General Electric (GE) will invest millions of pounds in fledgling green businesses in a newjoint venture with The Carbon Trust.
GE's UK division has initially set aside $5m (£3.1m) to invest in European "clean technology" start-ups, but says it potentially has "tens of millions of dollars" to plough into such companies if the initiative proves successful.
The so-called "incubator" will initially offer about 20 "early stage" companies – that have yet to make a profit and in some cases even their first sale – between £100,000 and £250,000 to help get them off the ground, in return for a stake in the business, said GE's Tore Land.
The fund is looking for companies that can help make Britain's roads, transport system, buildings and other infrastructure function in a more environmentally friendly way. This could be by controlling heating and lighting more efficiently or through innovations around the smart grid – the digitally controlled network that lies at the heart of the hoped-for energy revolution.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, a body set up by the government to help companies become greener, said: "The European market for venture capital is particularly poor at the moment. So these companies, which have huge potential, really need some help and support."
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