Martina Zupan

Martina Zupan

Edinburgh Napier graduate on fast track to success after funding boost

An Edinburgh Napier graduate is paving the way for low-carbon innovation after being accepted into a prestigious Europe-wide programme.

Martina Zupan, who studied product design at the University before setting up her own business aimed at reducing plastic pollution, was delighted to discover her start-up made it on to the Climate-KIC Accelerator scheme.

The scheme itself is an 18-month programme delivered by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI), which offers workspace, masterclasses, and coaching as well as up to €60,000 in funding.

She said: “When I received the email with the delightful news, I was over the moon! It is a fantastic opportunity to take my business further. Having access to help from amazing mentors and business advisors at ECCI along with workshops, training and funding will be a fantastic resource and one I can’t wait to get involved with.”

Martina’s idea for creating disposable tableware out of waste eggshells – Colleggtion – was developed as part of her final year project at Edinburgh Napier. Her pioneering work, which is also being supported through the University’s Bright Red Triangle, led to her forming Alterwaste, a start-up focused on preventing industrial waste by turning it into sustainable products that will benefit the environment instead of polluting it.

Now, she will split her time between Bright Red Triangle and the award-winning hub at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation as the momentum behind her business Alterwaste continues to gather pace.

Martina added: “I’m lucky to be in a really great position that I can now split my time between both Bright Red Triangle and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) Hub. Bright Red Triangle is the home of my business, but the ECCI is a low-carbon environment, which will help me grow faster as I learn more about the sector.

“The programme itself will help me accelerate my business and solve some of the missing pieces of the jigsaw. It will help me clarify my business strategy and will allow me to take a big step closer to making a positive environmental impact.”

The EU-funded Climate-KIC Accelerator programme is aimed at supporting low-carbon start-ups by providing investment and advice to see them grow their inventions and innovations into fully-fledged businesses.

Climate-KIC was brought to Scotland for the first time ever by ECCI last year and in its first year helped 17 start-ups scoop 14 awards, more than £400,000 in investment and save the equivalent of more than 260,000 tonnes of carbon in a year.

ECCI, with an award-winning hub in Edinburgh and a new base in Hong Kong, brings together people from business, research, communities and governments to turn good low carbon ideas into reality. It supports a thriving community of low carbon enterprises and provides policy insight and evidence to inform government decisions.