Last night (28 June), Bird & Bird hosted a conference organised by Ecoconnect entitled “Cleantech Entrepreneurship: Getting it right”. The conference, held at our London offices, was attended by just under 100 top funding executives, entrepreneurs, leading innovators and opinion leaders driving the development of green industry policy, technologies and investment in this rapidly developing market.
The evening took the form of a question and answer session moderated by Bird & Bird corporate and energy partner Matt Bonass and led by a panel of speakers, including: Hugh Parnell, Chairman of Envirotech Ltd and co-founder of Cambridge Energy; Tom Pakenham, CEO at Green Tomato Energy Ltd, an environmentally friendly private transport hire service based in London; Mike Bowman, a partner at venture capital investor E-Synergy; and Katharine Stephens, Bird & Bird partner and joint head of intellectual property in the UK.
Topics discussed included whether the UK was fit for purpose as a hub for investment in clean technology, what Government and business support there was and should be for low carbon innovation business, how cleantech companies can get to market more quickly and how they should address in a practical manner the protection and commercialisation of intellectual property. The discussions were followed by a networking session which carried on late into the evening.
Matt Bonass commented: “My colleague Michael Rudd and I have known Ecoconnect and Robert Hokin for some years. We were delighted to bring this very well respected monthly conference to Bird & Bird's offices and to have the opportunity to invite a large number of our clients and contacts to join the debate. Clearly it is vital to develop further the mechanisms for encouraging cleantech entrepreneurship in the UK to ensure that the market here remains competitive. We would hope that new initiatives such as the Green Investment Bank, the Green Deal and the introduction of the renewable heat incentive in the UK will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to build businesses to take best advantage of these measures.”
Katharine Stephens commented “We had a lively and wide ranging discussion. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to address some of the myths surrounding intellectual property and to champion patent protection as a driver of innovation and growth in the cleantech sector.”