Climate-friendly startups often have a harder time breaking into the market, as competitors may produce similar products for less and thus offer a higher return on investment. For these innovative business models to succeed, it is critical to bridge the gap by connecting established funding and mentorship networks to up-and-coming companies built to thrive in a changing environment.

The Climate Solutions Partnership (CSP) Innovation program works to break down barriers to financing for promising climate solutions. During its first phase, the program connected startups on the verge of scalability in high-emitting sectors, from the built environment to the apparel sector, to a network of support. In its second phase, the team is putting these principles to work on the ground, helping Mumbai advance its ambitious climate goals by coalescing key stakeholders in the public and private sector around fresh ideas that can deliver equitable and swift decarbonization.

For two years, the Innovation program has curated, reviewed and mentored high-impact climate-focused ventures from around the world, helping them secure investment to scale their unique-yet-replicable solutions — most recently in the apparel sector through the Great Fashion Decarbonisation Opportunity. The program provided start-ups with access to mentors and connections to industry organizations as well as workshops and resources, such as one-on-one pitch coaching and hosting pitch events. It also provided a suite of tools to support both businesses and investors in pitching and evaluating new climate start-ups.

In addition to the apparel sector, start-ups aiming to decarbonize buildings and infrastructure materials in cities have received training, guidance, and resources to grow their businesses. In the first phase of the project, 17 ventures were connected to 32 donors, new to financing clean tech, via six global pitch events. Overall, 100 experts partnered with the program to advise these promising businesses.

Since May 2023, the Innovation program has a specific focus on Mumbai, India, where it is working to advance the Mumbai Climate Action Plan by addressing financial barriers to climate-friendly infrastructure. The project, Financing Green Infrastructure Lab (launched in partnership with HSBC India), aims to strengthen project bankability and diversify financial options for mitigation and resilience solutions. Two current projects center on convening public-private partnerships and raising finance to for both nature-based solutions and clean energy solutions: One seeks to expand education regarding the widespread benefits of a biodiversity park, while the other is geared toward building scalable financial models to electrify taxis and auto-rickshaws in the city.


  • Mumbai, India



Cover image by IMF/Flickr