< Go Back

Startup Discovery: Disruption in Climate Change

Purpose-driven Entrepreneurship and Climate Change Startups

from the World Benchmark Report 2019 – 2020

Unless there is hope, no one takes it upon themselves to address catastrophic situations such as climate change. Global concerns such as climate change spark innovation by the most innovative people on earth, who believe they can find the tools and technology that can make an impact. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, especially when it comes to addressing issues such as climate change and the environment. This article will highlight purpose-driven entrepreneurship from the World Benchmark Report 2019 – 2020, including climate change startups about to disrupt the world.

save the earth

What is Purpose-driven entrepreneurship?

A key trend in innovation around the world is purpose-driven entrepreneurship. In fact, the WBR19/20 states –

“Trying to cater to the demands of a new kind of entrepreneur that wants to ‘do well by doing good,’ entire programs have shifted to support impact-driven entrepreneurship.”

Some programs have customized their service offerings specifically for budding social entrepreneurs, becoming an anchor to positively influence the development of new technologies tempered by market mechanisms and various other challenges.

What is the World Benchmark Study?

The World Benchmark Study, now in its fifth iteration, is an in-depth look into the operations of business incubators and accelerators around the world. The study includes data provided by university-linked, public, private, and corporate programs seeking knowledge about themselves and their peers. One thing that stands out about the UBI Global community – our members love to share future-forward best practices and success stories on how to overcome the challenges faced in their particular market.


What is the World Benchmark Report?

The World Benchmark Report 2019 – 2020 is an enlightening document that highlights the key findings from the World Benchmark Study. Think of the WBR19/20 as the narrow end of the funnel of information about programs and startups from all over the world. Incubators and accelerators of all sizes, in all types of markets, and with affiliations that ranged from university-led to public, private, and corporate supported programs are included in this exciting group. The WBR19/20 gives a picture of the data as well as offering insightful key takeaways derived from the global innovation community.

Download the World Benchmark Report 2019 – 2020 here!

Why Place Focus on Startups?

Diving into the startup companies impressive enough to be mentioned specifically by the benchmarked programs in the study is a natural fit. Value for client startups is just one portion of how a program is benchmarked. The underlying portfolio of knowledge and services offered by the benchmarked programs contributes to the global innovation ecosystem – and these are just a few of the startups making an impact.

Sustainable Development Goals and the Benchmarked Programs

This iteration of the World Benchmark Study included a special look of the programs helping to address the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the benchmarked programs, nearly half of them responded with detailed information on social incubation or acceleration related data. Client startups focused on Climate Change were reported by 23 percent of the benchmarked programs as an SDG-focused area of innovation.

Who are the programs?

With a global sample of amazing innovation to study, it was difficult to narrow down the programs and startups to focus on for this series of articles. After pinpointing the incubators and accelerators reporting climate change startups, we reached out to them for further details. While they are by no means the only climate change-focused startups being nurtured in our community, they are the most interesting and have the most potential to make an impact on our planet.

Program: EnergySpin

Program: EnergySpin 

Type: Accelerator

Focus: Energy Solutions

Client Startups Focused on Climate Change: 30%

Location: Finland

Focused on energy solutions, EnergySpin is a multi-corporate business accelerator located in the Vaasa region of Finland. The program operates two 10-week scale-up programs per year that includes 10 startup clients. Offering a portfolio that includes business support and scale-up services, EnergySpin looks for startups focused on problem-solving and industry transformation and reports that climate-focused startups account for 30 percent of their clients.

Startup Discovery: 21TDMC

Tackling the problem of waste energy, 21TDMC has developed thermodynamics that radically changes the power efficiency from everything from lawnmowers to nuclear power plants. Consider that only 12 percent of consumed fuel goes directly to its purpose – transportation, heating and cooling, street lighting, etc. – increasing efficiency with sustainable technology is a game-changing innovation.

More EnergySpin Startup Discovery: 

Instagrid, a mobile battery innovator that recently secured 8.5 million Euro in series-A funding.

Geyser Batteries, a cleantech startup focused on water-based, non-lithium batteries.

Program: YES!Delft

climate change

Program: YES!Delft

Type: Incubator

Focus: Tech

Client Startups Focused on Climate Change: 10%

Location: the Netherlands

About: One of the Top-5 University Business Incubators in the World

Download the World Rankings 19/20 Report here.

Working with a diverse client startup portfolio of early-stage companies, YES!Delft focuses on nine tech startup areas: Blockchain, AI, Biotech, Cleantech, Medtech, Edtech, Aviation, Robotics, and Deeptech. Harnessing the power of a community of experts, YES!Delft offers client startups a full-lifecycle portfolio.

Startup Discovery: Elemental Water Makers

With 70 percent of the earth’s surface covered by water, is there really a shortage due to climate change, over-use, and increasing population? The short answer is yes, and offering an answer to the problem is Elemental Water Makers. Using renewable energy, Elemental Water Makers ensure an affordable, high-quality supply of fresh, clean water.

More YES!Delft Startup Discovery:

Kitepower, addressing climate change renewable energy concerns with mobile wind energy solutions. Beyond wind turbines, Kitepower harnesses the wind in a sustainable, portable way.

Noria, a plastic waste removal innovation company on a mission to solve the environmental issue of plastic water pollution.

We can’t resist one more, Solho, an solar power source for greenhouse-based horticultural projects. Recently awarded the VIDA demonstration voucher, this grant will enable the startup to develop even further success.

Startups focused on climate change are approaching this concern from both the upstream causes and downstream effects. Leading the charge in waste management, agriculture, pollution, and energy creation, these startups are doing their part to combat climate change from a variety of different directions. Positioned strategically between the passion and ingenuity of startups and the influence and size of corporate innovation-seekers, incubators and accelerators are making sure the path to success is a smooth one for the most meaningful startups to the planet.


Startup companies focused on disrupting technology to improve SDGs face several challenges on the path to becoming viable, successful companies. Commitment by investors, complex intellectual property rights, and global market barriers are among the daunting conditions climate change startups face. Entering an accelerator like EnergySpin or an incubator like YES!Delft gives a fledgling company tremendous benefits over a startup going it alone.

In fact, with an average 5-year survival rate of 64 percent, startups that are part of the benchmarked programs outperformed non-incubated startups by 34 percentage points. In addition to direct financial support, incubators and accelerators provide a basic business framework through a portfolio of services including mentorship, legal and accounting services, co-working space, and much more. 

Advantage: Innovation

One conclusion that is easily drawn from reading the World Benchmark Report 2019 – 2020 is that no two programs are identical. It makes our job as researchers more challenging and complex but provides a never-ending fascination for the amazing community of incubators and accelerators we study. Are you ready to activate your innovation with a deep-dive into our amazing community? 

Become a UBI Global member – participate in our lively, vibrant community ready to share best practices, ideas, and challenges. Explore the benefits of being a UBI Global member including specialized technical products through our partners, community events, and corporate matching programs. Sign up here for membership.

Activate the innovation in your corporation by harnessing the power of UBI Global data and our award-winning research team. We offer corporation – startup – ecosystem – incubator/accelerator matching customized to your terms and needs. Get in touch with us here for a free consultation.

Download the World Benchmark Report 2019 – 2020 here!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to our Blog

Do you like what you read? Subscribe and get instantly notified on the latest from the world of business incubation