Special funding and support available to Portsmouth firms to help reduce their carbon footprint
In the latest University of Portsmouth Business Talk column, we look at how businesses working to develop low carbon technologies, products and services could be eligible for funding and support from Low Carbon Solent.
Low Carbon Solent is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project led by the University of Portsmouth and supported by the University of Winchester and Greentech South – a Clean Growth Technology and Innovation cluster.
The project supports innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to reduce their carbon footprint.
David Hutchinson, Innovation and Impact Development Manager for the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Technology and Director of Greentech South, said: ‘The university has already helped over 200 SMEs to develop innovative low carbon products and solutions through the Greentech South initiative.
'This new funding will allow us to help even more businesses work towards a low carbon economy.’
Businesses can use the Research and Development (R&D) project grants and support to bring in expertise, access test facilities, apply for patents, develop software or prototypes, carry out market research and much more.
Richard Hall, Business Development Manager at Greentech South, said: ‘There are many brilliant businesses in our region developing solutions to reduce carbon emissions.
‘We can offer them an innovation audit supported with an R&D project grant fund, covering up to 36 per cent of project costs, to help develop the product, prove the solution will work and take it to the market.’
Low Carbon Solent grants have so far helped businesses across varying sectors from sustainable personal hygiene to the marine and maritime industries.
One such recipient is Blue Dolphin, a mechanical design and engineering company, which won £40,000 to assist with its low carbon, aviation R&D project aimed at making electrical flights a reality.
Blue Dolphin CEO Dan Horstmann said: ‘The funding commitment our lightweight, aeronautical cell system has received from the supportive team at Greentech South will allow the project to quickly progress its lightweight cell technology from university labs to an industrial prototype production setting.
‘This work is critical in allowing the lightweight aeronautical cell system team to commercially exploit the project’s IP.’
Low Carbon Solent grants are assessed and awarded by an independent panel of experts that include investors, academics and business owners.
Businesses can pitch to industry experts, gaining feedback and advice from these highly knowledgeable individuals.
The team at Greentech South help the applicant prepare for the 15-minute pitch and offer full support throughout the application process.
For businesses not quite ready for an Innovation grant, Low Carbon Solent also offers access to innovation support from University of Portsmouth postgraduate students who can provide access to expertise, facilities and resources.
Expert graduates can help drive a project forward, inject new, innovative ideas in an area where there is a skills gap and facilitate access to specialists with extensive industrial and academic experience.
Prize-winning students help firms to solve their business challenges
A project to help a Portsmouth-based company, which provides social care training and support throughout the UK, has won top prize at the University of Portsmouth’s Business Consultancy Project Awards.
The team of four students (Kevin Ranasinghe, Omar Maqtoush, Kai Yiu Chow and Jamie Robertson) won the award and £500 for its work with Hudson Blake to improve sales and marketing.
The company offers consultancy and training for care staff helping people with learning disabilities and first aid.
The judges were impressed with the depth and quality of the students’ work. The team surveyed key stakeholders and tested their theories with advertising. They also redeveloped the company’s website and social media to ensure a more consistent and impactful image.
They supported the company’s uptake of Trust Pilot, which now has 19 5-star reviews with 167 views in a month, significantly raising Hudson Blake’s profile.
The university's Business Consultancy Project is a no-cost initiative which offers local businesses the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of final year students from the Faculty of Business and Law.