In collaboration with five venture capital partners, GE today pledged $10 million to find, fund and bring to market breakthrough ideas for reducing our carbon footprint from Australia & New Zealand.
GE’s first local Challenge is an open innovation competition which calls on businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and students to submit real ideas for low carbon solutions and technologies.
“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.”
The Challenge is part of GE’s global ecomagination initiative, a commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth.
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. In addition, GE and its Challenge partners will seek to pursue commercial relationships with promising Challenge entrants.
Leading Australian & New Zealand venture capital firms including Southern Cross Venture Partners, MH Carnegie & Co, Cleantech Ventures, CVC Limited and Greenhouse Cleantech are supporting the open innovation Challenge.
“Since 2005, ecomagination has delivered $106 billion in sales, including $3 billion in orders here in Australia and New Zealand - it is GE’s most successful business initiative,” said Ben Waters, director of ecomagination, GE Australia & New Zealand.
“We believe the transition to a low-carbon economy will drive significant growth in our market, ultimately spurring investment and opportunity for Australian and New Zealand businesses. 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.