Last Friday saw the launch of 'Cambridge Cleantech' at the great new lecture hall at the redeveloped Cambridge campus of Anglia Ruskin University. The turnout was impressive: 300+ attendees at 07:30 in the morning is quite an achievement for any event. The success of this launch event - bringing together investors, entrepreneurs and academics - did seem to point to the notion that a network dedicated to clean tech in the Greater Cambridge (broadly defined) could be bang on the money. But why has this only happened now?
Some prior attempts at bringing together 'green' companies have been more publicly-funded push activities, with limited private sector, business-driven pull, and hence lacked market traction.
There has also been the dilemma of the 'C-word'. While 'Cambridge' is a superb national and international brand, using it (even in its broader 'Greater Cambridge' version) to represent a region that stretches from Bedford to Ipswich, and King's Lynn to Harlow has, for some, stretched both the brand and the patience of those far from Cambridge.
And this is why a network - leveraging the power of the Cambridge brand for regional benefit - that represents and lobbies on behalf of this diverse range of organisations, facilitates value-adding connections between these firms, and supports the development of its members is so timely and important.