Cleantech endures the corona crisis
The corona crisis has struck hard, also in our Flemish economy. However, pure cleantech companies seem to have been spared. This is shown in the cleantech report 2021. It shows how, of the 1,503 companies investigated, only four filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Especially sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility and sustainable buildings offer a favourable business climate for start-ups.
Cleantech is a very young sector. In order to gain insight into the evolution of the sector in Flanders, Cleantech Flanders has made an overview of the past ten years and compared nine domains per year.
The main conclusions of the report are:
- In ten years, the number of very small cleantech companies and the number of medium to large cleantech companies has increased remarkably. This indicates a favorable business environment for start-up cleantech companies and a strong, competitive market position, which enables their growth into medium to large companies.
- Only four cleantech companies filed for bankruptcy in 2020, the year marked by the corona crisis. The moratorium on bankruptcies between March 18 and June 17 did not translate into more bankruptcies after that period. All bankruptcies predate April 2020.
- Renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility and sustainable buildings are areas with the most favorable business climate for cleantech startups.
- The recycling and waste, water and wastewater, industrial processing and production and - to a lesser extent - sustainable agriculture markets count the most established players.
- Direct employment by cleantech in Flanders amounted to no less than 29,168 FTE employees in 2019 and is fairly stable. Total employment (direct + indirect) is much higher, thanks to cleantech activities in established companies, which are not included in the study as 'pure cleantech'.
- The most important cleantech hubs are located in regions with important institutes of higher education and locations with higher economic activity. Ghent remains the region with the highest concentration of cleantech companies, followed by Antwerp and Leuven. Ostend put itself remarkably on the map last year. The arrival of the new Maritime Research Center is no stranger to this. More than 70% of the newly identified cleantech players in this region are linked to water and offshore activities.
* Based on effective growth and newly identified actors