Major new programme launched to support sustainable tech businesses in the West of England
SETsquared and the University of Bath have launched a new business support programme aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West of England interested in exploring how innovation to become more sustainable can benefit their business or who are already developing a sustainable technology.
The new West of England Sustainable Technologies Scale-Up Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will help accelerate the growth of 155 SMEs over the next 3 years.
The primary support will be provided through a Sustainability Workout – an online workshop that will help SMEs scrutinise their existing business model, understand their sustainability challenges and use sustainability and circular economy principles as key drivers for innovation. There are many business benefits to taking this approach including reduced costs, strengthened customer relationships and improved supply chain resilience.
Three dates for the Sustainability Workout are confirmed for 2021 and more dates will be added in 2022 and 2023.
Beyond the Sustainability Workout, the programme will support SMEs through access to researchers in the (CSCT) working on state-of-the-art sustainable technologies. The programme allows SMEs to “start a conversation” with CSCT researchers around their technical challenges in sustainability and, potentially, join with funded collaborative research projects to exploit new technologies that can benefit their businesses in future.
This programme represents the next phase of support for companies who were part of the University of Bath’s successful Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub (STBAH). The programme is part of SETsquared’s award-winning Scale-Up Programme and, by taking part in the Sustainability Workout, participants, if appropriate, can receive further support to raise public and private funding to further accelerate their growth.
Talking about the new programme, Pete Keevill, Entrepreneur in Resident for the WofE Sustainable Technologies Scale-Up Programme, said, “The need to make the change to a dramatically more sustainable economy becomes more urgent every day to avoid the worst effects of Climate Chaos. Customers are demanding that businesses respond and regulators and big companies are beginning to force the pace of change. But, in every major shift, there are huge opportunities for businesses that can anticipate, adapt to and then exploit the change and I am excited by the innovation “toolkit” we are bringing together to help West of England SMEs thrive in a sustainable future.”
CSCT Director, Professor Matthew Davidson, went on to say, “Low carbon and sustainable technologies are a research strength of this University. Not only will the West of England Sustainable Technologies Scale-Up Programme enable us to collaborate more effectively with additional businesses, but they will be businesses that are highly innovative with strong growth potential. Having this network available is an important asset for us.”
Stephen Perris, Business Development Manager at Pinweld, a local company focusing on sustainable innovation in plastic welding solutions that have received support through the various SETsquared channels, says, “As a relatively new company, Pinweld (a new way of joining plastics), like many other start-up companies, have no other option but to work incredibly hard and have to move extraordinarily fast to attract potential customers, talent and additional funding.
“Our support from STBAH and the SETsquared team has been invaluable help – we all need to listen to advice carefully otherwise we just adjust what we think is right. A good dose of straight talking from experienced individuals has certainly helped us shape our business. In particular, the research associate team at the University of Bath, who put together some presentations to a group of advanced engineering and polymer scientists which has established a number of foundations and initial contacts for the future of Pinweld.
“As a company initially focused on the joining of thin sheet plastics, we have expanded our research and development into pipes, manufacturing, plus the possibility of joining plant-based polymers. Also, many hours of support through SETsquared have helped us redefine and expand our business plans through the Innovation Workout programme. We continue to revisit the various plans we develop and create additional ones as new opportunities pop up. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but the help we receive from STBAH and SETsquared certainly increases our chances of survival and I would urge any company looking for business support to help accelerate their growth to register to join the Sustainable Technologies Scale-Up Programme.”
This programme is open to companies from across the West of England developing products or services in the low carbon or sustainable technologies from all sectors – companies looking to make their products or services more sustainable can also apply. If you are looking for ways to become more sustainable as a business, this programme will help companies to do this without increasing costs to the business.