Cleantech expertise comes to Worcestershire

Linda Smith

by Linda Smith, founder and CEO of Worcestershire technology accelerator BetaDen

Last year, over 40 world leaders committed to the ‘Glasgow breakthroughs’ at COP26 – a series of commitments to speed up the development of clean technologies to meet 2030 Climate Pact targets.

Here in the UK, we have also committed to a series of carbon budgets through the Climate Change Act, to help us meet our 2035 and 2050 goals.

These ambitious targets have implications for all businesses. They create huge opportunities and risks across every industry – from construction and manufacturing to transport, leisure and agriculture – as well as throughout the entire supply chain.

With a combination of legal directives and customer pressures moving sustainability up the procurement agenda, even the smallest business is now expected to have a sustainability roadmap and lay out, not only what it is doing within its own organisation, but also how that plays a part in helping its customers achieve their own sustainability goals.

Companies will need to adapt existing products, processes and technology to address this new agenda and most will require support and assistance to do so.

The Cleantech industry promises solutions that will help businesses achieve their decarbonisation objectives. But with the country’s environmental and sustainability targets now well within planning range, the sector needs dedicated attention and investment if it is to deliver on that potential.

That is why BetaDen, in conjunction with Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire County Council, has launched BetaDen Cleantech Bootcamp and Workshops. An industry first supported by the UK Community Renewal Fund, this four-month project is bringing leading lights from the Cleantech industry to North Worcestershire to share their expertise with local companies, help organisations identify what they need to change and how, and encourage Cleantech innovators to develop solutions for the real challenges facing local businesses.

First, though, we need to clarify what is meant by Cleantech: that is any process, product or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities.

Starting with four, one-day workshops, the project will help local businesses understand how they can most effectively bring NetZero to the heart of their commercial strategy, what the supply chain drivers for decarbonisation are and how they can rise to that challenge, learn more about the potential digital transformation offers to deliver major sustainability gains, and explore how companies of all sizes can innovate to support decarbonisation, even without the resources of an in-house R&D department.

Eight organisations will then be invited to take part in a 60-day Cleantech bootcamp, providing dedicated time to focus on developing their Cleantech ideas supported by industry specialists, mentors and commercial experts. The eight bootcamp participants will then take part in a pitch and showcase event to potential customers, partners and investors.

Crucially, all participants will become part of an extended Cleantech eco-system, connecting established businesses, start-up and scale-up organisations with potential customers, development partners and investors, as well as helping develop networks in new markets.

Our aim? To actively support local businesses with this essential transition and pave the way for a nationally-significant centre of excellence for carbon reducing technologies to develop in the region.

Promoting low- and zero-carbon technologies is a key part of the county’s industrial strategy and the area is home to a wealth of innovative companies with the potential to make a real difference and play a key role in our long-term success.

But our ability to meet our shared environmental objectives no longer rests simply with the ‘big boys’ or specialist innovators. Putting sustainability at the heart of the agenda opens up commercial opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes, driving operational change throughout the supply chain. The time for action is now.