‘Digital platform and data services’ SMEs invited to apply for Innovation Support

Published: 10 September 2019

Energy Systems Catapult is inviting SMEs focused on ‘digital platforms and data services’ to apply for the 3rd intake of the Innovator Support Platform to receive tailored business incubation and acceleration support.

The Innovator Support Platform (ISP) offers SMEs advanced energy system expertise from across the Catapult alongside a wider network of around 40 firms offering a range of specialist business support.

The ISP aims is to help innovators unlock new routes-to-market, secure investment and breakdown barriers to growth – with two innovator challenges announced each year.

The 3rd innovator challenge is aimed at digital and data SMEs developing innovations to support the emergence of a flexible energy system marketplace and increase adoption of low carbon technology by leveraging data from networks and end users to create new market models.

A shortlist of SMEs will be generated and must be available to attend a workshop at the Catapult innovation hub in Birmingham on October 17th and 18th.

Applications are now closed.

Paul Jordan, Innovator Support Platform business lead, said: “The ISP offers energy system innovators three levels support – Universal, Incubation and Acceleration – to help open routes to market whilst tackling business growth challenges.

“We are inviting SMEs to apply for the third intake of incubation and acceleration support – focusing on Digital Product and Data Service innovators.

“This could include developing consumer offerings, defining and strengthening business models, product development, gaining access to test and validation facilities, forming partnerships or securing investment.

“Innovation is crucial to transforming our energy system and there are a range of digital platforms emerging across the UK energy landscape that will unlock value from greater decentralisation, maximising democratisation for users and supporting decarbonisation.

“Yet we recognise that access to data remains a key barrier, so our Incubator and Accelerator team wants to work with innovators of digital platforms and data services to help them create new marketplaces across power generation, energy distribution or demand sectors such as transport, built environment and commercial and industrial users.

“These would be SMEs developing innovations that could benefit network operators, system operators, energy service providers or end users – through increasing utilisation of low carbon generation, improving demand side efficiency, and optimising use or investment in infrastructure.”

The launch of the 3rd innovator challenge follows the announcement last week of the five SMEs chosen for the 2nd intake of ISP incubation and acceleration support, which focused on the innovator challenge of Smart Heating and Cooling.

The five SMEs selected were: iPower, Logicor, Senergy, SunAmp and Ventive.


What types of SMEs are we looking for?

Ideal SMEs responding to this innovator challenge will be seeking to enter or are active across the Energy System Digital Landscape as defined in the table below, either developing a digital or data solution to address existing energy system challenges or using existing technology to deliver new business models or solutions in an innovative way.

Applications from SMEs outside the traditional energy marketplace from areas such as telecoms, fintech and data analytics / science are also encouraged to apply to this innovator challenge call.

The following table has been prepared to help understand the digital energy ecosystem and the functions performed by the platforms and services within the layers.

Energy System Digital Landscape Assets / Platforms / Services
Consumer Services


Digital Utilities / Service Providers, DER as a Service / EV Car Sharing / Charging Platforms
Decision Support Energy Price Comparison
Transactions Peer 2 Peer Trading / Market Access Platforms
Asset Control Management SME Systems / Predictive Maintenance / Vehicle 2 Grid / Virtual Power Plant & Load Management / Aggregators / Charge Point Operation
Local Energy Market Platforms

(includes Community Energy Trading platforms)

Microgrid Management / Constraint Management / Distributed Energy Resources Management System / Asset Register Systems
Asset Operations & Data Smart Meter Data based services / Internet of Things Manufacturers / Infrastructure Management and Monitoring
Data Management and Access Consumer Data Access and Visualisation / Data Evaluation and Sharing / API Development for Secure Data Sharing / Utilising Data to Provide Services / Integration with Billing Services / Unstructured Data Harvesting and Analysis (public social media posts)