Just 100 days after global leaders met at COP26 to discuss how to tackle the climate crisis, leading industry experts from the world of cleantech innovation will be helping local entrepreneurs, established companies and start-ups across Wyre Forest turn their innovative ideas for low and zero-carbon technology into profitable new products and services.
With NatWest estimating that creating a green economy will lead to at least 130,000 new jobs, up to 30,000 new businesses and a £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy, experts from the Climate Change Committee, Severn Trent, Vodafone, Worcester Bosch, The Clean Growth Fund, NatWest and Warwick University will join local innovators and business leaders for a series of free, one-day workshops beginning on March 2.
The workshops based at Wyre Forest House in Kidderminster are hosted by Betaden North Cleantech Bootcamp and Workshops, with the vision to make the Wyre Forest district a UK leader in clean technology.
Linda Smith, CEO of BetaDen, said: “BetaDen North Cleantech Bootcamp and Workshops are an industry first, bringing leading Cleantech experts from around the country to Worcestershire to share their expertise with local businesses.
“Commitments signed up to at COP26 have made decarbonising industry everyone’s business – from the smallest supply chain company to the largest OEM – and, with the county’s history of technology innovation, we’re excited by the potential of meeting these challenges head on and building a centre of excellence in the region.”
The first workshop will focus on how sustainability requirements are being incorporated into supply chains across different industries. Eugene Smethurst, director at Atkins, Carl Arntze, CEO of Worcester Bosch, Michael Ayres, managing director at Flexible Power Systems, and Dean Attwell, founder and CEO of Oakland International will share insights drawn from their own experiences in the infrastructure, energy and haulage industries.
The second workshop takes place on Thursday, March 10, when Tony Roberts, head of business and public sector Wales at Vodafone Business will be joined by Shefi Elsayed-Ali, co-founder and CEO of Carbon Re, and Andrew Moore, chief delivery officer for HLA24K Waters, to outline how Artificial Intelligence and other digital technologies are helping companies moves towards Net Zero.
This will be followed by a workshop exploring how businesses can adapt to embrace sustainability and play their part reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions to zero (Net Zero).
Bea Natzler of the Climate Change Committee (pictured), Professor David Elmes of Warwick University, William Jones, relationship manager at NatWest, and Jonathan Tudor, investment partner at The Clean Growth Fund, will explain how sustainability criteria are increasingly shaping business loan and financing assessments, along with the implications for companies and innovators of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance with respect to securing finance and investment.
Finally, the fourth workshop will see speakers including Peter Vale, carbon and circular economy architect with Severn Trent Water’s Innovation Team, and Dr Shai Vyakarnam, entrepreneur, mentor, educator and founding director of the Centre of Entrepreneurial Learning (Judge Business School, Cambridge) explore the opportunities that sustainability offers innovation and business development and how nurturing a culture of innovation can increasingly reap commercial rewards when it comes to future-proofing business.
Places on the workshops are free, with businesses of all sizes and innovators with Cleantech ideas invited to attend. The project is being run by Wyre Forest District Council, Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire technology accelerator BetaDen, with funding from the UK Government’s Local Community Fund.
Ostap Parega, head of North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration at Wyre Forest District Council, added: “These workshops offer an unrivalled opportunity for local businesses and innovators to hear from the leading lights in the Cleantech industry and gain the information and inspiration they need to drive their Cleantech innovations forward.
“From solutions specific to their own companies’ needs to those that can help others play their parts in the journey towards NetZero, the workshops are an exciting opportunity to share best practice, find inspiration and identify partners who can help bring your Cleantech innovation to life and, with no fee for attending, are an opportunity not to be missed.”
At the time of BetaDen North’s launch, Councillor Helen Dyke, leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said: “Supported by the Community Renewal Fund, this cleantech-focused programme is part of our work to reinvigorate the local economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic by providing targeted support for local businesses that will be key to our long-term success.
“The BetaDen North Cleantech Bootcamp will not only actively support our local businesses but also encourage greater investment in the local area, helping attract growing businesses with a focus on technology-led solutions to address climate change and wider environmental issues. That could be through improving energy efficiency, using resources more sustainably or encouraging environmental protection.”
Councillor Marc Bayliss, cabinet member with responsibility for economy and skills at Worcestershire County Council said: “The Community Renewal fund is a fantastic opportunity to make a real positive impact through funding imaginative new programmes that will boost productivity and grow local economies.
“I am delighted to see Betaden‘s plans, and the potential they have to make a big difference in the local community. I would encourage people to get involved where they can. It is brilliant to see that the £2.7 million of funding for Worcestershire is supporting innovative and impactful projects across the county.”