20/05/2013 11:41 BST | Updated 20/07/2013 06:12 BST

Clean and Cool Mission 2013

The UK is home to some of the most innovative businesses in the world, across a range of technology sectors including healthcare, space, high value manufacturing, cell therapy and the environment. Only last week I announced that the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, would be funded with a £440 million budget through their 2013/14 delivery plan.

A vast majority of this budget will be invested into business from across the UK through competitions run by the Technology Strategy Board which will help companies commercialise their innovations, bring them to the market place, export them and keep the UK at the front of the global race for technology and innovation.

As part of my announcement, I was pleased to say that the Technology Strategy Board would be continuing to support clean technology businesses with entrepreneur missions to Brazil and Colorado in the US. I am delighted that today the competition for the Clean and Cool mission to Colorado opens; giving 20 of the most promising early stage clean-tech companies the chance to join us on the visit to the US. Once there they will have the chance to meet like minded entrepreneurs and make vital contacts with business leaders abroad. Previous experience of these missions shows that the very best business ideas are almost certain to make great contacts and receive new investment.

The last Clean and Cool mission was run by the Technology Strategy Board in 2010 in partnership with UK Trade and Investment and the Long Run Venture, where 19 companies were invited to San Francisco. From that visit, £137 million of investment was secured by UK businesses. Three of those companies now have US subsidiaries and five have significant US partnerships.

Colorado is fast establishing itself as a global base for clean-tech innovations. The state has nearly 2,000 clean energy companies and in the last five years numerous solar and wind companies have announced that they would expand or relocate to Colorado. Last year, investment in the US in clean energy was up by 57 per cent to $51 billion, which was led by a boom in the solar industry. There are clearly great opportunities for innovative UK businesses in this sector to get themselves on the Technology Strategy Board's next mission and meet some of the best companies in the world in this sector. Estimates suggest that the global clean tech market will be worth $2 trillion by the end of the decade and we want UK companies to be able to take a share of that huge potential.

The competition opens today and I would encourage as many clean tech businesses as possible to go to to enter. This year the judging panel will be looking for companies that have high growth potential and they will be particularly looking at the impact that a service or product will be able to make on a global scale, particularly in the US market.

2013 marks a pivotal year for the Technology Strategy Board. They are making a real difference when it comes to supporting innovative business. Last year over £300 million was invested into businesses, with around 60 per cent of those being small and medium sized enterprises. The government is backing or high growth potential technology sector, giving them the best chance to succeed on a global scale. Missions such as the ones launched today will play a vital part in making sure that we can export our exciting innovations abroad, helping to boost the economy and support business.