Leena Pishe Thomas: GBI enables the “E” of ESG
Focused on technology access, deployment, and transfer for climate innovators, GBI Director Leena Pishe Thomas presents their new platform and sees this as a moment for the Global South to grab a leading opportunity to shape global perspectives and markets.
In the heart of Accra, Ghana, against the backdrop of ANDE’s 2023 Annual Global Conference, we met with the dynamic Leena Pishe Thomas, Director at Global Business Inroads (GBI). Our discussion began with her insights from the conference and evolved into an exploration of GBI’s pioneering global innovation platform. Operating at the crossroads of climate technology, life sciences, and ICT sectors, GBI, with its roots spread across India, Europe, the UK, and the USA, has emerged as a robust actor in technology access, deployment, and transfer for climate innovators. Boasting a portfolio of over 200 entities worldwide, GBI’s distinctive approach encompasses market access, ecosystem development, government liaisons, and strategic financial consulting to help businesses thrive in emerging markets.
Tell us about Global Business Inroads’ role in the SGB ecosystem.
Global Business Inroads is a 14-year-old organization focused on building a global innovation platform for climate innovators. We want to support climate SGBs in accessing global markets, whether it’s in the United States, the EU, the UK, India, Africa, Brazil, or Southeast Asian markets. We aim to support them with global market access.
What are you most excited about GBI’s recent development? How did it come to be?
We launched this program focusing on technology for greening industry, enabling the “E” of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance). On one hand, we’re creating a platform to understand the needs of a market for green innovation and to connect with the climate innovators program for global market access. This platform showcases climate innovators from around the world and highlights market opportunities by adopters of green technologies.
What are best practices ANDE members can learn from your experience?
For ANDE members supporting SGBs and working with climate innovators, we offer a roadmap, tools, and a process to help their climate innovators. We guide them to understand the most suitable international market for them to expand abroad. We provide support and advice to select the right markets based on technology-market fit.
Climate innovation is now needed worldwide. For a climate innovator, deciding where to go can be overwhelming. They have to juggle market opportunities in their local market and prove themselves to local investors. It’s their right to have information about new international markets, as success might be found outside their local market. The idea is to give them access to information on global markets, empowering them to go global. For accelerators, incubators, and business support organizations around the world or in the ANDE network, we aim to help them make their climate SGBs aware of international markets, assist in selection, and guide them through the market entry process. We provide services to help validate the market, find customers and partners, develop pilot projects, and connect with the right funding for their specific local market.
What are your thoughts on the 2023 Global Conference as a milestone for ANDE?
Clearly, the global South is leading the way in shaping global perspectives. It’s a positive step for a US-bred organization like ANDE to venture into Ghana. It’s also beneficial for members like us to deeply engage with the Ghanaian ecosystem. In three days, we’re meeting numerous actors from Africa, all in one place. Imagine the effort if we had to do this across the African Union. ANDE is creating a platform where people from all over Africa have come together in Ghana. It’s like convening the African Union in one place.
What do you find strategic about being an ANDE member?
ANDE works in the development sector and collaborates with entrepreneurs. Connecting these two worlds on a global scale isn’t easy. ANDE does an excellent job of bringing together various elements of the ecosystem, whether it’s SGBs, Corporates, NGOs, or governments, all on one platform.
Every time I attend an ANDE conference, I meet old friends and collaborators, as well as new ones. You truly get to learn about what people around the world are doing, find new partners, and discover ways to collaborate without reinventing the wheel in your own world. The same goes for those who meet us; they get to know about our latest programs and possibilities. It has become a great place to network, and I’ve made some fabulous friends. It’s been an amazing experience overall.
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ABOUT MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
ANDE members have access to a multitude of platforms for promoting their work and co-creating knowledge with other members. The ANDE Member Spotlight is a series of short, interview-based blog posts highlighting an ANDE member organization and any new projects, recent investments, or ongoing research with interesting learnings that add value to the ANDE community.