New pan-Commonwealth network will link environmental entrepreneurs and companies with international investors

London, 15 March 2013: A new Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (CEIP) has been formally launched to support low carbon economic growth across the 54 Commonwealth nations.

CEIP was launched at a VIP reception at the Royal Commonwealth Society last night as part of Commonwealth Week. It is designed to assist environmental SMEs in Commonwealth nations share knowledge, increase international awareness and facilitate trade and investment in environmental and sustainable technologies. Regional CEIP hubs will provide a structured investment network to support Commonwealth businesses which are seeking either early stage venture capital investment or the support of business angels. CEIP will also allow companies to share needs and opportunities with partners, trade contacts and interested parties in other Commonwealth countries.

In addition, as several Commonwealth countries are also in need of climate change mitigation technologies, CEIP will assist in identifying possible market opportunities for businesses that specialise in this sector, with a particular focus on SMEs.

CEIP has been developed in alliance between the Royal Commonwealth Society and Forbury Investment Network, which is operated by Clarkslegal LLP. It has already established regional hubs in Canada, England, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa (Cape Town and Durban) and Wales. Further hubs are planned in the near future.  

His Excellency Gordon Campbell, High Commissioner of Canada to the UK, who launched the CEIP, said:

“Enterprise has driven us forward inevitably with something new.

“If we can actually take these networks and take these hubs and create a new way of working together, a new way of responding to the challenges we face, we will create not just environmental improvements, but we will create exceptional economic opportunities in a broad range of countries all around the world.

“There’s nothing more powerful than an idea that’s been given life through enterprise”

Michael Sippitt, Chairman of the CEIP, explained the vision for the Platform:

“The tremendous challenges facing many developing countries can only be met by rapidly improving the flow of transformative technologies and increased enterprise. The Commonwealth theme this year is ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’, and the rapid growth of so many emerging economies means the opportunities for trade and investment across the Commonwealth have never been better.

“The Commonwealth is an incredible platform to facilitate enterprise, built on long historic ties, common values, language and legal frameworks. We are honoured to be working with the Royal Commonwealth Society in this exciting and important initiative.

“Enterprise is the engine of all human progress, and is the means to address the challenges of our time. The CEIP is about environmental enterprise and the enabling of sustainable innovation."

Also speaking at the launch reception, Dr Chimereze Chima, Operator of the Ghana and Nigeria CEIP hubs explained the advantages CEIP can bring to Africa:

“From a Nigeria and Ghana context, the local opportunities available within the environmental technology sector are to truly maximise the potential for both countries to make the transition from old debt, inefficient technologies to technical innovations that will provide economic, sustainable growth.”

Delegates at the VIP reception hosted jointly by The Royal Commonwealth Society and Forbury Investment Network, on 14 March 2013 included the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth High Commissioners, representatives of the UK Government and members of the business and investor community.

Catherine Clark, Deputy Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, adds how pleased the Society is for establishing such a platform across the Commonwealth:

“This year, the Commonwealth will celebrate ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’ and will explore how citizens across the Commonwealth use innovation and creative thinking to improve lives and create opportunities. The Royal Commonwealth Society is proud to be a partner in the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform; a project which embodies the theme by creating opportunities for innovate green businesses. Following its initial success, we hope that the project will continue to grow and develop in all regions of the Commonwealth.”