Experts in the low-carbon and investment sectors announced the 2016 winners of the Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard programmes, designed to support UK entrepreneurs in starting-up and commercialising competitive businesses that have the potential to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
Tom Robinson from Adaptavate received a total of £30,000 as the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year, beating competition from 174 other applicants. The award will go towards supporting Tom in taking forward Breathaboard, a bio-based alternative to plasterboard made of 75 per cent plant matter, which locks carbon into the fabric of buildings, helping to mitigate CO2 driven climate change.
The 2016 Shell Springboard National Winner, C-Capture, received a total of £150,000 to help scale-up and commercialise technology that captures carbon dioxide emissions. C-Capture, a spin out company from the University of Leeds, was chosen from over 140 applicants, impressing the judges with its potential to remove or ‘scrub’ carbon dioxide from different industrial gas streams – from large scale point sources such as power stations to smaller scale applications such as biogas upgrading.
Professor Chris Rayner, co-founder of C-Capture, said: “Winning Shell Springboard is a fantastic achievement and comes at a critical time for our business as we look to bring C-Capture technology to market.”
Tom Robinson, Managing Director of Adaptavate, said: “Winning the Shell LiveWIRE title is a fantastic endorsement of our business. We are looking forward to getting our high performing bio-composite materials off the ground, and the award gives us the financial support and credibility boost to make these plans a reality.”
Research by Imperial College London Business School, commissioned by Shell Springboard last year, found that access to funding is a major growth barrier for low-carbon enterprises in the UK, which typically raise 50 per cent less equity than their counterparts in the US. With less than half of UK small and medium-sized enterprises surviving beyond the first five years, the funding and networking provided by Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard is pivotal for companies looking to scale-up and commercialise their business ideas.
Shell UK Chairman, Erik Bonino, commented: “Many congratulations to our Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard winners! The Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, Tom Robinson from Adaptavate, and Shell Springboard National Winner, C-Capture, are inspiring examples of how combining bright ideas with an entrepreneurial approach can help us meet the UK’s low carbon challenge, without compromising our economic prosperity.
“I hope that the financial awards, marketing support and access to some of the key players in the low-carbon and investment communities they will have access to through Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard will go a long way in helping our winners – and other UK innovators –to start-up and scale-up their businesses.”