There are so many cities in the world that are hoping to become the CleanTech “capitals”; there is a significant difference between the city and provincial support providing to CleanTech start-up companies. In North America, cities in Canada and the United States both have excellent opportunities to become leaders in green economy.
Here are some suggestions based on our recent survey amongst green companies in North America.
1. San Diego: We have spent several weeks in San Diego; the city is already known to be highly entrepreneurial; and has invested heavily in new ideas and technologies. This is no exception when comes to CleanTech; moreover; there are facilities available and can be transferrable for CleanTech opportunities. The city also hosts many telecommunications companies that are also supporting energy efficient technologies.
2. New York: Probably not rated by many as a good place for start-ups because of the living cost; but remember; New York is the capital centre of the world; you will be located close to many CleanTech investment firms; therefore; there is a logistical convenience factor to start up your CleanTech company here.
3. Phoenix: Interestingly; we visited Phoenix to explore some opportunities relating to “Green Data Centre”; this is a hub for such technologies; especially utilizing solar energy for IT applications. Its population is also growing; and there is no shortage of institutions supporting new start up companies here.
4. San Francisco: How can you forget San Francisco? It is a “CleanTech” hub from many angles. First are the general supports you get from fellow start-up entrepreneurs; high concentration of investment firms for CleanTech sectors; and also an unusual advantage, the San Francisco population has a high percentage of LOHAs, a segment that is supportive to clean energy.
5. San Jose: The Silicon Valley will one day become “Clean Valley” according to many investors. Our visits to several funds have seen a significant expansion of their mandate into CleanTech investments; and increasing number of CleanTech firms are also starting here; especially those relating to Green software; CleanTech websites; and energy efficiency technologies.
6. Boston: Certain a great place for CleanTech Start-ups; Boston hosts many “clusters” that supports CleanTech start-up companies; in Boston, you can receive a lot of supports from universities in the form of networks and capital investments.
7. Portland: Very well connected and supportive network for entrepreneurs in Portland; and there is no shortage of inspiring CleanTech companies based in Portland; although it may not have a big Venture Capital market as in Silicon Valley or Seattle; it is catching up.
8. Las Vegas: I have my reason to include Las Vegas in this list; I know many would disagree. Las Vegas is a good place to start your business from cost point of view; the city has been hit harder than any other cities; the Government is providing various incentives to encourage start-ups in Las Vegas. It also has a large number of solar projects underway, its climate also provides good ground for solar related industries.
9. Atlanta: As we all know, Atlanta is rising as a new economic power with strong growth in population. Importantly, Atlanta, and Georgia in general has seen significant growth in technology capability; this is achieved through growth of education sector; and therefore, facilities available from various colleges in Atlanta. A good example is its achievements in biotechnology sectors already; and this is being expanded into CleanTech sector. Additionally, Atlanta is also hosting various large-scale conferences and conventions; making it an ideal place for networking.
10. Seattle: How can I forget Seattle? You may think the rainy weather is not suitable for solar energy? This has not deterred CleanTech start up companies to call Seattle home. Once again, it is the local culture in supporting High Tech companies that has drawn a lot of entrappers to Seattle. Seattle is dominated with successful Internet Media companies; which is also a growing segment for the CleanTech industry such as Green Social Media companies or Media Agencies dedicated to the Green industry.
USA is a great place for entrepreneur despite of the current recession, when choosing your location to start up your CleanTech: always consider the following factors: Is this known to be “Innovator friendly”? Are there many universities (usually will have grants) available? Are there many restrictions in business such as tax, rental cost or access to professionals? What about financing and access to investment capital?