Innovator Support


Innovation is crucial to transforming the UK energy system to meet carbon reduction targets and achieve our clean growth ambitions. Yet many UK innovators face systemic barriers preventing products, services and business models getting to market at scale.

Energy Systems Catapult is developing a new Innovator Support Platform (ISP) that will draw on our assets and capabilities, along with those of our partners.  The ISP will provide innovators with tailored incubation and acceleration support to help address systemic barriers, de-risk innovation, help businesses scale and secure investment.

The Challenge and Opportunity

Transforming the UK energy system to be clean, secure and affordable, will require innovation across the whole energy system, from electricity to heating and transport, and from generation to supply and consumer services.

Start-ups and SMEs face a range of challenges engaging and accessing an historically conservative and risk-averse energy sector. A number of these challenges have been highlighted by the joint Energy Systems Catapult/Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) report on barriers, based on responses from 157 SMEs, “Insights: Helping SMEs to access the energy industry”, published in May 2017.

As the energy system transforms from a centralised, highly regulated and siloed system to a future low carbon, distributed, consumer-centric system, the Innovation Support Platform will help innovators navigate the challenges of a such transformation and capture the opportunities.

Our Approach

The Innovation Support Platform (ISP) will be delivered across three tiers: Universal, Incubation and Acceleration. ISP will be supported by a network of delivery partners, such as pre-existing incubators, to help innovators to establish, develop and grow their businesses.

Universal support 

Standardised support available to all SMEs including access to Catapult partner relationships:

A key partner under Universal Support is the Energy Innovation Centre, who the Catapult has been working with for almost 3 years to help a wide range of SMEs focused on innovations for the distribution networks, for example, accessing Network Innovation Competitions.  The range of EIC services can be found here and EIC success to date here.

Over the next 12 months, EIC and the Catapult will be working together to build further Universal Support offerings, such as building on the successful EIC Hub digital platform and help link SMEs to the investor community and international opportunities.

Incubation Support

Tailored support for selected SMEs utilising Catapult assets and capabilities, and delivery partner offerings:

  • Business Sprint’ workshops,
  • Business Model Development,
  • Energy System Integration assessment,
  • Consumer Insights,
  • Concept testing and validation,
  • Identification of candidates for Acceleration support.

Acceleration Support

Scale-up support for selected high-impact potential SMEs and links to investors:

  • Further Business Model development and validation,
  • Access to demonstration environments such as ‘Living Labs’ and ‘Energy Town’,
  • Engagement with potential corporate customers,
  • Investment Readiness and Partnership,
  • Access to International opportunities.

Both Incubation and Acceleration support will be challenge led, with SMEs invited to provide their solutions to specific energy systems challenges (eg. ‘Power Systems Challenge’).

Future Challenge calls would fall under the general category of Digital Energy and could include themes such as: smart heat, smart buildings, demand-side flexibility, electric vehicle networks, energy storage and network management.

Contact us

Please get in touch if you wish to discuss any of these opportunities with us.

Bid Opportunities
Energy Systems Catapult works with government departments, local authorities and European funding bodies to help overcome one of the biggest hurdles facing innovators - raising funding. Our Account & Bid Management Team can guide you through the various funding options to help you decide the best way to raise finance and fund your business to bring your innovation to market.
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