Low-carbon ventures doing well in Birmingham

11 new low-carbon ventures have qualified for Birmingham Science Park’s Venture Support programme, which provides business mentoring, bespoke support sessions, access to markets, and up to €20,000 of European funding to help turn the innovations into commercially sustainable businesses.

Cllr James McKay with Bham Sci Parks Henriette Lyttle and the low-carbon entrepreneurs

Cllr James McKay with Bham Sci Parks Henriette Lyttle and the low-carbon entrepreneurs

The programme, which is part of the European-wide Climate KIC (Knowledge Innovation Community), has enrolled nine start-ups; in some cases the company founders are relocating to Birmingham to take advantage of the exposure to the city’s Green Deal initiative. The other two qualifying ventures are highly innovative low-carbon products that are currently being developed by local SME firms.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and Smart City, Birmingham City Council said: “The discourse around climate change has faded in the public eye, which we need to address. Britain’s sustainability targets for the next 40 years are ambitious and require a high level of commitment from the public and private sector, as well as many innovative solutions to significantly reduce the environmental impact of using the earth’s limited resources. If low-carbon innovations can be devised by local companies, this will not only boost sustainability targets, but also our economy.

“Birmingham is extremely well placed to become a beacon for new strategies and products to combat climate change. I hope Birmingham Science Park’s Venture programme will continue to encourage innovation in this high priority field, creating many new jobs in the process.”

One of the companies enrolled on the Venture programme – Ventive – has also beaten competition from Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and Hungary to make it to the final of a European-wide Climate KIC Venture competition, where the prize money is up to €40,000. Ventive is a start-up company that has developed a heat recovery system requiring no moving parts or energy, and instead relies on the recovery of passive heat, which the system replaces with fresh air. The product is currently undergoing market testing and has the potential to capitalise on the significant size and scale of the UK’s burgeoning retrofitting market.

The additional low-carbon start-ups enrolled on the Science Park’s Venture programme are; Greenhill Sustainability – a sustainable construction consultancy; Richard Sowden and Co, which is developing a software toolkit to assist companies to deliver green strategies; Mars Recycling, which has a plastics recycling solution; Poikos, which has developed a product to help online clothes shoppers to order the right size garment, reducing returns of ill-fitting apparel; Envirolight – a holistic LED consultancy; and The Water Consultancy, which specialises in water management.

Walsall-based Magi-led is the ninth start-up enrolled on the Venture programme. Its ground-breaking carbon and graphite panel heater generates Infra-Red healthy heat, is virtually maintenance free and 98 per cent efficient. The heater is non-toxic, there are no gases involved, no moving parts and instant heat can be provided to a whole room. A picture or a mirrored finish can even be applied to the front of the panel heater to give it a novel dual purpose.

Another initiative on the programme is a prototype of solar steam methanol, reformed for hydrogen generation, which is being devised by Marcin Khzouz; a University of Birmingham PhD student. Birmingham Science Park-based LUX TSI is also enrolled on the Venture programme with an initiative to enhance the level of data available to test new low-carbon LED lighting products.

Henriette Lyttle of Bham Sci Park & Cllr James McKay with Ventives low-carbon chimney innovation (low carbon entreps in back)

Henriette Lyttle of Bham Sci Park & Cllr James McKay with Ventives low-carbon chimney innovation

Henriette Lyttle, European Projects Manager at Birmingham Science Park, said: “The low-carbon entrepreneurs are really benefitting from being part of the Science Park’s wider community of tech entrepreneurs, as there is so much common ground. The wealth of innovation being created here is really exciting and we have everything crossed in the hope that Ventive can win over the judges at the European-wide Venture competition being held in Bologna later this month, where €40,000 is up for grabs. The next step will be to work with all 11 companies to secure contracts from the public and private sector to assist with the drive for Birmingham and the wider region to meet carbon reduction targets.”

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