Low-Carbon SMEs Compete for Cash
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with low-carbon ambitions are being encouraged to put ideas forward for a potential share of £330,000 in cash.
The drive is part of the latest Shell Springboard initiative which is now in its ninth year.
Back in May, Shell Springbaord, along with the Carbon Trust, conducted research into the SME sector and found that low-carbon firms were twice as likely than other small businesses to be have peers in export markets and in other industries.
In addition to these positive traits, low-carbon businesses also had higher growth ambitions with 75% looking to expand in the next 12 months and 75% expecting to expand their export market within 24 months.
Furthermore, the UK’s low-carbon market is thought to be worth an estimated £120 billion a year and SMEs account for 90% of the businesses in that sector.
Over the last 8 years Shell Springboard has awarded £2.58million to 71 businesses who have been looking at ways to cut carbon emissions.
In 2012 Vantage Power won £40,000 of Shell Springboard funding for their innovative hybrid electric powertrain that replaces the engine and gearbox on conventional buses.
Vantage Power’s B320 system has been designed to be robust, reliable and to cut fuel consumption and emmisions by over 40% – the B320 is estimated to save £20,000 in fuel costs every year for one double-decker bus it is fitted to and the drivetrain can be installed in existing vehicles not just new buses.
Ths means that, with new hybrid buses costing 50% more than diesel equivalents, operators can make substantial cost savings keeping their current fleets in operation.
Alex Schey, co-founder of Vantage Power, spoke about last year’s cash injection from the competition:
“Since winning the 2013 Shell Springboard Awards, we’ve had a great year. The prize money and national recognition meant we were able to secure additional funding for 2013, needed to enable us to concentrate on building our functioning prototype. We have big plans for our hybrid retrofit engine and Shell’s support for Vantage Power has spurred us on.”
Edward Daniels, Chairman of Shell UK and Executive Vice President of Downstream Technology also voiced his support for SMEs entering the competition. Whilst his own global firm has expressed its commitements to reducing carbon emissions, Shell UK has acknowledged the role of small and startup businesses, saying:
“…we also recognise that fledging business can help fast track solutions. Shell Springboard is a celebration of the huge creative potential that dynamic UK SMEs represent.”
Shell Springboard is now calling for applications from UK-based SME businesses with ambitions to develop low-carbon technologies. The closing date for submissions is 5pm on Friday, 13th December 2013.
For more information and to enter your business visit www.shellspringboard.org