Cloud-based energy aggregation and battery waste innovators pick up low carbon funding awards for SMEs

A cloud-based energy aggregation service has picked up the Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE awards, securing £180,000 of equity free funding. Another award went to a firm tackling battery waste. The awards ceremony took place on 6 April.

The programmes are designed to recognise and reward the most innovative UK low-carbon businesses and the most inspirational young sustainability entrepreneurs.

The 2017 Shell Springboard National Winner, Upside Energy, received a total of £150,000 to support the scale-up and commercialisation of its technology. Upside Energy has developed a cloud-based energy aggregation service that creates a virtual energy store that can be sold to the grid to help balance supply and demand and which helps reduce the need to turn on the older, most polluting and expensive power stations during peak demand times. Upside Energy was chosen from six national finalists, out of a total of 131 applicants to the programme.

Carlton Cummins from Aceleron was awarded a total of £30,000 as the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The equity-free funding will help Aceleron to develop its technology which aims to tackle battery waste by transforming end-of-life batteries into energy storage solutions.

Commenting after the evening, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Shell UK Country Chair, Sinead Lynch, said:
“Congratulations to our Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE 2017 winners. Upside Energy and Aceleron are excellent examples of the innovation, creativity and hard work that is driving entrepreneurial growth in the UK today.
“SMEs are an important force within the low-carbon economy. We know accessing finance is a key barrier to growth, and our programmes aim to provide a vital foothold in the funding ladder. In addition, through our wider business support activities, such as coaching events, networking and publicity, we aim to help these inspirational entrepreneurs build successful businesses.”

The Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE programmes are designed to support UK entrepreneurs in starting-up and scaling-up innovative businesses that have the potential to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for over 90 percent of the UK’s low-carbon sector, yet less than half of UK SMEs survive beyond their first five years*. Shell says the survival rates for its Springboard and LiveWIRE winners outperform the national average, with over 70 percent of winners surviving beyond five years.

Dr Graham Oakes, Founder and CEO of Upside Energy, the 2017 Shell Springboard National Winner, said:
“Being named as the Shell Springboard winner is great for our business. It comes at a crucial point, as we figure out how we can scale-up. I believe that this funding and the wider business support we will receive can accelerate our plans.”

Carlton Cummins, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award-winner and Founder of Aceleron, said:
“I’m stunned and surprised at this amazing achievement. When I entered Shell LiveWIRE, I never thought I’d get this far. It’s a fantastic endorsement for our business and I’m personally very proud to be named Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The financial support and feedback we’ve received is going to make a huge difference to taking our battery waste technology to the next level.”

Professor Dame Julia King, a British engineer, crossbench member of the House of Lords and Chair of the Shell Springboard judging panel, said:
“The overall quality of the Shell Springboard finalists this year was impressive – the judges had an inspiring day hearing from six young businesses focussed on making a difference. Their diverse approaches to innovation, encompassing technology, product, process and systems were backed up by strong business plans and delivered real CO2 savings. Many congratulations to Upside Energy.”

Jane Pritchard, Enterprise and Culture Director at Business in The Community, and Chair of the Shell LiveWIRE judging panel, said:
“You can’t help but be inspired by the young entrepreneurs who entered the Shell LiveWIRE programme. The ambition, creativity and intelligence on display is remarkable, and Carlton Cummins’ business Aceleron is a fantastic example of that. It is always a pleasure to be judging the Shell LiveWIRE awards and to meet such an inspirational group of young entrepreneurs.”

About the awards
With a total of £440,000 no-strings-attached funding to be awarded to entrepreneurs in 2017, Shell’s Enterprise Development programmes deliver an integrated approach to supporting the UK’s innovation pipeline at both start-up and scale-up phases:
• Shell LiveWIRE offers monthly start-up grants, coaching and online business support to 16-30 year-old entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas for a more sustainable and efficient future.
• Shell Springboard helps small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with commercially-proven business models that reduce carbon emissions take their businesses to the next level.
In addition to financial awards, both programmes provide marketing support and networking opportunities with some of the key players in the low-carbon and sustainability sectors through annual awards ceremonies, coaching sessions and exhibitions.

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