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This programme ran from 2013 through 2018 and focused on enhancing both emerging cleantech startups in each country and the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and policy framework. A competition-based approach was used to identify the most promising entrepreneurs across each country, whilst a local acceleration programme supported, promoted, and “de-risked” the participating companies and connected them to potential investors, customers and partners. As the best cleantech startups progressed through the Cleantech Platform, they were continuously trained, mentored and assessed. The very best startups from each country were brought together for the finals of the Global Competition in California, where they competed for the Global Prize and connected with potential partners, customers and investors from around the world.

Each country leveraged $1 to $2m in funding from the Global Environment Facility matched by $2m to $6m+ in co-financing (including in-kind) from in-country public and private sector partners. The programme in each country was led by a local executing partner, supported by local stakeholders and advisors. An integral part of this programme was the development of the institutional capacity of local implementing partners, which were typically government agencies focused on SME development, clean technology, and innovation. Furthermore, this programme sought to reinforce, strengthen, and connect existing in-country initiatives rather than duplicate existing activities.