Low Carbon business funding – good news for some

Low Carbon business funding – good news for some


Despite current uncertainties in public policy and government spending, there is one area of economic growth and innovation which we can confidently predict will continue to be favourbly prioritised for years to come, the low carbon, renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental ‘cleantech’ sector…

Are you starting or building a business in this space or can you give your business some “low carbon” characteristics?

I have been helping companies for nearly 10 years in the ‘cleantech’ sector and the changes in public awareness, government support and finance available for innovators in this category have been enormous. From a cinderella, peripheral and untopical side-show 10 years ago, entrepreneurs with this type of business are now served by many more opportunities, ranging from Carbon Trust, TSB and similar public policy initiatives through quite a number of cleantech-focused venture investment institutions to earlier-stage angels specifically prioritising “green” or “clean” growth investment.

Of course, exactly what is ‘cleantech’ is very hard to precisely define and even ‘low carbon’ is quite a catch-all of diverse activities from alternative energy generation through to ways of enabling energy reduction and improved efficiency, in buildings, transport, data-centres etc. This is a wide and diverse spread of business opportunities, exploiting many high and low tech innovatons so even companies who do not think of their business as ‘low carbon’ might actually qualify for some of the higher focus on this sector.

In the east of England region, alongside support from the Understanding Finance for Business programme open to all including ‘cleantech’ businesses, we are fortunate to have grants (R&D) specifically for low carbon activities and very soon a dedicated Low Carbon Fund, for investing in qualifying businesses in the low carbon sector in this region. This fund, to be launched in St John’s Innovation Centre on 27th September 2010, will be managed by Turquoise Associates, investing ÂŁ8m of ERDF money alongside ÂŁ12m of other capital (to be sought on a deal by deal basis) giving the region’s low carbon companies access to an additional source of support alongside those generally accessable nationwide.

If you would like advice on what is available and whether your business might qualify for the regional Low Carbon Fund or other types of capital, contact the Understanding Finance for Business programme via St John’s Innovation Centre.