Today in Sydney, GE announced a new $10 million ecomagination Challenge in Australia and New Zealand focused on supporting nascent “Low Carbon Solutions” to help reduce the countries’ carbon footprint. The Australian Challenge builds on the success of the global ecomagination Challenge and the first localized version, in China, of the open innovation contest to find and fund the best new ideas in cleantech. So far, the global Challenge has generated nearly 5,000 ideas and fostered a network of over 70,000 participants from 150+ countries across five continents since its launch in July 2010. With today’s announcement, GE seeks to bring that power of collaboration down under, where there is a burgeoning market for low carbon technologies, along with forward momentum in environmental regulation. Worldwide, the fast-growing low carbon market is worth $6 trillion.
Getting new cleantech from the lab or garage to market can be difficult, as successful commercialization and adoption of low carbon solutions often requires a level of financing and scale that is difficult for local entrepreneurs and innovators to achieve. The Australia Challenge aims to bridge this divide, with GE and its Venture Capital partners—including Southern Cross, MH Carnegie, Cleantech Ventures, Starfish Ventures and CVC Sustainable Investments—pledging $10 million in funding for cleantech start-ups and mid-stage ventures working on low carbon solutions and energy efficiency. In addition, the Challenge will present five Innovation Awards of $100,000 cash each to five winning entrants.
“GE is a big supporter of collaborative innovation,” says Steve Sargent, President and CEO, GE Australia & New Zealand. “With our scale we can take startups and new technologies to new levels, expanding markets and sharing skills to accelerate growth.”
The Low Carbon Solutions Challenge is seeking ideas for technologies, products and services across five broad categories, including clean energy generation, network efficiency, low carbon transport fuels, low carbon products, and low carbon services.
Submissions are accepted until the 30th of November, 2012, and the Challenge is open to permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand over the age of 18, as well as companies registered in either Australia or New Zealand.