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Investment on offer to help SMEs develop tech solutions to energy challenges

Up to £40,000 of investment is on offer to SMEs in the North East who can put forward digital or data-led solutions to help monitor and manage energy consumption.

The Energy Innovation Challenge is led by the North East Energy Catalyst, a partnership of leading energy sector organisations which aims to develop solutions to global energy challenges here in the North East.

David Lynch, Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) who supports the work of the Energy Catalyst, explained: “Working with the North East Energy Catalyst is a unique opportunity for innovative SMEs given the strength and breadth of this region’s energy sector, which includes leaders in energy businesses, science and research and key infrastructure organisations.”

“We’re excited to be launching a series of energy innovation challenges throughout 2020 and 2021, inviting SMEs within the North East LEP area to submit responses to each challenge.”

A cohort of up to 10 successful businesses per challenge will be identified by an expert panel, drawing on the North East Energy Catalyst partners’ expertise. The successful cohort will receive a programme of support which will help them develop their idea and bring it to market.

This will include £20,000 of investment from Northstar Ventures, subject to eligibility criteria, which will be offered to 10 businesses across the programme, and the opportunity to submit matched grant applications for Local Growth Funding of up to a further £20k.

The next challenge is open for applications until noon on 18 September 2020 and SMEs are invited to put forward data or digital-led solutions that can help businesses to track energy consumption, or that can be used at sites like airports, ports and business parks to help manage energy savings.

David Lynch added: “This is an exciting opportunity for our colleagues in the digital, tech and energy sectors to take the lead on a new wave of energy solutions.

“The North East has a strong pedigree of innovation in power and energy generation, from steam, to electricity and now sustainable technologies, each of which has made a significant impact in the international economy. We are a force to be reckoned with in the energy sector and this is a great opportunity for digital and tech businesses to engage with partners working on the global energy stage.”

More details about the challenge are available here or from David Lynch on [email protected].

The North East Energy Catalyst is a ground-breaking partnership to unite the North East’s leading energy innovation, demonstration and delivery capabilities. Facilitated by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), North East Energy Catalyst partners are: Newcastle University; Durham University; Northumbria University; Zero Carbon Futures (a subsidiary of Gateshead College); Northern Powergrid; Northern Gas Networks; The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult; The British Engines Group; Innovation SuperNetwork; Northumbrian Water; The North of Tyne Combined Authority; The North East Combined Authority.