ECCI is hosting ClimateLaunchpad, the global green business competition, again this year. With cash prizes of up to €10,000 this could be your chance to battle your way to global impact.
Before you apply, get the inside scoop from a successful applicant to the 2017 contest - Scott Simpson, Co-founder and Managing Director of Industrial Nature.
ECCI: What’s the driver behind your business?
SS: I worked in community development helping people in terrible housing conditions. Homes were unhealthy from being cold, damp and mouldy and expensive to keep warm. So I did a Masters in sustainable architecture to improve the built environment, where I learned that buildings account for 50% of global carbon emissions - including materials, construction and heating - contribute the most waste and use the most natural resources. Many products are made of toxic petrochemicals. When I did a deep green rebuild of my own home I found I had to import expensive sustainable materials - so I founded IndiNature here in Scotland to develop and manufacture local products on an industrial scale, using local resources.
Working with ClimateLaunchpad, we accelerated the development of our products, moving from our original hemp-lime construction block to a 100% bio-based system.
We now have the world's lowest carbon construction system, made from local crops. It is 100% bio-based, entirely made from renewable plants. This means it is better-than-zero waste because it can be reprocessed to make more products. It is also better-than-zero carbon because the system has locked up more carbon from the plant photosynthesis than was used to manufacture the products. It's a 'breathable' system so there's no damp or mould in the building, and no toxic gases are emitted inside.
ECCI: Why did you apply for ClimateLaunchpad?
SS: I had never run a business on this scale before and was looking for guidance and support.
ECCI: How far did you get in the competition?
SS: We were the first place winners in Scotland and ended up at the Global Grand Final in Cyprus.
ECCI: What did you get out of it?
SS: Some excellent mentoring and a very good, clear programme which laid a very good foundation for our business.
ECCI: What did you learn 0n the bootcamp?
SS: A lot. What was particularly good was the emphasis on pitching - I've had to do a lot more of this to partners, customers and investors and it's continuing to pay off.
ECCI: What were the hardest and best things about it?
SS: I think like most of the other participants, it's really tough pitching in front of people and I still get nervous - but the training and practice you receive from ClimateLaunchpad is really useful and helps you feel more confident. The best thing is sharing the experience with people on a programme who share your values and like a good laugh - and can share their own business experiences which is really valuable.
ECCI: Any tips for aspiring applicants?
Think big - go for big impact and be ambitious. We need global change on a big scale.
Also having a team in place is helpful from the start, or at least letting people know about the gaps in your team you aspire to fill.
How to apply for ClimateLaunchpad 2018
To enter the competition, budding inventors and entrepreneurs simply have to submit an idea or innovation that could have a positive environmental impact by Friday 1 June 2018.
Those selected to join ClimateLaunchpad, which is running in more than 42 countries around the world as well as Scotland, will get dedicated support to fast track their idea into a business and bypass pitfalls along the way. They’ll also learn how to get their idea funded and launched.
After taking part in a bootcamp and coaching sessions to develop their idea into a rock-solid plan, participants will get the chance to pitch this idea during the Scottish Final later this year.
The top three winners of each national competition will go on to compete in the worldwide Grand Final in November 2018. The event will be hosted by ECCI in Edinburgh – the first time this high profile event has come to Scotland.
There is prize money of up to €10,000 for the Grand Final winners. On top of that the top ten winners move on to the renowned Climate-KIC Accelerator programme to help low carbon start-ups get investment-ready.