Collaboration: The key to creating a sustainable energy future

September 25, 2015

by Elena Bou, Innovation Director, KIC InnoEnergy  

It can sometimes feel like entrepreneurs and the energy industry inhabit very different worlds. Entrepreneurs are posing the right questions and seeking answers to solve society’s challenges. The energy industry, on the other hand, recognises the imperative to innovate, but at the same time is under pressure to increase profits and avoid risk.

Yet whilst they might be at opposite ends of the scale, entrepreneurs and energy companies are entirely complementary. After all, business creation is all about ‘super teams’ that combine the right competencies, skills and contacts to turn a really good idea into a commercial reality.

Entrepreneurs bring the creative thought, they are agile, flexible and talented, but they need help with tech development, funding and to find their first customer. Because as we all know, proof of concept happens in the market, not in the lab.

For their part, energy companies own the customer base, expertise and resources to introduce innovations into the market place. It’s the perfect match. Not only that, but this collaboration between companies large and small is the key to creating a sustainable energy future and finding solutions to the complex energy challenges we face such as the intermittence of renewables, limitations of storage solutions, securing the supply of energy, and decreasing GHG emissions to name but a few. No one individual or company can tackle these complex challenges Europe faces alone. Success underpinned by the development of sustainable energy solutions, will come from everyone working together.

Finding these partnerships isn’t always easy: entrepreneurs don’t know where to connect with the right industry partners and energy companies don’t know how to identify the start-ups that have the answer to their problems and with the most potential for commercial returns. That’s where KIC InnoEnergy comes in. As the hub for Europe’s brightest start-ups, we’re helping small and large companies join forces as they seek to tackle the same common goal: a better tomorrow.

This is a key part of our mission, and it’s exactly why we created The Business Booster: the event where innovative entrepreneurs meet industry to explore future collaboration and create a sustainable future. This year it is being held in Berlin, with a focus on looking at how the only limits to innovation in the energy industry are those imposed by our minds. Whether you are from the energy industry, or from an industry interested in energy solutions, a VC or a start-up, this event can benefit you because it’s all about industry-wide collaboration for the pursuit of a sustainable future.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to seize, so let’s seize it together.