The world’s largest supplier to the energy industry, GE, is teaming up with five local venture capital funds to identify and help fund breakthrough ideas from Australia and New Zealand for reducing carbon emissions.
The initiative is the first local version of GE’s ecomagination challenge, which invites entries from businesses, innovators and students for ideas on low carbon solutions and technologies.
The $10 million will be invested in the five winners to help bring their ideas or products to commercialization. The VC funds involved in the program are Southern Cross Venture Partners, MH Carnegie & Co, Cleantech Ventures, CVC and Greenhouse Cleantech.
“GE is a big supporter of collaborative innovation. With our scale we can take start-ups and new technologies to new levels, expanding markets and sharing skills to accelerate growth,” said Steve Sargent, President and CEO, GE Australia & New Zealand. “Australia and New Zealand have bipartisan national targets for renewable energy generation and greenhouse gas reduction, and are both strong markets for great technology that can compete on the world stage.
“So, we believe it’s the right time and the right place for our ecomagination Challenge to uncover and invest in technologies that will help us shift to a low carbon economy.”
Selection of five $100,000 Innovation Award winners will be based on the most progressive ideas that represent entrepreneurship and innovation around technologies, processes and business models. GE and the VC funds will pursue commercial relationships with promising Challenge entrants.
Ben Waters, director of ecomagination, GE Australia & New Zealand, said the transition to a low-carbon economy will drive significant growth in the cleantech market. “There has been great Australasian innovation in clean technologies but the big challenge has been in bringing these to market.”
The Challenge will be open for submissions over three months between 21 August and 30 November 2012. GE will announce the five winners of the Innovation Awards in early 2013. Ideas can be submitted here.