Seawater Greenhouse and MiAlgae each beat more than 100 applicants to win awards and take home £180,000 of funding.
Shell has awarded two British low-carbon entrepreneurs the equity-free funding to help scale-up their game-changing businesses. Seawater Greenhouse was last night crowned Shell Springboard national winner by Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK, winning a total of £150,000. MiAlgae beat five other national finalists to be crowned Shell Young Entrepreneur of the Year, winning a total of £30,000.
The London-based 2018 Shell Springboard National Winner, Seawater Greenhouse, receives a total of £150,000 to support the growth and commercialisation of its ‘cool house’ technology that evaporates sea water to create a cool and humid microclimate to grow crops in arid coastal environments around the world. Charlie Paton, Managing Director of Seawater Greenhouse, was chosen from six national finalists, out of a total of 125 applicants to the programme.
Edinburgh-based Douglas Martin from MiAlgae was awarded a total of £30,000 as the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The equity-free funding will help MiAlgae to develop its product which uses by-products of the whisky industry to grow micro-algae which can be used to sustainably farm fish. This reduces the environmental impact of the distilleries while simultaneously producing valuable nutrients at affordable prices.
Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK, comments after the awards, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering: “Seawater Greenhouse and MiAlgae are two of Britain’s brightest, most promising innovations to support a more sustainable, low-carbon world.
“Around 90% of all businesses in the UK’s low-carbon sector are SMEs and providing equity-free funding through Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard can be the difference between make or break for some of these companies.”
Nearly half a million pounds (£435,000) in funding has been distributed in 2018, with all six regional Shell Springboard finalists also receiving £40,000 each. Alongside the funding, the winners of both programmes also receive a tailored programme of business support from Shell. More than eight in every ten (84%) of Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE supported companies are still in operation within five years, compared to the national average of approximately 45%.
Charlie Paton, Director of Seawater Greenhouse, the 2018 Shell Springboard National Winner, said: “We are thrilled to be selected as the Shell Springboard winner! It is a huge achievement and a key milestone in Seawater Greenhouse’s development. The £150,000 prize is fantastic and will allow us to take the next steps in developing our business. Being involved in the Shell Springboard programme has been an amazing experience – each stage has been challenging and really helped us refine our business idea. We would like to thank the judges for selecting us.”
Douglas Martin, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award-winner and Founder and Managing Director of MiAlgae, said: “Being named as the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year is such an exciting moment for MiAlgae. The £30,000 comes at a crucial moment and will allow us to further develop our technology and reach our goal of getting MiAlgae to commercial scale.”
Shell Springboard provides funding to UK-based small to medium sized enterprises with innovative, low-carbon business ideas. Every year, the programme awards one national winner £150,000, and a further five regional winners £40,000 each of equity-free funding to help grow their low-carbon businesses. Since 2005, Shell Springboard has provided over £4 million of funding to almost 100 innovative low-carbon enterprises in the UK. Winners also get access to exclusive Shell events, exhibits and workshops designed to accelerate their business development journey.
Shell LiveWIRE supports young entrepreneurs with innovative, smart and sustainable business ideas that meet the ever-increasing energy and resource needs of a fast-growing population. Monthly winners receive £5,000 in grant funding to help develop their innovative ideas and are automatically entered into the annual Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, which awards £25,000 to scale the winning company.
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