INNEON project launched!
Feb 6th, 2014 |
The new project has been launched in February 2014 to establish a network of investors of eco-innovations (INNEON) funded by European Commission. The objective of the project is to accelerate the development and expand European sources that focus on financing eco-innovative companies. EWP and several INNOWATER partners are project partners in the consortium. In parallel, EWP will continue working with an impact fund manager from Frankfurt in setting up a European Water Fund that will support SME‘s along the water value chain that offer innovative technologies and smart application/business models. The fund of 50 mln EURO is particularly targeted to SME’s in the water sector working in the nexus of water, food and energy.
One of the main barriers for ‘Green Business’ to grow remains the access to finances for eco-friendly companies. Financiers and investors tend to use the same investment rationale for eco-innovative companies as for any other company, without accounting for the added environmental value. As eco-innovation is not a sector per se, any type of innovation can be eco-innovation if the environmental benefits can be demonstrated. The challenge is to present a proposition for eco-innovative ideas that is of interest for investors based on three main features:
- Relevant IPR
- Potential large markets to purchase the innovation
- Adequate entrepreneurial skills
The lack of adequate preparation of eco-SMEs and entrepreneurs to be attractive for financiers and investors in one of the key challenges that they face when seeking to access either public or private financing. It is therefore important to validate the ‘investment readiness’ as early as possible in their business development cycle.
Last but not least, past growth of investment in green technologies has come mainly from renewable energy projects. The commercial viability of such projects is mostly based on favorable regulations which may bring market distortions. Sudden changes in regulation may seriously harm SMEs that are active in this sector and presents uncertainty to the investor community – especially those who are considering to invest in eco-innovative companies for the first time.