The concept for a Low Carbon Ideas Lab was developed from a project idea of the 2020 Group’s Innovation sub-group and has developed into a successful incubator within Scotland for low carbon businesses. The Lab has the capacity to support up to 15 businesses at a given time. The Lab is a based in, and managed by, the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation. The 2020 Climate Group offered high-level mentorship to the first two intakes of the Ideas Lab, providing invaluable industry knowledge and insight.
The Ideas Lab provides support, mentoring and high-quality accommodation for those with inspirational ideas that can accelerate Scotland’s progress towards a low carbon economy. ECCI’s Innovation Team offers tailored advice, mentoring (through the 2020 Climate Group), bursaries and free access to ECCI membership and their extended partner community.
Through ECCI’s growing international community, the Ideas Lab residents are introduced to new low carbon networks both in the UK and abroad to encourage exporting their innovative products and services. Ideas Lab residents have access to ECCI’s ambitious Carbon Centre in Hong Kong – providing a soft landing for exporting Scotland’s low carbon products and services to Asian markets. In November 2016 the Ideas Labs took on its fourth intake of entrepreneurs, a total of 20 entrepreneurs have been supported over the past two years since inception.
With 13 current residents, the intake has varied from new renewable energy technologies, to urban farming, and from sustainable fashion to financing low carbon infrastructure via impact bonds. The focus is to support ideas from young people, women, international entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to create change in their organisations (intrapreneurs). The Lab’s entrepreneurs have competed in various competitions and several have won prestigious awards, for example, the Green Energy Awards, Shell Springboard Awards (Finalist), Engage Invest Exploit, Shell Young Entrepreneur Award, Clean Tech Innovation Award and Young Edge Award.
ECCI has provided a list of key milestones achieved by the entrepreneurs during their time based at the Lab:
“I unreservedly recommend the ECCI Ideas Lab to low carbon start-ups who recognise the value of high worth connections and excellent business support. To be part of ECCI gave the company credibility and access to other forms of help that are difficult to gain.”
“The list of new opportunities that have come about because of our involvement with ECCI’s Low Carbon Ideas Lab have be crucial to our business’s growth. We have been introduced to key personnel in Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise, SEPA and Scottish Development International. We can’t recommend enough the team in ECCI and the work they do!”
ECCI continues to grow and develop the Ideas Lab and is now on the third intake of low carbon start-ups who receive sector specific support and advice as well as financial support and access to the hub and community. Mentoring continues to play a strong role in the Lab and ECCI hopes to continue the valuable mentoring relationship with the Group in some form.