Ten social entrepreneurs have been announced as winners of the Big Energy Idea, an initiative set up by the Ignite social investment fund to address key energy challenges such as fuel poverty and energy efficiency.
Winners of the scheme were announced at a ceremony in Windsor last Wednesday and will now receive financial support worth at least £50,000 from Ignite, as well as guidance on how to grow their ventures.
The Big Energy Idea, which is backed by energy firm Centrica, will be used to help fund the next generation of energy ideas. It aims to invest around £10m over the next decade in order to support businesses deliver viable solutions to some of the biggest challenges.
Centrica recently described Ignite as “an effective and important investment of a very small fraction of our profits – and, importantly, of our people’s time”.
Among the 10 winners was Energise London, a community initiative that helps homeowners across the capital save money by installing energy efficiency measures and renewables.
Announcing the successful entrepreneurs, Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, said, “I believe that the answers to society’s challenges do not lie solely with the private sector or the public sector, but with social entrepreneurs, in communities, and in cross-sector partnerships. I am passionate about the potential of each of these businesses – supported by us – to find some of these answers.”
Kate Hofman of GrowUp Urban Farms, another winner, said, “Being successful in the Big Energy Idea will make a massive difference to us. We’ll get specialist business support and hopefully we’ll secure the investment we need from Ignite to enable us to scale our business and create jobs for the people who need them the most.”
Photo: Daniel X. O’Neil via Flickr