Interview with Judith Cruxent, Business Creation Manager at Innoenergy and Cleantech Camp program responsible
Judith is responsible for accelerating startups at InnoEnergy and responsible for the Cleantech Camp program. She studied Business Administration in ESADE and did a master’s degree in finance that led her to start her career at Deloitte. A few years later she moved to Madrid to do a master’s degree in environmental management at Instituto de Empresa. During one year she dedicated herself to travel through South America where collaborated with different NGOs. Back in Spain, she decided to enter the field of Open Innovation and undertook a project to support entrepreneurs. Five years ago she joined InnoEnergy from where she has promoted Cleantech Camp.
Since when are you involved in Cleantech Camp?
I’ve been involved since the first edition. The origin of Cleantech Camp is found in the former Eco-entrepreneur XXI. When I joined InnoEnergy, I proposed a new approach to the program that would bet on a change of brand and a new orientation towards clean energies. I also promoted internationalization with the extension of Cleantech Camp to Portugal and the incorporation of partners to the program to help us to create more interesting synergies in the ecosystem. Since then I’ve developed the program, I’m in charge of launching the call, selecting projects, organizing committees and promoting open innovation between partners and participants.
What aspects prioritize when you select projects?
The key is that the projects have a good team. The teams must be integrated by different profiles and must be committed and very involved. Another aspect that we consider very important is that the projects are capable of providing innovative and disruptive technology in the initial or pilot phase. Finally, the proposal mustn’t have accumulated sales of more than 50,000 euros.
What would you advise people who want to undertake in the clean energy sector?
It’s a sector mainly oriented to B2B, not particularly agile and intensive at a technological level. Therefore, it’s essential that entrepreneurs have the ability to find a strategic partner that provides funding and guides them in the development and approach to the market. I would also like to insist on what I’ve said before, it’s essential to form a good team, in which all members risk equally and have a high level of commitment. Finally, I want to make a reference to those projects that have their origin in research centers. These projects technologically have a lot of potentials, and the teams are usually very good but they need to have a better knowledge of the market and strategic business. For these teams, it’s essential to leave the comfort area of the research center and complement the team with a business-oriented person, in order to accelerate the project to the maximum.
Is InnoEnergy a suitable partner for this type of Project?
Honestly, I think so. We are an excellent partner for this type of projects. We have a lot of accumulated experience, we are present in different countries and we have the financial muscle to bet on interesting projects. In fact, I would recommend entrepreneurs who are thinking of undertaking in this sector, to come to us to present their projects.
Finally, what expectations do you have in this year’s edition?
In the current edition, we’ve made a clear commitment to Open Innovation. Therefore, it’s important that projects are solid so that our partners can find appropriate solutions aligned with their business approach. We hope that this year all of them will find a closed pilot potential that will be useful and can solve some of the challenges they have as an organization. In addition, we hope that projects with the potential to impact the European market of the energy sector or energy sustainability appear. And, from InnoEnergy’s point of view, we expect to find clear investment opportunities.