In Brief Series: L...

In Brief Series: Lessons on Green Business Incubation

infoDev's Climate Technology Program (CTP) focuses on the growing opportunities of the clean technology sector in developing countries. Through a global network of seven Climate Innovation Centers (CICs), the program provides local entrepreneurs with the knowledge, capital, and access to markets required to launch and scale their innovative business solutions to climate change.

"CTP In Brief" is a series of knowledge briefs highlighting important aspects of the CTP global and in-country operations and research. These notes provide lessons on the CIC model and network, analysis of climate technology innovation and deployment challenges, and practical insights aimed at development partners, policy makers, and other stakeholders supporting similar green entrepreneurship programs.

In Brief Number 1

Crowdfunding for Green Businesses: Lessons from East African Startups

Crowdfunding offers a new alternative to address the financing needs of capital-intensive clean technology businesses in developing countries. To better understand crowdfunding’s potential and limitations, the World Bank Group’s Climate Technology Program interviewed a number of East African entrepreneurs who were early adopters of this new fundraising mechanism. From their successes and failures, key lessons were drawn for entrepreneurs, investors, and regulators.

In Brief Number 2

The Kenya Climate Innovation Center: How it Operates and Lessons for Clean Technology Incubation

The Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) is a clean technology business incubation center established by the World Bank Group’s Climate Technology Program to support Kenya’s green enterprises. Launched in 2012, the KCIC was the first ever climate innovation center (CIC) to be established under the program. This brief shares the KCIC’s operating model as it has evolved after four years of operations and reflects on the lessons for similar clean technology incubation centers that can be drawn from the KCIC experience.

In Brief Number 3

Connecting Green Technology Entrepreneurs: Implications for Public Program Design

What is the role that connections can play in helping green entrepreneurs innovate and scale in developing countries? Based on a review of recent literature and 14 case studies of different programs, public programs should: (i) place the entrepreneur at the center of the innovation process; (ii) seek to cement peer-to-peer connections at the local level (e.g. by setting up networks of entrepreneurs); and (iii) help entrepreneurs to connect to supra-national networks and technology brokering platforms at the global level.

In Brief Number 4

Adapting Global Entrepreneurship Acceleration Models to Clean Tech in Developing Countries

In Ghana, the World Bank Group is showing that a business development model that grew out of Silicon Valley can be applied to clean technology business incubation in developing countries. A business “accelerator” exercise brought together a cohort of seven competitively selected firms as part of the new Ghana Climate Innovation Center. Lessons learned from this project are being applied across the World Bank’s network of seven Climate Innovation Centers and can provide guidance to any effort supporting innovation of new commercial solutions and businesses that address climate challenges in developing countries.

In Brief Number 5

Bringing Climate Opportunities to Entrepreneurs: Lessons Learned from the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center

The Caribbean Climate Innovation Center was launched in January 2014 to help local companies build their businesses in climate-related sectors. In a region with great vulnerability to climate change—and very high energy costs—new clean technologies hold tremendous promise. This In Brief draws lessons from the center’s operation, focusing on how the idea generation sessions were essential to seed local companies with climate related business opportunities and introduce new ideas to local climate markets.

In Brief Number 6

Creating a Hub, Creating a Buzz: How to Attract the Best and Brightest for Climate Innovation in Developing Countries

As activity ramps up in climate innovation for developing countries, organizations are finding that attracting quality talent and companies to such efforts is both a key success factor and one of the most intractable challenges in nascent clean tech sectors. Boosting the profile of an organization that supports climate innovation greatly helps draw the diverse sources of expertise needed to enable bottom-up climate solutions. This brief examines lessons from the World Bank’s seven Climate Innovation Centers on setting up buzzworthy hubs to attract top talent and companies in emerging clean tech markets.

In Brief Number 7

Designing an Innovative Financing Model for Early Stage Clean Technology Companies: Kenya Climate Ventures

A great number of clean energy, water supply, and climate-smart agriculture business models are emerging to address climate challenges in developing countries. While encouraging, many of these businesses lack the access to appropriate early stage patient and risk financing, as well as bespoke post-investment business support to further validate their business models and scale up. To bridge the financing gap for such promising startups, the World Bank Group’s Climate Technology Program (CTP) has designed and launched the Kenya Climate Ventures (KCV). This In-brief examines the KCV design to inform similar efforts addressing the ‘financing gap’ for climate innovation in developing countries.

In Brief Number 8

Can Outcome-Based Financing Catalyze Early Stage Investments in Green Small and Growing Businesses? Lessons from South Africa

Access to appropriate financing is often cited as one of the biggest challenges to scaling small businesses. This is a particularly critical problem in climate-related sectors, where risks are perceived as higher by many potential investors. In South Africa, the World Bank Group’s Climate Technology Program, together with GreenCape, the Bertha Centre at University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, and the World Wide Fund for Nature - South Africa (WWF-SA), is testing an innovative, outcome-based funding mechanism — the Green Outcomes Funds (GOF) — to de-risk investments in promising green small and growing businesses.

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