Better Futures – cleantech incubator gets 3 year extension

18 February 2020

Better Futures, the Mayor’s incubator for ‘cleantech’ entrepreneurs, has been given a three-year extension to speed up climate action in London. And that’s good news for all of us.

To address the climate emergency, we urgently need to reduce emissions from transport, homes and workplaces. That means setting tough new initiatives, like the Ultra Low Emission Zone for London’s transport and zero-carbon standards for all new buildings through the Mayor’s London Plan. But we also need to look to technology and innovation to take on the greatest challenge of our time.

That’s why the Mayor is encouraging growth in cleantech. London is a global hub for cleantech companies that produce technology, goods and services which are kinder on our environment. In the year 2017/18, this sector topped £39.7bn in sales and is now growing at 10.7% every year and over the last decade it’s grown faster here in London than the rest of the UK. 

Better Futures launched in 2017. It has since supported 100 small businesses in the cleantech sector, helping them bring their low carbon and cleantech products to market. Support includes advice from specialists on finance, marketing, fundraising, HR and tax and much more. 

Businesses supported so far include:

  • Verv, a smart energy device that monitors energy efficiency of home appliances helping people cut their carbon footprint. With help from Better Futures, the Verv team were able to raise £1.2m, significantly exceeding their £500k target. 
  • AirEx, a smart ventilation control for homes that helps cut energy bills, by making them warm and well insulated, without creating condensation and damp.  ​​​​​
  • Biohm, a company that’s developing bio-based building materials that will reduce the construction industry’s environmental impact, build-times and costs. 

Of the 100 businesses supported so far, 25 new products have been developed, and analysis shows 22 per cent of them have increased their staff, and 26 per cent have received additional investment.

Now thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Better Futures will run for another three years. The total project budget is now £4.2m, with 50 per cent coming from the ERDF.

It means 100 more cleantech start-ups will benefit from Better Futures’ expertise and development opportunities, helping power our zero-carbon revolution. 

Better Futures puts people at the heart of its development and is taking a lead in driving gender parity in the business world. Working with the London Sustainable Development Commission’s Women in Cleantech project, Better Futures has been able to find and support many more women-led companies. 

The Mayor is also working with Imperial College London to set up a Centre for Climate Change Innovation. The centre will help fuel a new generation of low carbon entrepreneurs in London and aims to translate research discoveries into commercial products and services. It will host a new postgraduate course in climate entrepreneurship as well as provide a workspace for inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs – including those from Better Futures businesses. City Hall is providing a grant of £8.7m to help Imperial build the centre at their White City Campus. 
You can read more and register your interest in joining Better Futures here.

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