Dublin and Silicon Valley clean-tech clusters to team up

12 Mar 2012

A major clean-tech agreement between Dublin’s clean-tech cluster The Green Way and San Jose’s Environmental Business Cluster has just been signed in Silicon Valley. The aim of the link-up is to support the growth of Dublin and Silicon Valley clean-tech companies, coupled with helping to spawn job opportunities in the sector in both cities.

An Irish delegation lead by Dublin’s Lord Mayor Andrew Montague is currently in San Jose to ink the clean-tech agreement between the two cities.

It’s hoped that the agreement between the Green Way – Dublin’s Cleantech Cluster and the Environmental Business Cluster (EBC) in San Jose will lead to a dramatic increase in R&D, business development, commercialisation and investment opportunities for both Irish and San Jose companies looking to access US and EU clean-tech markets respectively. 

Ireland’s clean-tech spurt

Here on Irish soil, the clean-tech sector appears to be on a rapid ascent. According to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the sector currently employs 18,750 people in Ireland and is worth over €3bn to the economy. It also predicts that this employment figure is set to rise to 29,000 by 2015. Ireland is currently ranked ninth in the Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2012. The Index indicated that Ireland scored in the top 10 based on the evidence of commercialised clean-tech innovation.

Speaking in San Jose today, Tony Boyle, CEO of The Green Way, said that the signing of the agreement is a concrete example of Ireland’s mission to create jobs and international trade opportunities for Dublin clean-tech companies, as well as attracting the next generation of clean-tech companies from Silicon Valley into Ireland. 

He spoke about how the EBC, alongside its sister BioCenter facility, is responsible for the largest and most successful private incubator programme for clean-tech companies in the US. 

“This bilateral agreement will now offer Irish clean-tech companies access to this ecosystem, and enhance Ireland’s standing internationally in this rapidly growing industry,” added Boyle.

Accessing global clean-tech markets

Melinda Richter, CEO of Prescience International and the executive director of the EBC and the San Jose BioCenter, said that one of the key objectives of the EBC is to provide Silicon Valley clean-tech companies with access to global markets including the EU.

“This agreement with The Green Way will facilitate the linkage of San Jose companies with Dublin’s clean-tech cluster and leverage the involvement of Dublin Academic institutions, municipal authorities, the international airport and the business community, in their efforts to commercialise their technology for European markets,” she said.

Irish firm Cylon

Seán Giblin, who leads the Dublin-based clean-tech company Cylon within The Green Way, said that the link between The Green Way and the EBC would align with the growth strategy for his firm, particularly in the US.

“We have recently expanded into the US and are looking at ways to establish a footprint in Silicon Valley and gain access to the clean-tech markets, investors and technology partners there.  This agreement will directly facilitate our goals, and those of other Irish clean-tech companies,” explained Giblin.

Making Dublin Europe’s clean-tech capital

Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague, who is leading the Dublin ’sister city’ delegation, said that today’s agreement is the first step in establishing a strong working clean-tech partnership between Dublin and San Jose.

He said that Dublin’s longstanding relationship with San Jose has been key to the growth of the ICT sector in Ireland.

“This new agreement will deepen the practical links for the clean-tech sector, and is fundamental to our objective to make Dublin the clean-tech capital of Europe.  It creates an open invitation and opportunity for companies in both countries to work together to create business and economic partnerships for generations to come,” said Montague.

Dublin already has a similar clean-tech twinning arrangement with Beijing. The Green Way is also seeking to forge bilateral links with Beijing peer organisations in the clean-tech sector.

The Green Way itself was founded in Dublin in 2010 when a number of key regional stakeholders decided to collaborate in order to encourage green economic growth. The founding partners of The Green Way included Dublin Airport Authority, Fingal County Council, Dublin City Council, Ballymun Regeneration, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology and North Dublin Chamber.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic