Editor’s note: Ed White is chairman, Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster as well as chairman and CEO of Field2Base.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than three years since we created the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster. Five years ago, virtually no one knew cleantech existed in the region. Today, the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina is recognized as a global cleantech hot spot.

It was exciting to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished together with so many of you who attended our annual meeting last week. We reported on results from the past year and the strategic steps we intend to take in the coming year to accelerate the growth of our companies and the cleantech economy. Those plans and results are summarized in our annual report.

Here are some of the highlights. In 2015, we launched a new strategic plan with action steps to: market and brand the region and our companies as global cleantech leaders; promote business growth among our existing companies and recruit new ones; and expand our cluster of industry and community partners collaborating to accelerate the cleantech economy.

We also developed an interactive Metrics Dashboard that captures our cluster’s significant impact and provides key metrics that hold us accountable to investors.

But with cleantech market potential estimated to top $4.8 trillion by 2025, there is much to be done. Our regional cluster of cleantech companies, R&D assets and support organizations – which has been literally decades in the making – offers a huge competitive advantage that we intend to leverage.

If we get this right, the benefits will extend beyond our companies and region to our state, our nation and our world. We are convinced that the cleantech sector will drive the next wave of economic and job growth in this region, as did information technology and life sciences in the past.

All that we do is possible because of the investment from members of the RTCC.

The cleantech industry in this region recognizes the unlimited market potential of this emerging industry and understands we can generate more of it if we work together now.

As fellow board member Tim Fairchild, director of SAS’s Global Energy Practice stated at our annual meeting:

  • Invest in the RTCC if you’re not already investing.
  • Get involved if you’re not involved.
  • Be an ambassador for our region and our cluster as you engage with your customers and suppliers and vendors around the world.

By promoting and growing our region’s cleantech cluster, you promote your own companies and organizations and help advance innovations that will create a more sustainable future for us all.

To learn more, I encourage you to contact Jenn Bosser, executive director of the RTCC at (919) 412-9073,jbosser@researchtriangle.org or visit our website at www.researchtrianglecleantechcluster.org.