ECCI-backed start-up 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.
Founder and CEO Dr Faisal Ghani impressed the judges across all three initiatives with 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.
Currently a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow, Faisal has progressed through Stages 1, 2 and 3 of ECCI’s renowned EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator, which gets climate-focused entrepreneurs and start-ups investment-ready.
The week kicked off with the results of Scottish EDGE - the UK's biggest small business funding competition. Open to pre-trading businesses, Wild Card EDGE awards a grant of up to £15,000 and access to a non-financial support package provided by leading business professionals. SolarisKit shared the overall prize money with 6 other start-ups, receiving £10,000.
On Friday it was announced that SolarisKit had made it to the finals of the MSDUK innovation challenge - the initiative that connects UK Ethnic Minority-owned businesses to corporate supply chains (following in the footsteps of ECCI-backed start-up Waterwhelm in 2019) - and ,in what will be a major step forward for the fast-growing company, news broke that SolarisKit have secured a place on the new Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) Accelerator Program in Dundee, which will provide the team with premises to manufacture their innovative solar collectors in Scotland.
What's more, the flat-out flatpack team clocked up the highest scoring pitch in the ‘eco-business’ category at The Pitch - the independent start-up competition that gives startups the skills, inspiration and network they need to succeed. Faisal will join the top 10 companies in The Pitch finals in November.
Dr Faisal Ghani, SolarisKit CEO and Founder said: “Winning Scottish EDGE is a real boost for SolarisKit!
“We are now preparing for the manufacture of our flat-packable solar collector for installation in Rwanda and focusing our efforts on marketing. All of which are expensive. Funding will be used to cover production tooling costs, packaging design, and marketing activities.
“We are grateful for the continued support provided by ECCI and the EIT Climate-KIC programme through Stages 1, 2, and 3 of this fabulous programme.” Dr Faisal Ghani, SolarisKit CEO and Founder
“Progressing through to the finals of the MSDUK Innovation Challenge and the Pitch competition has really allowed me to develop the SolarisKit story and value proposition.
“Improving our communication was a critical area I need to develop to start my company and the support and training provided by ECCI was a critical part of this.”
“Moving to the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) Accelerator Program is a big step for SolarisKit, moving away from our current premise at Heriot-Watt University to an industrial site, which will provide space for business, product development, and manufacturing activities.
“We are excited to be manufacturing our flat-packable solar thermal collector in Scotland which will inevitably involve growing the team. The SolarisKit team also just love making stuff, and the MSIP site is ideal for this!”
EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator
The EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator is ECCI’s three-stage programme for low carbon entrepreneurs and start-ups in the UK - getting entrepreneurs and start-ups investment-ready by offering the knowledge, resources, tools and coaching you needed to grow into a great business.
Since launching in 2017 ECCI's EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator businesses have secured more than £1.75m worth of investments, won more than 50 awards and made a significant contribution to reducing Scotland's carbon emissions.
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.
Could you benefit from ECCI's start-up programmes?
Climate-KIC Accelerator is ECCI's three-stage programme for low carbon entrepreneurs and start-ups in the UK.