The International Panel on Climate Change is clear: action on climate change cannot wait and circular economy businesses of all sizes and sectors have a vital role to play.
The first accelerator programme of its kind finding and commercialising the best new circular economy start-up business innovations has been launched, according to an announcement from the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB).
The accelerator, run by LWARB’s Advance London programme, is focussed for this first accelerator is the built environment sector and is calling for applications from interested entrepreneurs.
Advance London is working with partners The Carbon Trust and Whole Earth Futures to deliver the accelerator, which will offer six months of free intensive support for up to 10 start-ups. Each start-up will already have a working prototype and be ready to test their technologies in the market.
As part of the support package, desk space will be provided in LWARB’s new offices, together with bespoke mentoring and access to their extensive partner network. The aim is to enable the rapid scaling up of innovations.
This first cohort of start-ups will be focused on circular economy within the construction industry, developing new technologies and business models that can advance concepts such as: modularisation; design for disassembly and re-use; technology to prolong asset life; alternative materials and material re-use; turning products into services; and the creation of data platforms.
Start-up businesses will be selected on their potential to scale up and contribute to London’s low carbon, circular economy.
This marks another step in the Advance London programme strategy of supporting the best circular economy SMEs in London and builds on LWARB’s growing expertise and partner network. The accelerator will also leverage LWARB and London’s existing strengths in the technology, finance, academic and start-up sectors.
Applications will open next week commencing 22nd October, and interested start-ups are encouraged to get in contact now through the Advance London website.
Wayne Hubbard, Chief Executive at London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), announced the accelerator at the P4G Summit in Copenhagen today. He said: “If cities are the engine rooms of the circular economy, start-ups are the spark.
"Start-up businesses are making an essential contribution to London’s transition to become a circular city, and this accelerator is part of LWARB’s strategy to provide support and finance to circular economy businesses from start-up to maturity.
"The recent IPCC report has shown us the need for urgent action - this support programme forms a part of our response.”
Supporting innovation within the low carbon economy and developing the start-up ecosystem are core pillars of the Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy and Economic Development Strategy.
A dedicated circular economy accelerator will help new entrepreneurs overcome some of the barriers to establishing products and services within their market, and help make London’s economy more sustainable.
Shirley Rodrigues, the deputy mayor for environment and energy, said: “The Mayor is working hard to make London a world leader in efforts to promote a circular economy, which could provide London with net benefits of at least £7 billion every year and 40,000 new jobs by 2036.
"The International Panel on Climate Change is clear: action on climate change cannot wait and circular economy businesses of all sizes and sectors have a vital role to play.
"This accelerator is a great opportunity to nurture London’s start-up businesses and help our low carbon economy flourish."
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from London Waste and Recycling Board.