy competition in Boston. And recent years, we’ve have seen expansion in DC and Atlanta in our Southeast Region; and in Dallas, Houston, and New Orleans in the South Central Region. Cleantech Open is now a truly national organization with strong or growing presence across 8 US Regions.
And, increasingly, Cleantech Open is a global program. In 2007, Cleantech Open joined the Kaufmann Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurship Week with its Global Ideas Competition, a cleantech competition that is active in over 20 countries every year. And in 2014, we joined forces with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility (GEF), to form the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme, a collaboration deploying full acceleration services, now in 8 emerging markets around the globe—South Africa, Turkey, Armenia, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Thailand, and Morocco—and growing.
Cleantech as an industry has matured, and so has the Cleantech Open. Our mission-driven, volunteer-based, non-profit model continues to deliver value to our many participants and stakeholders—over 1,300 alumni companies, some 1,000 volunteers, and hundreds of partners across many cleantech innovation clusters around the globe.
As we wrap up our 11th year with the upcoming Cleantech Week and Global Forum, I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every member of the Cleantech Open’s global network and community. You are creating real value for the cleantech startups you serve. Together we are building a future we can get excited about—an economy that supports and fosters both thriving communities and abundant and healthy ecosystems.
By Cleantech Open on in Posts