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Isle of Wight’s brightest businesses and entrepreneurs have the chance to gain funding and support that could turn their innovative energy idea into a reality, after an accelerator programme opened for 2017 applications.

The Ignite ‘Big Energy Idea’ Accelerator Programme is looking for local businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations with an idea that will make a difference to society through energy products or services. Successful applicants will receive a package of pre-investment support, including specialist knowledge from experts, and the opportunity to apply for investment.

Ignite, backed by Centrica, is the UK’s first impact investment fund that focuses on energy, providing firms with the funding and expertise they need to help achieve their potential and make a positive impact on society. Since 2014, the programme has supported more than 25 enterprises across the country, committing investment totalling £8 million to firms that are passionate about building a better and more energy efficient future.

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One project that has been supported through the Ignite ‘Big Energy Idea’ is Isle of Wight-based Eccleston George. The arts collective brings together artists, innovators and creative thinkers to work with and develop energy projects for local schools, communities and businesses.

In 2015 the project successfully applied to the Ignite ‘Big Energy Idea’, to help bring to life its idea of transforming zoo-animal waste into usable methane gas.

Nigel George, co-founder of Eccleston George, said:

“The mentoring support that we received from the Ignite team was outstanding, and it really helped us to expand our initial idea.

“We’re only a small organisation, so it was really useful to receive advice from people who have a wealth of experience working in the energy sector.

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“It’s great to see that projects such as the ‘Big Energy Idea’ are available for people who want to help change society, and I’d definitely encourage people with an innovative energy idea to apply.”

Sam Salisbury, Investment Principal for Ignite, said:

“The Isle of Wight is filled with innovative businesses and entrepreneurs.  We are hoping that twenty local businesses enter the Big Energy Idea to make the most of the support and potential investment available.

“We’re looking for people passionate about building a more efficient and sustainable future, and we just know that the people of Isle of Wight have the ideas we need to solve some of the most complex problems facing our society.

“Whether it’s to make an energy idea a reality, scale a business up or increase its reach, we’re here to help enterprises achieve their potential.

“Over the past three years, we’ve awarded more than £8 million to projects across the country and have provided many more with essential mentoring, skills and networking support that they need to bring their idea to life.”

Enterprises must submit their applications before the 31st January. If successful, they will be asked to pitch to a panel of industry and social enterprise experts in February.

For more information on Ignite’s ‘Big Energy Idea’, or to apply, visit http://ignitesocialenterprise.com/.

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