The World Bank Group's Climate Technology Program reviewed recent literature and 14 case studies of public programs that aimed to support green technology entrepreneurs. The most successful public programs shared the following characteristics:
- They placed the entrepreneur at the center of the innovation process.
- They sought to cement peer-to-peer connections at the local level (e.g., by establishing networks of entrepreneurs).
- They helped entrepreneurs connect to supranational networks and technology brokering platforms at the global level.
Under the traditional invention-based approach to innovation, enterprises invest heavily in research and development (R&D) to become the first to develop and commercialize new ideas. However, this approach is particularly challenging in developing countries, given the high costs and weak intellectual property protection.
An innovation strategy based on technology absorption and the adaptation of existing business models may offer a less capital- and time-intensive pathway to help green firms grow in developing countries. This “open innovation” model is driven by social networks of entrepreneurs at both the local and global levels. The model builds connections with stakeholders in the innovation process (such as firms, financiers, and potential clients) with the goal of developing products or services that are directly attuned to market demand.
To learn more about the "open innovation" model and review the 14 case studies, read "Connecting Green Technology Entrepreneurs: Implications for Public Program Design."