Luis Aguirre
President and CEO
GreenMomentum
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View from the Top

Leading the Mexican Cleantech Revolution

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 14:12

Q: What is GreenMomentum main contribution to the Mexican clean-tech sector?
A: Energy is not a monolithic matter. The simplest division you can have in this industry is innovation, public policy and investment. But looking at these elements independently may be misguided; while companies need to continue investing in innovation, governments need to continue advancing public policy towards incentivizing, rather than inhibiting, market-driven innovation. The ambition should be to develop innovation with high market pertinence. At GreenMomentum we work with key stakeholders in both public and private sectors, always trying to properly contextualize information in a way that may lead to progress in the form of market-driven policies and innovation. In the end, we believe that when we allow ourselves to look at things from more than one perspective, it is possible to find more than one solution that aligns to all represented interests. Everything is connected. Climate Change and Energy, innovation and financing, it is all part of the same problem. We understand these relationships and that is why we consider our job to provide context and perspective to policymakers , innovators and investors.
Q: What was behind the creation of Clean-tech Challenge Mexico, the region's largest green business plan competition?
A: GreenMomentum was founded in California in 2008 as a clean-tech market intelligence firm. Driven mostly by the financial crisis of the end of last decade, we decided to start business operations in Mexico. At that point, and with support from the United Nations and the World Bank, we focused our efforts in the design and implementation of an economic competitiveness program that could assist Mexico in its efforts to overcome the financial crisis and migrate to a green economy. That economic competitiveness program, launched in February 2010, is now called Clean-tech Challenge Mexico. The main objectives were to create jobs and economic opportunities, as well as to increase the level of economic and technological sophistication in Mexico. For the first few years, Cleantech Challenge Mexico was financed by the UN, World Bank and the US government. It was not until 2014 that we started working with the private sector that we were able to identify the missing elements in the supply chain at large corporations. We began working with entrepreneurs and research centers, partnering them with potential corporate partners and investors, hoping to develop strong business relationships by uncovering immediate business opportunities.
Q: How does the P39 Clean-tech Center complement GreenMomentum’s mission?
A: P39 Clean-tech Center stands for Platform 39A, as a reference to the platform from which Apollo 11 was launched as the first successful effort to fulfill one of humanities most important dreams. Our ambition at P39 is to do just that: develop moonshot ideas in Mexico that could forever transform the way we relate to our planet. We decided it was no longer enough to promote incremental innovation, we needed to find people willing to do the work and invest in truly transformative solutions. For this to take place, we believe we need to focus on the most pressing issues affecting humanity today, such as water scarcity or climate change. Our first attempt led us to meet the people at Imaginea Energy, an innovative-thinking Canadian oil company working on “clean hydrocarbons.” This concept, which many fail to understand, really means guaranteeing the lowest carbon footprint during the exploration, extraction, production and refining of oil. Imagine if PEMEX were to adopt the technology Imaginea Energy was working on. It would mean a dramatic increase in water recovery and a massive reduction in CO2 emissions. That kind of project is representative of what we want to achieve at P39 Clean-tech Center: big problems, radical solutions, technological innovation and disruptive business models. We plan to look for real innovators, and for that we need to promote a new way of thinking by promoting that which we believe is the only thing Mexico needs to borrow from places like Boston, Tel Aviv or Silicon Valley: intellectual diversity. P39 Clean-tech Center is, in a way, the last piece of GreenMomentum’s puzzle.