Interview with Climate-KIC’s Frans Nauta about the CleanLaunchpad Finale

CleanLaunchpad’s Grand Finale in Valencia was a big success. As Deputy Director Entrepreneurship, how do you look back on the event?

It was overwhelming to get a glimpse of Europe’s cleantech innovation future. The event was extremely successful, we achieved more than the goals we had set. The ideas and teams were very professional; picking three winners was almost a mission impossible for our judges. We ended up giving seven finalists a spot in the 18-month Accelerator program, where these cleantech entrepreneurs will fast-track their businesses. We proudly welcome them aboard.


You granted seven finalists access to Accelerator, why was that?

The quality and professionalism of the ideas and teams was beyond our expectations. A breath taking variety of ideas, markets and technologies. All with potentially big impact on climate change and most mature enough to turn into viable businesses. To give you an example: OR-KESS is an idea that uses a flywheel for energy storage. The really smart part is that it moves within a magnetic field, keeping operational and maintenance costs extremely low.


Any wise words for the winners?

The winners will get plenty of wise words once they start Accelerator. I’d like to tell all other contestants to keep going. Don’t be discouraged, believe in your own ideas and always look for a way forward. Google pitched their idea at least a hundred times before gaining momentum. It’s part of innovation. You work on new ideas that people don’t immediately understand. It is your job to refine your ideas ánd your pitch. To all CleanLaunchpad semi-finalists: apply for the Accelerator program.


Why is CleanLaunchpad important to Climate Change?

We need loads of ideas to be able to have a significant impact on climate change. CleanLaunchpad gets us in touch with those ideas that are in the pre-Accelerator stage. For start-ups CleanLaunchpad provides a platform to prove their ideas end train their skills, it is a way to speed things up.


When is the next edition of CleanLaunchpad?

We’re already preparing CleanLaunchpad 2015. Don’t miss it, subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll keep you informed on dates and details. We aim for twenty participating countries next year. We had an excellent team of coaches and trainers this year. Thank you all for your great work and together let’s make 2015 an even bigger success.


And to all of you out there working on cleantech ideas: may the odds be ever in your favour. See you next year!

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