€100,000 (£72,484) of initial investment cash is being shared across seven start-ups on Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Accelerator programme, which is part of the European-funded Climate-KIC initiative. The start-ups pitched for the investment funding, in front of a panel of three industry judges. The process was facilitated by one of the programme’s Entrepreneur s in Residence.
The grant funding will be used to pay for research and development, and other activity to enable the low carbon products and services to be launched to market in an accelerated timescale. Four Birmingham-based start-ups have been selected to receive the maximum amount available per company, which is €20,000 (£14,482).
The four start-ups comprise Intesys Ltd, which is developing the i-Magine predictive heating controller – a device that learns the dynamic thermal characteristics of domestic properties. Borroclub.co.uk is a marketplace for people to rent out their idle household items to others who live in the locality. SPICA Technologies is developing Devicepoint™ – a risk management tool to control Legionella, powered by a secured wireless network and low-energy sensors. Truckulus is a combined transport management system and return loads marketplace with a smartphone component, designed to significantly reduce the number of empty journeys made by hauliers.
Matt Dredger, CEO of Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Borroclub.co.uk said: “On average, a drill is used for a total of 12 minutes a year. The rest of the time, it’s taking up space in a home or garage and gathering dust. By lending it out to people in the local area, the owner of the drill can make a bit of money, while feeling like they’re actually contributing to their local community. In the past couple of weeks, our borrowers have saved over £1,300 and in the process, over 300kg of CO2 has also been saved.”
On 29-30th October, the annual Climate-KIC Innovation Festival will take place, bringing together over 300 low carbon entrepreneurs, stakeholders and partners from across Europe. The annual event is held in a different European city each year – for 2015, the Festival will take place at The ICC, Birmingham.
Katharine Fuller, Innovation Birmingham’s Senior Project Manager for EU Projects said: “Early stage grant funding makes such a difference to start-up businesses. The timetable required for an entrepreneur to launch their product or service to market is critical, and the funding available through the European Climate-KIC initiative enables the best businesses starting up in the low carbon sector to receive a helpful grant.
“In addition to this grant funding, all of the businesses will continue to work alongside our Entrepreneurs in Residence who have been specifically appointed as advisers to the Low Carbon Accelerator programme. The ultimate aim is to help to launch as many sustainable start-ups as possible.”
The three judges awarding the grant funding were: Clayton Shaw from Sampad, Dan Licari representing the Knowledge Transfer Network and Dr Ben Onyido from Innovation Birmingham’s Climate-KIC team. The judging process was facilitated by Steve Harris, a Climate-KIC Entrepreneur in Residence.
The Low Carbon Accelerator is a Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (Climate-KIC) project, which Innovation Birmingham is a delivery partner for. Climate-KIC is the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, and was one of the first Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in 2010. The EIT is the European Union body tasked with creating sustainable European growth and jobs while dealing with the global challenges of our time.