Scotland’s start-up hopefuls are gearing up for the regional final of ClimateLaunchpad - the world’s biggest green ideas competition.
Fresh from the online Boot Camp and coaching sessions - where they learned to fast track their idea into a business, overcome challenges and secure funding - the finalists will each get the chance to pitch their idea to a panel of expert judges.
The Scottish competitors' world-beating climate change ambitions range from ending the UK housing crisis to eradicating the need for disposable plastic razor blades and “healing broken hearts and broken ecosystems” with an innovative ecoburial service.
Hosted online by ECCI later today, each finalist will have only ten minutes to impress the judging panel, which includes ECCI's Ed Craig (Chair) and Shona McElroy, Cllr Rishi Madlani, RBS and Lucy Stanfield, 2050 Climate Group.
The top three winners will go on to compete in the European final in September, with the goal of reaching the worldwide Grand Final - with prize money of up to €10,000 for the overall winner.
Finalists Callum and Hande Blackburn, founders of HalfWild, said: "We are very excited about the impact and transformation that HalfWild is going to have in Scotland and believe that business solutions that simultaneously address our climate crisis and our biodiversity crisis are essential in the next decade".
Business Development at Net Zero Bobur Ergashev said: “It’s an absolute honour to be on ClimateLaunchpad and a major step towards confirming NetZero appeals to the climate change-cautious community worldwide.
"Looking forward, we hope to win the entire competition. We believe we have both the scale and the product (currently in beta-testing) for this. The road won’t be easy but we truly believe we can make the world NetZero together.”
Pallet Blade's founder, Edinburgh-based Joseph Taylor, said: “I’m thrilled to make it into ClimateLaunchpad, to get the chance to learn from experts in their fields and to turn an idea into something real is a rare opportunity.
"Like a lot of people, I'm depressed by the amount of non-recyclable plastic I have to throw away on a daily basis, I think consumers deserve a choice in this. I'm hopeful that my start-up can one day make a difference, to help reduce carbon emissions and cut the abundance of disposable plastics.
Judge Lucy Stanfield, Chair of the 2050 Climate Group said: “At 2050 Climate Group we seek to address climate challenges and opportunities head-on and believe that innovation and entrepreneurship can come from anyone, anywhere.
"The exciting and diverse ideas presented in this competition perfectly illustrate this and demonstrate the wide-ranging systemic change we need to make our systems work equitably for people and planet. I’m really looking forward to hearing from the finalists and seeing how their ambitious ideas can help create a positive climate future.”
Fellow judge Cllr Rishi Madlani, Head of Sustainable Finance and Just Transition at RBS, said: "At NatWest Group we recognise that climate change is a critical global issue which has significant implications for our customers, employees, suppliers, partners and ourselves.
"NatWest Group has many years’ experience in supporting our customers’ transition to a low carbon economy but the scale and pace of activity required is now rapidly accelerating. I hope some of the finalists we have here today can be part of that solution and acceleration"
In 2018 ECCI hosted the Global Grand Final of ClimateLaunchpad in Edinburgh for the first time, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon giving the keynote address. ECCI-supported start-up Crover beat off stiff competition from hundreds of competitors to bag third place, becoming the top performing Scottish team in the competition ever.
ClimateLaunpad Scotland 2020 Finalists
Applied Negative Emissions Centre
The Applied Negative Emissions Centre aims to help negative emissions technologies suppliers scale and deploy their technologies faster and more efficiently. The recent Carbon Management MSc graduate team (Karen Rossell Mendez, CEO & Deanna Han, COO) will bring together organisations, institutions, and local governments to realize their mitigation potential and achieve ambitious climate goals. @ANEC_global negativeemissionscentre.co.uk
HalfWild is a new venture dedicated to seeing 50% of Scotland’s land returned to natural woodland by 2050. HalfWild will help create much greater levels of native woodland as a 'carbon sink' through the development of new attractive low carbon business models for landowners.
Creators of a retrofitted sustainable solution for trains that reduces slippage and dangerous braking scenarios in winter months. The ’Traction Hub’ increases efficiency, saves money and reduces environmental impact. Co Founder & Director Hamish Geddes works out of Edinburgh. lenztech.uk
NetZero is a banking app that tracks and offsets the carbon emissions of your purchases, empowering individuals with the knowledge to make a personal reduction to their carbon footprint. Ashish Telang is the Edinburgh-based founder.
Pallet Blade repurpose disused wooden pallets to make disposable razor blade handles, reducing the quantity of pallets going to landfill while cutting the need for disposable plastic products.
Quoin are on a mission to end the housing crisis by offering first time buyers a new way to make homeownership both affordable and environmentally sustainable. Quoin's Edinburgh based team are: Federico Moro, co-founder and CMO; Richard Murphy, co-founder and CEO; Supraja Balasundaram, co-founder and CTO; Alexander Koveleski, co-founder and CFO; Alexandra Filimon, co-founder and CCO.
Return To Nature
Return To Nature is a burial service for environmentally conscious people and families. Instead of a traditional two and a half by eight foot burial plot or high-carbon cremation, we aim to offer each customer up to one acre of degraded Scottish upland that will be naturally regenerated with their patronage. Founder Will Brown is based in Milnathort. @ReturnToNature_ wereturntonature.com
Sunheat photons aims to democratize and accelerate access to clean energy technologies, allowing users that don't have the purchasing power to buy solar thermal and solar PV systems access to low carbon hot water and electricity. Sebastian Del Cueto Placeres, Founder is based in Edinburgh.
Ed Craig (Chair), Head of Innovation and International, ECCI
Ed’s focus at ECCI is enabling innovation through partnerships and internationalisation, particularly in the circular economy, rural development and data-driven innovation. He has successfully delivered dozens of innovation projects involving academics, public agencies and businesses in the low carbon sector.
Shona McElroy, Innovation Project Manager, ECCI
Shona manages the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator alongside other ECCI projects that support entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Cllr Rishi Madlani, Head of Sustainable Finance and Just Transition, RBS
Rishi Madlani leads Sustainable Finance at RBS having worked for the bank for over 14 years across the London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt offices. Rishi delivers the Sustainable Energy strategy which encompasses the bank’s activities in supporting the low carbon goods and services sector and has responsibility to support funding to areas with a social purpose. Outside the office Rishi became Chair of the London Borough of Camden Pension Committee at the beginning of 2015. The c. £1.6bn fund is a statutory funded scheme, governed by Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations. The fund recently won an award from LAPF Investments for the best approach to ESG. Rishi holds a BSc. Economics degree from the London School of Economics & Political Sciences where he now serves on the Court of Governors. He is also a board member of UKSIF.
Lucy Stanfield, Chair, 2050 Climate Group
Lucy is a strategy and policy specialist working in the higher education and environment sectors. She is currently working for the University of Edinburgh on a number of initiatives related to the circular economy. Previously she has worked in London providing education policy advice and business strategy for a number of different organisations and as en environmental consultant she worked on the expansion of solar at UK airports. Lucy is currently working towards a Masters in Carbon Management from the University of Edinburgh.
Could you benefit from ECCI's start-up programmes?
ClimateLaunchpad is delivered by ECCI in partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, alongside ECCI’s three-stage programme for low carbon entrepreneurs and start-ups in the UK - the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator. Since launching in 2017 ECCI's Accelerator businesses have secured more than £2.5m worth of investments and won more than 70 awards.