Green businesses find city home

Low carbon start-ups enrol onto Innovation Birmingham’s European-funded incubation programme.

Thirty early-stage low carbon business have embarked on the Climate-KIC Accelerator programme, led by Innovation Birmingham. In addition to receiving a structured programme of support and office space, two thirds of the start-ups will receive up to €10,000 of grant funding to take their product to market.

Twenty of the businesses are Midlands-based, with a further ten joining the scheme from Ireland and wider Europe. They encompass many types of low carbon activity, including retrofitting, water management, health and wellbeing, and applied data.

During Stage One, the entrepreneurs will benefit from expert coaching and mentoring, as well as access to the co-working facilities at the Innovation Birmingham Campus.

At Stage Two – which starts in July – two-thirds of the businesses will be eligible to further develop their products and plans in the ‘engagement and influence labs’. In this stage, they will also receive a business support grant, worth between €1,000 and €10,000.

Just ten businesses will be selected move into Stage Three, four of which will win the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. Silicon Valley is the world-famous California home of many large technology companies such as Google and Facebook as well as thousands of start-ups.

Katharine Fuller, Innovation Birmingham’s Senior Project Manager for EU Projects said: “We are really pleased with the quality and variety of this year’s cohort. One of our main objectives this year was to expand the Accelerator to more early-stage low carbon businesses in the West Midlands and Ireland, and the strong interest has helped us to achieve that. We are confident that the programme will enable many of these businesses to scale-up in an efficient, sustainable way, and are genuinely excited to be helping them on their journey.”

After a rigorous day of introductions, workshops and ‘elevator pitch’ practice in the Brainbox at Library of Birmingham, the enrolment day also saw participants have a tour of the Innovation Birmingham Campus, where they met CEO Dr David Hardman and Alasdair Woodbridge, one of the founders of Heat Genius; an Accelerator success from last year.