By: Jake Layes
In 2009, Autodesk launched the Cleantech Partner program as a way of providing technology to innovating pioneers and start-ups working in green and cleantech. We started supporting over 100 companies in the US and Europe with our design software. Today, six years later, over 3,000 start-ups in North America, Europe, Israel, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, have joined the program for access to technology that helps them design and create sustainability solutions.
To help the next generation of entrepreneurs, we’re expanding our reach beyond traditional markets and clean and green sectors. To reflect this change, we are renaming the program to be the Autodesk Entrepreneur Impact Program.
The expanded program invites entrepreneurs around the world who innovate for positive environmental or social impact to apply for Autodesk digital prototyping design, engineering, and fabrication software.
The world has changed a lot in six years. Cleantech matured; prices for renewable energy dropped significantly; many multi-national companies invest or drive business through clean technology initiatives. Technology development has accelerated and access to it has become easier. In the labor force, the millennial generation had overtaken Boomers and Gen-X’ers. And most importantly, sustainability and concerns about climate change have become top of mind.
This new generation of empowered entrepreneurs is not only embarking on a journey to build businesses by innovating solutions that have scalable, positive environmental and social impact, but are also a key component to finding solutions to climate change. And not just in the US or Europe but across the world. In February, FORBES magazine wrote how "Africa’s growing crop of young entrepreneurs will transform the continent and rewrite its future.” In China, the government is ramping up efforts to build a sustainable, beautiful China, voicing support for entrepreneurs across the country.
We’re seeing a shift that was unthinkable only years ago – today a few entrepreneurs can come together and with funding disrupt and entire industry. Innovation happens in small start-up companies; it happens in the environmental and social sectors; including energy, mobility, the build environment, water, waste, resource & materials, in health & well-being. These entrepreneurs all aim to design for positive, scalable impact.
We’ve seen rapid growth from grassroots organizations in Africa, South East Asia and India. Through the program expansion, we will provide them with access to the same Autodesk technology large companies are using. We seek those entrepreneurs with the highest impact for further training and support activities.
While we are still in the midst of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) we need to start making steps towards implementing climate solutions. Empowering entrepreneurs will mark one of the first steps we’re taking to taking an action on climate. As Peter Drucker said “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We’d love to see many more entrepreneurs design solutions for climate change - building a low carbon future for all." Apply here.
Eligible entrepreneur organizations must be less than five years old, have less than $1 million (USD) in revenue, and be innovating for positive environmental or social impact. Those who qualify will get access to up to five licenses of up to three pieces of software: Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate, Autodesk Fusion 360, and Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate. Full details, including specific country availability date, can be found: http://www.autodesk.com/entrepreneurimpact