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Business & Economy

North East Energy Catalyst launches SME funding challenge

A new initiative aimed at driving innovation in the North East’s energy sector is offering up to £40,000 of investment to SMEs who can put forward digital or data-led solutions to help monitor and manage energy consumption.

The Energy Innovation Challenge is led by the North East Energy Catalyst, a partnership of energy sector organisations supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

David Lynch, innovation partnership manager at the North East LEP, explained: “Working with the North East Energy Catalyst is a unique opportunity for innovative SMEs given the strength and breadth of this region’s energy sector, which includes leaders in energy businesses, science and research and key infrastructure organisations.

“We’re excited to be launching a series of energy innovation challenges throughout 2020 and 2021, inviting SMEs within the North East LEP area to submit responses to each challenge.”

A cohort of up to 10 successful businesses per challenge will be chosen by a panel made up of North East Energy Catalyst partners.

The successful cohort will also receive a programme of support to help them develop their idea and bring it to market.

£20,000 of investment will come from Northstar Ventures, subject to eligibility, with successful businesses also having the opportunity to submit matched grant applications to the Local Growth Fund for an additional £20,000.

The next challenge is open for applications until September 11 2020.

David Lynch added: “This is an exciting opportunity for our colleagues in the digital, tech and energy sectors to take the lead on a new wave of energy solutions.

“The North East has a strong pedigree of innovation in power and energy generation, from steam, to electricity and now sustainable technologies, each of which has made a significant impact in the international economy.

“We are a force to be reckoned with in the energy sector and this is a great opportunity for digital and tech businesses to engage with partners working on the global energy stage.”