Vice President, Middle East Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Manager of Policy, Global Energy Institute (GEI), U.S. Chamber of Commerce
January 04, 2024
COP28 in Dubai provided unique opportunities for the private sector to highlight the critical role business plays in innovating, financing, and deploying the solutions necessary to achieve both ambitious climate goals and sustainable economic growth. Startups and small and medium-sized businesses are essential to those solutions, and the U.S. Chamber helped ensure they were part of the conversation.
As the host of COP28, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) created a Startup Village to provide a global platform for climate-tech entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations and engage the public, other businesses, investors, clients, and government leaders. The Chamber’s GreenTech Business Delegation to the UAE in May helped drive participation from newer businesses in COP28. Our trade mission convened more than 125 delegates from nearly 70 businesses, including startups, and demonstrated how to get involved in COP28, grow a network of relationships, and learn of opportunities to scale their business in the UAE.
The success of that mission led to our work with the US Department of Commerce in bringing the largest-ever U.S. business delegation to a UN COP, including several startups and SMEs who were with us in May.
Here are a few examples:
Lyten used COP28 to break out on a global stage, showing world leaders exactly how their products can help heavy industry achieve net zero goals without compromising performance or economics. To fully leverage their presence in the COP28 Startup Village, Lyten even built a Lyten COP Landing Page.
Lars Herlitz, Lyten Co-Founder and Chairman, stated, “The GreenTech mission played a vital role in rapidly expanding Lyten’s opportunities in the UAE and the region. Speed is paramount for Lyten, and the support of the U.S Chamber of Commerce and Department of Commerce enabled us to very quickly connect with the right leaders in the UAE and, within days and weeks, get into deep and substantive discussions. The GreenTech mission gave us a strong footing that we continued to leverage leading up to and during COP28 for Lyten to connect with global leaders in both the private and public sectors.”
For Odys Aviation, a new company focused on the daunting challenge of advancing sustainability within the aviation sector, the Chamber provided numerous opportunities to foster new relationships in the UAE. In fact, it was during the GreenTech mission in May that the Odys team initiated discussions with Aramex, one of the leading logistics companies in the region. Then, during COP28, Odys and Aramex signed a strategic agreement to launch the company's first middle mile pilot program for hybrid-electric aerial deliveries in the UAE and Oman, with a targeted commencement date of late 2024.
According to James Dorris, CEO and Co-Founder at Odys Aviation, "Our most profound takeaway from our partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the COP28 experience is that collaboration among stakeholders is pivotal to drive the climate change and sustainability agendas forward. Small companies need to work with large companies to tackle innovation challenges and break the slow cycles of traditional development. Governments need to rally together to support the private sector and in turn, the private sector needs to commit to technologies that not only sustain their own business models, but that help grow new industry sectors for the benefit of society and the environment."
Ignite Power, which came on the GreenTech Mission, aims to optimize operations and deploy climate technologies such as solar power, solar-based internet, and solar irrigation in remote areas across the globe. They were the winner in the Energy Innovation Category of the Zayed Zayed Sustainability Prize, a globally renowned accolade honoring organizations exhibiting exceptional dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship, at COP28.
"We are deeply honored and humbled to receive such a prestigious recognition as the Zayed Sustainability Prize,'' remarked Angela Homsi, President of Ignite Power. “This recognition validates our commitment to driving impactful change at scale through decentralized, digital, and de-carbonized solutions."
SolarSpace, another GreenTech participant, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during COP28 with the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy to explore the feasibility of harnessing space-based solar power (SBSP) technology and its potential applications in the UAE and the Middle East in addressing various challenges, from desalination to capturing solar energy in outer space.
SolarSpace was also selected to participate in the UAE Ministry of Economy’s NextGen FDI program, intended to support the growth of the UAE’s knowledge-driven economy and the country’s commitment to energy transition.
Business is delivering climate solutions and the evidence was all over COP28. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud to work with the startup community to help bring their climate innovations and technologies to a global audience.
About the authors
Steve Lutes is executive director Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is responsible for managing the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, U.S.-Iraq Business Initiative, the U.S.-GCC Business Initiative, and serves as executive director for each.
Kendall Stephenson is a Manager of Policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI). She is responsible for all of GEI’s administrative tasks and operations.