5th Munich Cleantech Conference on 14 July 2011 – Interview with Curt Winnen
On Thursday next week, 14 July 2011, the Munich Network, headed by Curt Winnen, produces the 5th Munich Cleantech Conference (MCC11). That’s rather sustainable and proves a lot of experience in bringing together smart green startups, investors and corporates. Below you find our interview with Curt about the MCC11. Myself, I joined the investor-heavy congress last year and will attend the upcoming MCC11, too, as Ecosummit is one of the media partners.
Ecosummit: Let’s start by talking about the Munich Network. What is the Munich Network, when was it founded and how many members do you have? What is so special about Munich as a business location? And what is your personal background and motivation for the Munich Network?
Munich Network, founded in 1984, is a private non-profit association of technology enterprises supporting them in their efforts for successful innovations. Our 250 members understand the industrial process of innovation as a cross-linked, interlocked system. Networking is one of our core activities. In our networks we link technology entrepreneurs with industry leaders, users, research and development organisations and investors exceeding regional and national borders. We also provide our members with platforms equipped with the best resources of experience, knowledge, ideas, talents and capital.
Munich benefits from its industry cluster of many established large and mid-sized technology enterprises across different industries with global reach. Munich also benefits from its universities with more than 80.000 students and many research institutes. This strength lures talents and investors.
From 1980 to 1985, I worked as a lawyer in complex litigation before I lead a family-owned company with facilities in North Africa and East Europe. Fascinated by the mission of building an economic environment for innovative high-tech growth companies I started managing the Munich Network in 1996.
Ecosummit: This year you already organise the 5th Cleantech congress. What have you learned about the German Cleantech industry and what are the pros and cons of starting and growing a Cleantech company here?
In our cleantech_net we understand Cleantech as a general term for innovation fostering a better climate, saving natural resources and making our economy sustainable. Cleantech covers a broad spectrum of products, services and processes which are intended essentially to improve the lastingness of economy and the quality of life, reducing costs with higher efficiency. As Cleantech touches many old industries like energy and transport, it is a heterogenous and complex business. Cleantech innovation offers high-value opportunities for venture capital. A lot of Cleantech infrastructure innovation needs alternative capital resources. International competition in price leadership especially from Asia is one more aspect that challenges all Cleantech companies.
Ecosummit: In 2010, the focus of the 4th Munich Cleantech Conference was energy efficiency. Why did you choose solar as the main theme of MCC11? How many participants do you expect? What is the conference language?
There are a lot of lessons learned in the global solar industry. We’re keen on gaining insights into the ongoing competition between innovation leadership and price leadership and about role models and the outlook for other Cleantech sectors. We expect about 150 attendees. MCC11 will be held mainly in German language including some foreign speakers presenting in English.
Ecosummit: I have seen that you have reserved 30 minutes for startup pitches in the agenda. Who is going to pitch? What is the deadline for the pitch application? What are the requirements for the selection?
The screening of startups that applied for a pitch is not yet finished. Registration was open until 30 June 2011. The startup selection is based on innovation degree, uniqueness, costumer benefit, scalability and management experience.
Ecosummit: After Fukushima, Germany is the first country that has decided to exit nuclear by 2022. What effect does this decision have for the Cleantech industry in Germany and Europe?
I think it’s too early to predict the impact of the nuclear exit decision made just 4 weeks ago. Personally, I am not really qualified to assess the huge amount of certain facts and uncertain forecasts moving around in the media.
Ecosummit: Finally, what is your personal highlight on the agenda of MCC11 and who are the most interesting speakers that I should meet?
I am very excited about the lectures of Michael Wilshire, Director, Renewable Energy, Energy Smart Technologies, Carbon Capture & Storage and Nuclear of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, PV expert Prof. Gerhard Willeke of Fraunhofer ISE and Jerry Stokes, President of Suntech Europe.
But look at the programme and you’ll find more excellent speakers sharing their insights with the conference audience.
Ecosummit: Curt, thanks a lot for the interview. I look forward to seeing you next week in Munich.