Connected Places Catapult’s Global Business Growth programme aims to enhance the opportunities for the entry of UK business into emerging innovation markets around the world. Place leaders that are supported by Connected Places Catapult benefit from distinctive insights from their unique position as the UK’s global centre of excellence on urban innovation and as neutral conveners between leaders and innovators.
Connected Places Catapult was identified as the key delivery partner by Innovate UK, and the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in Colombia and Chile to scope the local urban challenges on the Net Zero agenda in 6 cities. This partnership aimed to increase the knowledge of UK stakeholders on the opportunities to work in the Pacific Alliance and other Latin American cities to accelerate the commercialisation of smart cities and transport innovations with a focus on decarbonisation.
This project provided a first-of-its-kind review of the opportunities for the UK to partner with Latin American cities on their journey to Net Zero by combining insights from global datasets, local strategies, and direct interaction via expert consultations with key stakeholders in Pacific Alliance cities. This project brought together key stakeholders from the UK and Pacific Alliance countries in a well attended webinar that exchanged the insights and learnings from these reviews, but also presented UK SMEs who have solutions to those challenges identified in these reviews. The reviews and webinars can be found here.
Further work was conducted under the Latin America Net Zero Challenges to promote business-led research & innovation partnerships between the UK and participating Latin American countries. Working with IdeiaGov, Invest São Paulo, and the State of São Paulo, Connected Places Catapult selected 15 UK SMEs and 20 Latin American SMEs with highly innovative solutions to tackle challenges. These challenges were in line with the Sao Paulo’s Climate Action Plan and the recent announcement of their membership in the Race to Zero campaign. They included Reduction of Emissions, Changing the Energy Matrix, Mobility and Sustainable Fuels and Resilient Cities. The selected UK SMEs engaged in a series of curated matchmaking and capacity building activities with the cohort of 20 Latin American companies and took part in IdeiaGov’s Impact Acceleration Programme to establish equitable innovation partnerships. Connected Places Catapult curated a two-hour session during COP26, in which senior-level representatives from the UK and São Paulo promoted the importance of such cross-national partnerships featuring the 35 SMEs pitches and a showcase of their solutions. To supplement this, a business portfolio was created and displayed in Glasgow during COP26. These materials can be found here.
Expanding on this programme, Connected Places Catapult has worked with the city of Buenos Aires in Argentina and Panama City, Panama, to conduct a data-led review to identify the most critical challenges preventing decarbonisation in these cities and identifying UK and local solutions that can help meet their climate-related targets. These ‘Net-Zero Profiles’ were launched at a well-attended event by speakers such as Fiona Clouder, the COP26 Ambassador for Latin America.
Most recently, Connected Places Catapult have been working with three Mexican cities to produce Net-Zero profiles for these cities. Latin America Net Zero Challenges will continue until March 2022 and is funded by the UK Science & Innovation Network.