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North East SMEs invited to put forward solutions to global energy challenges

Businesses in the North East are being invited to put forward their solutions to global energy challenges, with funding and support on offer to help selected businesses take their ideas to the next stage of development.

The Energy Innovation Challenge is open for applications until 1 May 2020 and is supported by leading energy sector organisations from across the region.

David Lynch, Energy Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP), explained: “Through the Energy Innovation Challenge we hope to support small and medium sized businesses in our region to take the lead in developing new ways of tackling some of the issues that are being faced around the world, such as the challenge of providing energy to homes and businesses while also reducing carbon emissions.”

The Energy Innovation Challenge is being backed by the North East Energy Catalyst – a new partnership which brings together organisations in the North East energy innovation, demonstration and delivery sectors.

A series of three challenges will run over the next year and a cohort of up to 10 successful businesses per challenge will be identified by an expert panel. The successful cohort will receive a programme of support to help them develop their solution and bring it to market.

Businesses will also have an opportunity to secure funding towards the development and commercialisation of their business, with Challenge partner Northstar Ventures offering £20k of investment, subject to eligibility, to 10 businesses. Participant SMEs with well-developed business cases will also be invited to submit matched grant applications for Local Growth Funding (LGF) of up to a further £20k.

David Lynch added: “This is an exciting opportunity for the region which demonstrates the added value of bringing partners together through the North East Energy Catalyst. The North East is built upon a legacy of innovation in power, from steam to electricity and now sustainable energy – we are a force to be reckoned with and now is the time to propel the North East onto the global energy stage.”

Businesses can find out how to enter the Energy Innovation Challenge at www.northeastlep.co.uk/the-plan/energy/north-east-energy-catalyst, or can email [email protected] to find out more.


Notes to editors

North East Energy Catalyst
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.

About the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas.

About the European Regional Development Fund
North East Energy Catalyst is part funded via the Innovation SuperNetwork by the European Regional Development which includes the Catalysing Innovation in North East Clusters project, which is receiving up to £1.24m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.