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UK lawyer supporting enterprise and innovation across the Commonwealth

13 February 2013 #Clarkslegal


Michael Sippitt, Chairman of Clarkslegal LLP is challenging entrepreneurs and financial investors to get serious about developing environmental technologies across the Commonwealth, as he introduced the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Platform (the CEIP), at the Green Growth Road Show in Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday, 13 February.   

The CEIP has been developed in alliance between the Royal Commonwealth Society and Forbury Investment Network, which is operated by Clarkslegal LLP. It is a pan-Commonwealth network linking entrepreneurs and companies in the environmental sector to each other and to international investors, with hubs already established in Canada, England, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa (Cape Town and Durban) and Wales.

The platform is designed to facilitate trade and investment in sustainable technologies, to improve international awareness of developments in environmental technology and sustainability issues, and to support low carbon economic growth across the Commonwealth.

Michael Sippitt explains: “The tremendous challenges facing many developing countries can be met only 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."

The CEIP supports strategies for the development of a green economy across the Commonwealth, the encouragement of renewable energy and other low carbon investment and enterprise in the global economy. There is a strong focus on the SME sector, reflecting the level of activity in environmental SMEs and the scope to generate new green jobs in such enterprises.

Michael Sippitt adds: “As the heart of any growing economy is the small to medium business sector, it is plainly vital to understand that sector and the obstacles it faces to being successful.

So many small businesses have little chance to build any international opportunities, yet unless they do their future maybe distinctly limited. They will struggle to invest in foreign visits, trade mission, marketing, etc. They can only do a modest amount to promote themselves, though with modern technology the opportunities have now increased tremendously, as long as they know how to use what is available. It may be that training in marketing through the internet is one key that would make most difference to successful outcomes.

Much of what the CEIP is about is improving visibility. Without awareness, then no progress is likely. The awareness of technologies, businesses, market opportunities and key contacts is the lifeblood of smaller businesses as well as increasing the chance of contacting interested investors.”

The CEIP helps share awareness of needs and opportunities in other Commonwealth countries, with introductions, as appropriate, to relevant trade contacts and interested parties. Many Commonwealth countries are in need of climate change mitigation technologies and CEIP hubs will identify possible market opportunities for Commonwealth businesses that offer environmental technologies.

In most Commonwealth countries, there are no structured investment networks. CEIP provides such a network, which is vital to early stage businesses who are seeking either early stage venture capital investment or the support of business angels.

Participation in the CEIP enables its regional hubs to share in global environmental expertise and opportunities for trade and investment in this fast growing and vital sector.

Catherine Clark, Deputy Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, adds: “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.”

Michael Sippitt, Chairman of the Commonwealth Environmental Investment Network Platform will speak again at ‘What Renewable Energy Investors Want’, Blue Waters Hotel, Durban, South Africa, on Thursday, 14 February.

For further information about this or any other general enquiries, please contact Clarkslegal by email at contact@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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