A major opportunity for three of the UK's most innovative environmental entrepreneurs to get first class support and access to millions of pounds was launched this week – as former Dragons' Den entrepreneur James Caan signalled his belief that green business is a key investment opportunity for the future.
Caan, CEO of private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw, put his name and his expertise behind the Berti Green Accelerator, which links his growing interest in impact investment with the strong growth potential of the renewable energy and low-carbon business sector.
Whilst UK economic growth has substantially slowed since 2008, venture capital investment into the UK's cleantech sector increased in 2011 for the sixth year in a row, to over £350m, according to Cleantech Group LLC.
The Berti Green Accelerator programme, supported by Caan's Hamilton Bradshaw Impact Partners (HBIP), hopes to further stimulate this growth by searching for three successful low carbon businesses to award six months of first-class business support from HBIP and the opportunity to receive investment of up to £1m from Berti Investments
The programme was developed by Berti Investments and HBIP following a shared commitment to making a difference through impact investing.
Caan said: ‘The impact investing market place is growing, but many entrepreneurs struggle to become investment ready due to lack of experience or knowledge about certain aspects of their business, such as financial or operational know-how. The Berti Green Accelerator programme tackles this by blending bespoke business support with access to capital. It’s what we call intelligent capital.'
Shortlisted candidates will pitch to a Dragons’ Den style panel of judges. Alongside Caan will sit Jeremy Leggett (founder and chairman of Solarcentury), Michael Liebreich (founder and chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance) and Jacques Tredoux (Berti Investments).
The Berti Green Accelerator programme is open to any conceptually good, low carbon UK business with growth potential and a proof of concept. The three successful businesses will have to demonstrate that their business aims to tackle climate change by sustainably reducing carbon emissions.
Leggett, one of the UK’s most successful green entrepreneurs, believes that significant opportunities lie ahead for green entrepreneurs. ‘Renewable and energy efficiency technologies will have to replace fossil fuels far faster than most people currently anticipate,' he said. 'In the UK, we have the potential to source all of our primary energy from renewables, such and solar photovolataics, wind and marine technologies. But to do this we need an explosive growth in all renewable and energy efficient technology markets.
‘The UK needs fast-growing domestic renewable energy businesses more than ever, and programmes like the Berti Green Accelerator, that provide investment and support for cleantech businesses, are vital for encouraging growth and stimulating this sector.’
Applications for the programme are now open with a closing date of 17th April 2012. Click for more
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