New SME Incubator & Accelerator launches with Smart Heating and Cooling challenge

Published: 18 March 2019

Following a successful pilot, Energy Systems Catapult is launching a new Incubator and Accelerator – offering SMEs tailored support to de-risk innovation, help their businesses scale and secure investment. 

Incubation or Acceleration Support will be offered by the Catapult’s Innovator Support Platform (ISP), with two Innovator Challenges announced each year, focused on the creation of a smart energy system.

Applications are now closed.

SMEs will have access to a network of partners to help with conventional business growth needs alongside expertise from across the Catapult – including:

1) Modelling services

2) Consumer Insights

3) Digital and Data services

4) Systems Integration

5) Business Model Innovation

6) Horizon scanning & Market Analysis;

7) Funding Landscape Review and investor readiness

8) Technical Expertise and Insights from a whole systems perspective.

Innovator Support Platform (ISP) business lead, Paul Jordan, said: “Many UK innovators face systemic barriers preventing their products and services getting to market at scale.

“Yet innovation is crucial to transforming our energy system to meet carbon reduction targets; and heating alone accounts for over a third (37%) of UK carbon emissions.

“So, Energy Systems Catapult would like to invite SMEs who are working on innovative smart energy solutions for heating and cooling to submit applications for Incubation or Acceleration Support.

“The Innovator Support Platform helps innovators to open routes to market whilst tackling business growth challenges. These could include developing consumer offerings, defining and strengthening business models, product development, gaining access to test and validation facilities, forming partnerships or securing investment.

“The Catapult is also keen for larger corporate businesses to participate and sponsor the Innovator Support Platform to engage more directly with cutting-edge innovators.

“In the future, the ISP will likely focus challenge calls on areas such as Digital Platforms and Services, Network Integration of Future Transport Demands and Smart Buildings.”

One of the SMEs involved in the Incubation Support pilot was Evergreen Smart Power. The Manchester-based start-up is developing a virtual power business aggregating and controlling domestic energy loads resulting from the decarbonisation of transport and heating to suit specific customer, market, generation and grid conditions.

Evergreen Smart Power founder and CEO, Andy McKay, said: “Support from Energy Systems Catapult and its Innovator Support Platform has provided Evergreen Smart Power with invaluable energy industry insights and business expertise that would usually be inaccessible to a small start-up.

“A support programme has been aligned against our specific objectives and needs allowing us to benefit from complementary parallel activities.

“Independent competitive landscaping has allowed us to better understand our key competitors, key strengths and blind spots. Business model evaluation of complex emerging energy sector business models requires in depth knowledge of future energy scenarios and the Catapult could easily assemble experts with the insights and knowledge to develop our business model and value proposition.”

What solutions are we looking for?

The Innovator Support Platform is seeking product or service innovations that have the consumer or end user as the focus, encouraging engagement with low carbon technologies, cross-vector solutions and energy reduction measures. Examples could include:

1) Improving performance and cost effectiveness of building fabric retrofit and low carbon heating and cooling solutions;

2) Better targeted retrofit in homes through the combination of data/simulation/control and packaged installed solutions which could unlock performance guarantee approaches;

3) Lower carbon hybrid heating/cooling solutions for occupied buildings;

4) Advanced multi zone control solutions as an enabler for better performing and more appealing low carbon heating and cooling and delivery of new energy service business model;

5) Innovative solutions at the user-interface of district heating networks that allows improved aggregation and optimisation of the network;

6) Diurnal to multi-day or seasonal heating and cooling storage and related deployment solutions.

The focus of this theme is around the smart, digital, connected heating and cooling solutions that utilise data to encourage consumer engagement to deliver services and outcomes.  The underlying technology which delivers can be considered in isolation but will be looked at more favourably when integrated or considered as part of a whole system.