Hemp innovators join Climate-KIC Accelerator 2 at ECCI

28 September 2017

Two innovative companies who are using hemp to transform buildings and fashion have joined the second phase of the renowned Climate-KIC Accelerator programme which kicks off today (Thursday 28 September 2017) at ECCI.

Scott Simpson of Industrial Nature, who make building blocks and insulation from hemp crops, and Sam Whitten, whose company Hemp Eyewear is hoping to displace plastic frames with a sustainable alternative, join six of the companies who took part in Accelerator Stage 1 earlier this year.

All eight low carbon start-ups on the programme will receive dedicated coaching, workshops and funding of up to 20,000 euros to validate their business model with customers.

Industrial Nature Managing Director Scott Simpson said: “Winning a place on the Climate-KIC Accelerator is a really great opportunity on lots of different levels.

“I don’t have a formal business background so it’s really useful for me to have that commercial guidance.

“And it can be lonely starting out as an entrepreneur, so having the chance to work with other people who share the same values – whilst also keeping our focus on profit – is great.

“ECCI is a really exciting innovation centre and being based here is really useful for networking.”

Product Design graduate Sam Whitten, Founding Director of Hemp Eyewear, said: “It’s amazing to be a part of the Accelerator.

"I’ve worked so hard for three years – so I’m very relieved and very excited to receive funding to take the business to the next level.

“Hemp is the most renewable resource on Earth – and we wanted to do something with it that hadn’t been done before. We want to develop other accessories and fashion lines too.

“Low carbon is what I’m about so it’s brilliant working at ECCI.”

The companies taking part in Climate-KIC Accelerator Stage 2 at ECCI are:


A distributed energy management system aggregating capacity from local heat pumps to provide heat and hot water at lower costs. Founder Jim Laidlaw is a successful entrepreneur from the oil and gas industry who now wants to make a difference by accelerating the adoption of renewable power generation.



Clean Water Wave

This company’s product is the CAFÉ (Clean Aqua for Everyone) filter, a robust water filter made from upcycled glass that can be provided to NGOs. The aim is that the filter will be used to sell affordable, clean water for profit that can be reinvested to help local develop social enterprises for sustainable development. Founder Stephanie Terreni Brown says she dreams of providing clean, safe water to 10 million people in the next 10 years.



Hemp Eyewear

Hemp Eyewear sells eyewear frames made from hemp, a sustainable and biodegradable and lighter alternative to plastic. Founding Director Sam Whitten and his team aim to sell their eco-friendly alternative to ordinary glasses and sunglasses in optical boutiques, online and wholesale to international markets.



Industrial Nature

Industrial Nature makes building blocks and insulation from sustainable crop-based materials which reduce heating bills. Managing Director Scott Simpson’s dream is to disrupt the mainstream construction market, tackle climate change and improve people’s health by making better buildings.




Applying the most advanced techniques in biotechnology, IntelliDigest are set to enhance integrated waste management process by making available an Intelligent Anaerobic digester, IntelliAD. IntelliAD harnesses the total energy content in foodwaste, eliminates 8.3 kg of CO2 emitted into the environment per truck per tonne of food waste collected as well as providing a healthy working environment for workers. 



Kingdom Innovative Technologies 

Kingdom Innovative Technologies is designing a bright and durable solar lantern for use by rural communities in Africa. Founder Joyce Onuonga aims to reduce carbon emissions by offering a sustainable alternative to kerosene lamps.




Using waste water to grow microalgae that can be turned into Omega-rich feed for livestock and commercially farmed fish. Founder Douglas Martin, a synthetic biologist, got the idea for the company after his work as a north sea engineer was halted by a large algal bloom.  



Retromixer Ltd 

Retromixer sells an inexpensive mixing adapter for separate hot and cold taps that is quick and easy to install and compatible with most types of tap. It reduces water consumption by 43 per cent. Founder Denny Schenk studied industrial engineering in Germany and worked in supply chain management before setting up the company with his best friend Artur Napiorkowski.



The companies taking part in Climate-KIC Accelerator Stage 1 at ECCI secured £400,000 of investment and a brace of prestigious awards. Accelerator Stage 3 will open for applications before Christmas – keep an eye on our home page for details.