The Annual Meeting 2017 of the International Cleantech Network (ICN) was hosted by ICN member Tenerrdis and took place in Lyon in France in conjunction with the BePositive Expo. The three-day event provided many opportunities for the members of ICN to discuss the strategy of ICN, to explore business opportunities and to engage in common projects. The event already kicked off on Tuesday night with a meeting with high-level representatives from the region of Lyon at the Tour d´Oxygène providing a mindblowing view of the city of Lyon.
On day 1 ICNs Head of Secretariat hosted a panel debate at the BePositive Expo with participants from 4 ICN clusters with the theme: “How cleantech clusters create value for exporting SMEs.” The discussion emphasized the importance of the clusters’ role in creating exporting opportunities for SMEs abroad and ICNs increasing role in facilitating B2B opportunities and international projects with strong SME involvement. The afternoon session was dedicate to the annual speed dating “cluster-to-cluster” session and an “ICN projects” session. This last session focused on projects where ICN has been directly involved including DIXHEAT (an EU project regarding retrofitting of district heating networks) and C40 City Solutions Projects where ICN is a partner.
Day 2 started with a focus on the added value of ICN in 2016 and discussions of the objectives of 2017. Since 2016 was the first year of the Secretariat in Copenhagen, there was a major focus on the results as well as the objectives for 2017. Whereas 2016 marked the initiation of a number of task forces and working groups, ICN has now outlined a number of objectives for 2017, including membership growth, successful delivery of ICN projects, increased SME activities as well as new partnerships with the C40 network, the Danish think tank Sustania, and the American incubator Urban Future Lab. The day ended with a sumptuous gala dinner at the prestigious Hotel de Ville of Lyon that also celebrated an award ceremony for the best sustainable products and services in the Lyon region.
Day 3 was dedicated to two site visits at local actors within sustainability. The first visit took place at CNR, a local energy producer that demonstrated how hydroelectric and river engineering expertise helped inject 100% sustainable energy into the grid. The second visit was at the Hikari energy positive buildings in the Lyon Confluence district which is a special green neighborhood with many sustainable solutions within building, transport and energy efficiency.
The ICN Annual Meeting 2017 was a very fruitful event providing a new strategic direction for ICN as well as good social interaction amongst members of ICN – all indicators of a successful 2017 with strong cooperation amongst clusters and cleantech enterprises.