Competition open for local ecopreneurs

FORFAR and Kirriemuir ecopreneurs with innovative ideas for tackling climate change are invited to apply for awards of up to £40,000 each as the Shell Springboard programme opens for its seventh year.

Since 2005, the Shell Springboard programme has awarded £2 million to 53 small businesses who have developed new ways of cutting carbon emissions.

The awards are designed to provide a springboard for many businesses by giving them a financial boost as well as raising their profile in order to help them secure investment.

Previous winner, Dundee-based Oxy-Gen Combustion, was awarded £40,000 to help develop its ultra-low emissions motor engine.

Since winning, Oxy-Gen Combustion has completed further development work and they plan to begin ‘in vehicle’ trials within the next 12 to 18 months. They also secured an additional Scottish Government SMART Award and won the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Challenge for being one of the best low carbon transport technologies in the UK.

David Tonery, CEO of Oxy-Gen Combustion, said: “Winning the Shell Springboard award was a huge boost to our business. It was an excellent platform to showcase our technology and we have developed it to a stage that we are now actively seeking our first investment in the company and I encourage anyone with a good idea for tackling the climate challenge to enter the awards.”

Graham Van’t Hoff, chairman of Shell UK, added: “Small businesses are currently developing an abundance of low-carbon technologies.

“Shell Springboard offers no-strings financial awards to these businesses to progress their ideas and help these technologies come to fruition.”

The Shell Springboard Awards are open to UK based SMEs that have inventive business ideas to tackle climate change.

These ideas must lead to greenhouse gas reductions, be commecially viable and be innovative. Awards of £20,000 to £40,000 are on offer with £320,000 awarded each year to companies from across the UK.

Previous winners include Ashwoods Automotive Ltd which has designed a product that regulates and lengthens the lifespan of electric car batteries. Since winning the award they have added a further £70,000 of investment and are forcast to turnover £400,000 in 2011 with a profit of £100,000.

Naked Energy Ltd which has developed a solar panel which is able to generate both electricity and hot water in cool climates. Since winning, they have secured all of their seed capital investment and obtained a development agreement with Imperial College.

Aeristech is a firm which developed a system that enables car manufacturers to downsize engines cutting emissions and cost without reducing performance. Since winning, they have secured an additional £500,000 of investment.

Shiply.com transports goods in empty lorries on their return legs. Since winning Shiply.com has expanded by 200 per cent and it has just reached a milestone of saving more than 10 million unnecessary road miles.

Scottish Bioenergy used algae to convert CO2 emissions into biodiesel. Since winning the award the company has installed an algae treatment system at The Famous Grouse’s Glenturrett Distillery near Perth in addition to establishing a number of partnerships within the whiskey industry.

The deadline for 2011 entries is November 4.

Full details and an online application form can be found at www.shellspringboard.org