Support on offer for North East businesses that could help solve current energy challenges

23 July 2022

Businesses in the North East are being offered expert support to develop solutions to current energy-related challenges, including the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions.

Led by a partnership of regional organisations called the North East Energy Catalyst, the Energy Innovation Challenge Programme invites SMEs to put forward ideas for products or services that could help solve some of the issues that domestic and commercial energy consumers are facing.

David Lynch, Energy Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP), explains: “The North East Energy Catalyst includes the North East’s leading energy innovation and demonstration organisations. Together, we want to support other businesses and help bring forward new energy solutions which could not only help with some of the issues consumers are facing at the moment, but which could also bring jobs and investment into our region.”

Businesses selected to join the Energy Innovation Challenge programme will receive one-to-one support to develop their idea; a series of workshops facilitated by the Innovation SuperNetwork on topics including marketing and intellectual property; access to regional facilities like university laboratories; and the opportunity to pitch for investment from a panel of investors who are supporting the challenge programme.

“We know the North East is already home to a huge number of innovative businesses. We can provide the support these businesses need to develop commercially viable products and help put our region on the map as the place that’s rising to the challenges the world is facing,” added David Lynch.

One North East business which entered a previous round of the challenge programme is Otaski Energy Solutions, which had developed AI software which can be used to dim street lights when not in use.

Philip Inegbedion from Otaski Energy Solutions said: “It’s been an interesting journey for us because we have literally unlocked an entire market opportunity that would have taken us years to access, and that’s largely because we are standing on the shoulders of giants. I would recommend the Energy Innovation Challenge programme to any and every SME in this space.”

The Energy Innovation Challenge programme is open to SMEs in the North East LEP area with fewer than 250 employees. Businesses can choose one or more of three challenge themes to address:

  • Solutions to energy challenges and decarbonisation of urban and rural settings
  • Digital and data solutions to aid decarbonisation of private and public sector estate
  • Materials used in any aspect of our electricity, gas and/or water infrastructure.

The deadline for entries is 19 August 2022 and more information is available at Challenges – Challenge North East (northeastgrowthhub.co.uk).

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