The USA is the largest economy in the world and offers many opportunities for foreign organizations interested in entering the U.S. market. One fast growing market in the U.S. is clean technology. The U.S. is the single largest market for environmental technologies in the world, representing a quarter of the $1.2 trillion global market. The market is also among the fastest growing international cleantech markets.
Scott Kitcher is the CEO & President of Sustain SoCal. The organization aims to promote clean technology and economic growth. They conduct conferences, workshops and networking events to support innovation, collaboration and most of all, education.
In this interview, Mr. Kitcher sheds some light on the opportunities the U.S. market can offer cleantech companies, as well as some interesting facts about the industry in California.
To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and your experience?
Before I got into the cleantech space, I worked in finance for over 30 years in investment banking, investment management and consulting.
In 2008, I founded the company EcoFin Consulting LLC, to assist early stage and transitioning cleantech companies. In 2013, I was hired as the President & CEO of Sustain SoCal (then called CleanTech OC).
How and why was Sustain SoCal founded? What makes its mission so important?
Sustain SoCal has an important role in inspiring collaboration between various organizations in Southern California and we support broader initiatives and incubators. Sustain SoCal was founded over 10 years ago to help cleantech companies enter the market. We realized more could be done and started reaching out to different organizations to create a collective force in reaching important environmental goals.
Many cleantech companies are located in Southern California. In your opinion, what makes SoCal so unique when it comes to cleantech?
Partly because of the problems we have here, such as energy, renewables, drought, transportation and traffic. These are big problems and the community has to come up with solutions. And they have already done so, thanks to great institutions and a combination of donations and state and federal funding.
Why do you think companies should decide to invest in clean technologies? And how can companies and individuals get involved in the organization? Now more than ever, investing in clean technology can bring economic value to companies. There are a variety of energy efficient technologies, allowing companies to save money in the long run. Not to mention the impact on company image as more and more customers and shareholders are demanding clean solutions. It is a good time to let them know that you want to be responsible and take action to stop climate change. People are more aware of environmental issues, and there are also certain mandates and sustainability standards in force.
What are the biggest challenges working in Sustainability? And what is most rewarding? Working in Sustainability has been so different over the years. We are aware of all the problems that exist so the most challenging part is deciding what path to take and assessing which problems are most important. Moving forward and formulating a plan around the problems and deciding what stakeholders to bring in can also be challenging. The educational piece as well - we are close to the subject matter but the broader community is not.
Most rewarding is the process of working towards a solution with like-minded, intelligent people and seeing the results when we solve an issue.
Do you have anything more you would like to add? There are a number of international organizations, from Scandinavia for instance, that we cooperate with. They connect to us through a consulate and we help them integrate into our network. One way we do this is through large events for example in transportation, water and energy industries as well as investor events. We connect organizations with related events and aim to include them as panelists as well.
Interested in learning more about SustainSoCal? Visit their website to find out how they could help your business.
Want to know more about what opportunities the U.S. market can offer your business?
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Author: Anna Storti l May 24, 2022