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EIT Climate-KIC at ECCI: 2017-2020

Through our renowned EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programmes, from 2017-2020, ECCI supported 43 innovative climate start-ups to create 115 jobs, earn over £8m investment and £6.5m in grants and awards, create £1.44m turnover and 42 new products and services.

Furthermore, a carbon audit of 2018 alone calculated the total programme carbon savings was equivalent to mitigating emissions the weight of 136 male Asian elephants or avoiding the emissions produced by generating 2,589MWh of UK-grid electricity.

EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator

Through ECCI's partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, the three stage Accelerator programme gave entrepreneurs funding, coaching and support to develop a successful business model.

The world-renowned initiative is the only EU acceleration programme focused on climate impact by climate-focused commercialisation. Over the last nine years, the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator has supported over 2000 early-stage climate positive ventures in 32 locations across Europe.

Launched in Scotland at ECCI in 2017, the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator offered early stage entrepreneurs a three-step development programme with access to funding, business coaching with experienced professionals, a range of masterclasses and free workspace at ECCI’s vibrant Edinburgh hub. In 2020 stage 1 and 2 of the programme ran entirely online in response to Covid-19.

  • £574,288 Accelerator grants
  • 115 jobs
  • 59 placements
  • £8,181,438 investment
  • £6,500,194 grants/awards
  • £1,445,000 turnover
  • 42 products and services

Tackling local, national and global challenges

Over the years ECCI's Accelerator start-ups have developed a staggering range of innovations, with products and solutions spannng the full spectrum of the world's industries and global systems, aimed at tackling local, national and global challenges.

Innovations ranged from technology for social change (such as Elpis Solar's off-grid solar technology to enable people in refugee camps to become more self-sufficient and Clean Water Wave's decentralised water treatment system that generates clean, safe drinking water), to transformational solutions for food systems (check out MiAlgae's waste water-grown fish food, Carbogenic's innovative use of waster coffee products and Seawater Solutions who work with farmers around Scotland and Vietnam to develop innovative sustainable farming techniques using seawater) and cutting-edge monitoring and measuring tools that help forestry organisations meet government goals on tree planting (SilviBio) and SME's measure and reduce carbon emissions (Dodo).

Cloking up around £6.5m in grants and awards, the long list of accolades ECCI's Accaelerator start-ups have attained include a couple of AccelerateHer awards; SP Iberdrola Entrepreneural Energy Challenge and Shell Livewire grants; a trophy cabinet full of VIBES, ScottishEDGE and Unlocking Ambition grants; an impressive array of Royal Society of Edinburgh and Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowships; two MSDUK awards and several annual Converge name a few!

Shona McElroy, former ECCI Innovation Team project manager said: "We've been so impressed with the hard work and progress that these low carbon pioneering teams have made in such challenging conditions. It shows their resilience, and the continued demand for new solutions that really help us to make the transition we need to.

"Watch these companies closely over the next few years, they'll be making a large-scale impact to help us on our carbon-neutral journey soon." Shona McElroy, ECCI


ClimateLaunchpad is the biggest clean technology ideas competition in the world. Running in 50+ countries around the world, it was hosted at ECCI in Scotland from 2017-2020. The competition offers entrepreneurs the chance to launch a green business idea and win up to €10,000.

  • 38 participants from 2017-2020
  • 7 went on to take part in the Accelerator programmes: Loch, Reshape, Planet Heat, Bespoke Fabrics, One Cherry, uFraction8, IndiNature
  • Finalits in 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Crover came third overall in 2018
  • Quoin won the European final and made the global in 2020:
  • ECCI hosted event in 2018 in Edinburgh

In November, ECCI hosted the Global Grand Final of ClimateLaunchpad 2018 in a sold-out spectacular that attracted participants from 45 countries around the world. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave a keynote address praising ECCI’s role in putting Scotland at the forefront of the new climate economy, and founder of ECCI-supported start-up Crover, Dr Lorenzo Conti, pitched against 135 cleantech start-ups to win third place, bagging €2,500 and a place on the Climate-KIC Accelerator and becoming the top performing Scottish team in the competition ever.


The Greenhouse - part of ECCI’s Climate-KIC programme in 2018 - offered pre-incubation support and up to €2,500 in funding for starting entrepreneurs with a climate business idea. A precursor to ECCI’s other EIT Climate-KIC initiatives - ClimateLaunchpad and the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator - ECCI supported start-ups My Bonnie Coo, Beech Product Solutions, Generation Home, Project Munro and Undisturbed. The five budding entrepreneurs' innovations range from low-cost micro modular homes, to an eco-tourism rewards platform and a sustainable shower curtain made from hemp.

Climate start-up stars

Carbogenics: (2017 - ECCI Ideas Lab) 2018, 2019 - Accelerator 2, 3

The University of Edinburgh spin-out, originally supported through ECCI's Ideas Lab, has invented a process that turns fibre-rich waste material like paper cups into a new material that can be used in anaerobic digestion and horticulture. Represented by Lidia Krzynowek, Carbogenics was also recently selected as the sole Scottish-based company to take part in the prestigious EIT GreenQ programme, aimed at facilitating lasting partnerships between European high growth start-ups seeking scaling opportunities in China.

IntelliDigest: 2017 - ClimateLaunchpad; Accelerator 1, 2

Multi award-winning entrpreneur Dr Ifeyinwa Kanu is the Founder/Director of IntelliDigest and is developing the world’s first autonomous, ultra-small scale organic waste digester. She has a PhD in Environmental Engineering involving the application of Artificial Intelligence and omics analysis to optimize anaerobic process. Dr Kanu took part in ClimateLaunchpad in 2017 and went on to win a place on ECCI's EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme. She is winner of several awards, including Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship, Royal Society of Edinburgh SE Enterprise Fellowship, Investing Women AccelerateHer Award, Winner IET Innovation Award (Energy), 2017, Winner Edinburgh Climathon 2017, Finalist Pitch@Palace 8.0 (2017) and Finalist VIBES Award (2018).

MiAlgae: 2017, 2018 - Accelerator 1, 2, 3

MiAlgae uses waste water to grow microalgae that can be turned into feed for livestock and commercially farmed fish. It means we can replace the practice of mincing up other small fish to put into animal feed. Founder Douglas Martin was working in the North Sea when a big algal bloom halted his work for months, which got him thinking about how we could put that algae to better use. MiAlgae got on a winning roll as soon as they joined the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme, promptly winning three awards including a Scottish Enterprise SMART: SCOTLAND grant and a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award, and taking on three new staff members. The company went on to win funding from Innovate UK to part-fund its first commercial facility.

Waterwhelm: 2019, 2020 - Accelerator 1, 2, 3

Another of the Accelerator's highlights include low carbon technology start-up Waterwhelm, who won a string of awards and accolades while progressing through stages 1, 2 and 3. Waterwhelm’s solution is a unique, self-powered process for wastewater treatment and desalination - turning wastewater into freshwater while generating renewable energy and fertiliser - and ideal for use in small and remote communities. Founding Director Alireza Abbassi Monjezi was previously a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. Awrds included a prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship and Young EDGE Award, to being shortlisted in the MSDUK Innovation Challenge - the initiative that connects UK Ethnic Minority-owned businesses to corporate supply chains- and securing a SMART Feasibility grant from Scottish Enterprise to build their first plant.

Solariskit: 2019, 2020 - Accelerator 1, 2, 3

Founder and CEO Dr Faisal Ghani leads the development of SolarisKit’s disruptive, low carbon technology - a flat-packable, solar collector providing clean energy in the form of hot water. As well as tackling climate change head on, the technology is empowering some of the world’s poorest people by providing access to low-cost, clean heat. A Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow, Faisal has progressed through Stages 1, 2 and 3 of ECCI’s renowned EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator. In 2020 alone, SolarisKit has notched up a bumper week of good news - winning a Wild Card award at Scottish EDGE, making it to the finals of the MSDUK innovation challenge and securing a place on the new Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) Accelerator Program in Dundee. While progressing through Stage 2 in 2019, Faisal embarked on trade missions to Kenya and San Fransisco, winning top prize in the Converge Awards - Scotland’s annual celebration of academic innovation and entrepreneurship - and being awarded £250k Innovate UK funding to begin trials of their unique flat-packable solar thermal collector in Rwanda.

Innovation at ECCI

In February this year, ECCI became the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, reflecting a renewed focus on creating a resilient, thriving and climate neutral Scotland and wider world, and commitment to supporting innovation.

Keep in touch with all the latest action on ECCI's news and events pages, follow the centre on twitter and sign up for the newsletter.

EIT Climate-KIC Alumni

View a full list of ECCI's EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator and ClimateLaunchpad partcipants from 2017-2020.