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11 ECCI-supported start-ups join Unlocking Ambition

11 ECCI-supported start-ups, including ten who have graduated through the Climate-KIC Accelerator and ClimateLaunchpad programmes, have been selected for Scotland’s flagship entrepreneurial development programme, Unlocking Ambition.

Agricarbon, Dream Pads, Gecko, GreenSkills, Lenz, Loch Electronics, Reshape, Seawater Solutions, SilviBio, and Waterwhelm, Space intelligence join the cohort of 40 of Scotland’s most talented, innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs.

Backed by Scotland’s First Minister, Unlocking Ambition is a challenge fund created by the Scottish Government as part of the Programme for Government and delivered by Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem partners, which was piloted in 2018-2019.

Businesses were elected for their ability to help Scotland achieve a green economic recovery from COVID-19, as well as their individual entrepreneurial potential, the quality and innovation of their business.

ECCI entrepreneurs participating in Unlocking Ambition represent a broad range of business activity, such as tackling food poverty and reducing landfill, extracting chemicals from used coffee grounds for use in other industries, profitable reforestation of land, energy solutions for hard to heat properties and reusable sanitary pads.

Over the next six months, the group of 40 entrepreneurs participating in Unlocking Ambition will be linked with established and accomplished business people to learn, make connections and explore new opportunities.

Previous Unlocking Ambition contributors included senior leaders from LinkedIn, Netflix, Survey Monkey, Apple and Facebook as well as a range of GlobalScots. Each company will receive access to a £25,000 development grant plus business advice, mentoring and in-kind support.

This year’s programme will be delivered as Scottish Enterprise’s first completely virtual accelerator, making it easier for entrepreneurs to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future X Innovations will work with Scottish Enterprise to deliver a world-class programme of support and entrepreneurial training and mentoring.

To date, entrepreneurs participating in the first Unlocking Ambition programme - which included ECCI and EIT Climate-KIC supported start-ups MiAlgae, Clean Water Wave, Bespoke, Indinature - have cumulatively raised over £10m in business investment, created 146 new jobs and generated £3.2m in new turnover as a direct result of participation.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “These businesses have been recognised for their ability to help Scotland’s economic recovery from the pandemic, and for their potential contribution to our ambitious net-zero emissions target.

“The Scottish Government is investing an additional £1.5 million into the 2020-21 Unlocking Ambition programme to ensure these talented entrepreneurs receive all the support they need to help them grow their businesses. By developing these companies now we will ensure they are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed and showcase Scotland as a world-leading entrepreneurial country.”

Jamie Brogan, ECCI’s Head of Innovation said “This is a really competitive process so we're hugely proud of each and every one of the 11 entrepreneurs who have secured this prestigious placement.

“Furthermore, it's a real validification of ECCI's commitment to supporting and nurturing climate start-ups and entrpreneurs over the past 2-3 years that over a quarter of the highly competitive and sought after Unlocking Ambition cohort are ECCI EIT-Climate-KIC Accelerator and ClimateLaunchpad alumni.”

EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator

Equiwatt business has been supported in its development to date by organisations including Newcastle University and Energy Systems Catapult and ECCI's EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator, moving through stages 2 and 3 in 2018/9.

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.