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CleanTech Flanders

CleanTech Flanders: Ecosystem Analysis

Cleantech Flanders, powered by VITO, published the Cleantech Report 2020 in April, which provides a complete overview of the Flemish CleanTech ecosystem, its impact, opportunities and challenges for the future. More and more companies and organisations are endorsing the demand for sustainability. The application of CleanTech, short for clean technologies, accelerates the transition to a more sustainable world by contributing to a cleaner environment and significant energy savings.


Thingit and DataScouts joined forces to support VITO with the data mining and economic analysis as input for the development of the final report. Thingit started from an analysis of all patents in the relevant CleantTech domains released by companies based in Flanders.

The DataScouts Market & Competitive Intelligence Platform was used to map the landscape, create an accurate business profile of all relevant players, and collect relevant business metrics to analyse the economic impact generated by Cleantech providers and pioneers over the last 10 years.


Cleantech is not a traditional sector, it is cross-sectorial and plays a role in various (industrial) domains, covering energy, circular economy, mobility, air, water, and soil. Cleantech produces products, processes, and services that improve both operational and environmental performance. Moreover, Cleantech is often implemented by traditional players in their ambition to reduce their carbon footprint and counter climate change. 

The ecosystem analysis requires understanding relationships and impacts beyond the boundaries of one company. DataScouts allows to look at actors from multiple perspectives, to gather structured and non-structured information, and to analyze multiple dimensions to understand how they contribute and create value in the Cleantech ecosystem.

Mapping & Research Methodology

The starting point of the exercise was the definition of the taxonomy, the dimensions defining the ecosystem, i.e. the actors, their activities and the role they play in the ecosystem. The classification of CleanTech was defined in close collaboration between VITO, Thingit and the DataScouts team to ensure a clear and common understanding. 

The most crucial step of the project was mapping the ecosystem, i.e. developing the directory of relevant actors. Based upon existing databases from former research combined with desktop research and a deep analysis of patent publications by companies bases in Flanders, the ultimate list of technology providers, enablers and adopters was created. 

Building an accurate profile of all actors is made possible by setting up an automatic data stream, aggregating information from multiple data sources. This is where the DataScouts Monitoring platform makes continuous market research more efficient. DataScouts allows to automatically gather and aggregate a wide range of data points such as financial performance, investments & funding, shareholders, company size, locations, target market, etc. The bottom-up analysis allows turning individual company information in a landscape view, to identify trends and relationships in the ecosystem.

"Our ambition is to monitor the Flemish CleanTech ecosystem and its evolution over time. With a clear end goal in mind, the data mining happened within a relatively short period of time by leveraging the smart data aggregation features of DataScouts." Frans Snijkers , Director Cleantech Flanders

The analysis of patents in CleanTech domains resulted in an additional dimension, mapping the innovation hotspots in the CleanTech ecosystem. Thingit's experts in technical due diligence and valorisation carried out the analysis and converted patent data into detailed insights into the innovation activities of a diverse portfolio of companies, mainly large and established industrial players.

Understanding the dynamics of an ecosystem requires an understanding of relationships. Within DataScouts, we mapped connections between the members of CleanTech Flanders and other spearhead clusters that embrace innovation and value clean technologies and circularity, including Catalisti, SIM Flanders, Flux 50, Flander's Food and the Blue Cluster.

CleanTech Flanders Methodology


Our analysis provided a solid basis for CleanTech Flanders to write its 2020 report. The results were made available to CleanTech Flanders via the Datascouts Platform, the starting point for continuous monitoring of the companies' ecosystem. The methodology we developed for the enrichment and classification guarantees continuity for future reports.

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