Shell opens £350k low-carbon SME scheme

Franziska Srocke (centre) of Edinburgh-based Carbogenics at last year's Shell Springboard awards. Picture: Contributed
Franziska Srocke (centre) of Edinburgh-based Carbogenics at last year's Shell Springboard awards. Picture: Contributed
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Oil and gas giant Shell has opened applications for its annual funding scheme to support low-carbon UK enterprises.

Shell Springboard 2019 is a national programme that awards £350,000 “no-strings” funding to UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with innovative models or products that reduce carbon emissions and are economically viable.

Six regional winners will each receive £40,000 of equity-free funding, while the national winner will be awarded an additional £110,000.

Finalists in the 2018 awards included Edinburgh-based Carbogenics, a business that turns paper waste into “CreChar”, a carbon-rich material that stimulates biogas production and improves plant growth.

The overall winner, Seawater Greenhouse, whose cool house technology allows crops to grow in arid regions, has since further expanded its work in Somaliland, while Upside Energy, 2017’s victorious SME, recently secured an Innovate UK grant worth £470,000.

The programme claims it also helps winning SMEs to generate positive publicity and attract investor interest by providing a “respected quality assurance” stamp.

More than eight in every ten Shell-supported companies are still in operation within five years, compared to the national average of approximately 45 per cent.

Sinead Lynch, Shell UK country chair said: “If you’ve got a brilliant low-carbon innovation, we really want to hear from you.

“While we don’t have any equity in the businesses we support through Shell Springboard, we want to see them scale-up, attract private investors and play a part in shifting the UK to a low-carbon economy.”

Since 2005, Shell Springboard has provided some £4 million to more than 100 innovative low-carbon enterprises.

Shell will be accepting applications to the Shell Springboard programme until 10am on 29 October and invites interested low-carbon SMEs to apply online at www.shellspringboard.org.