A West Midlands start-up has been selected to compete in the annual conference of the Europe-wide Climate-KIC programme, which is taking place on 29-30th October 2015. iZdesign, a start-up based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus, will compete in the final of the Venture Competition for up to €40,000 to fund its proof of concept.
The Climate-KIC programme is delivered by 13 centres across Europe, with the annual conference being staged in one of the city locations each year. For 2015, Birmingham is hosting the prestigious event, with the main conference and exhibition taking place at The ICC, and the welcome reception being held at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. As the West Midlands delivery partner for Climate-KIC, the event is being coordinated by Innovation Birmingham.
Catherine Shelley, Innovation Birmingham’s Climate-KIC Project Manager for Entrepreneurship said: “A key highlight of the Innovation Festival agenda is the Venture Competition, which will award €40,000 to the best European low carbon start-up, €20,000 to the start-up in second place, and €5,000 to the third place.
“The competition is designed to spur innovation by giving the low carbon start-ups of the future the funding and support they need to succeed commercially. As a finalist, iZdesign represents one of the brightest prospects currently on Climate-KIC’s unique Low Carbon Accelerator programme, which supports over 120 start-ups across Europe every year. Making it to this stage is a fantastic indicator of the potential we see in iZdesign.”
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As a result of successfully progressing through the defined stages of the 2015 West Midlands Low Carbon Accelerator programme, iZdesign is one of 16 start-ups able to bid for a total of €100,000 of additional early-stage funding. This funding is awarded to enable the low carbon start-ups located across each of the 13 European cities to accelerate the pace in which their product or service can be taken to market.
The service that iZdesign is currently developing is the Online Waste Exchange Network. By operating like a stock exchange between waste practitioners, waste traders and partnerships with local authorities, the new service will be able to lower the cost of manufacture and disposal fees, while also recovering revenue streams from waste. The Online Waste Exchange Network is being developed with Richard Wallman, former Chief Technology Officer of online portal ‘Freecycle’, which has 10 million members worldwide, including 500,000 members in the West Midlands.
Daniel Cremin, CEO of iZdesign said: “Climate-KIC is a vital funder for iZdesign and taking part in this European-wide competition will give us vital international exposure, networking and potential investment opportunities for our Online Waste Exchange Network.”
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.”
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.