Last month the Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub ran a 2-day growth workshop which took place at the Engine Shed in Bristol. The workshop was dedicated to helping set up and grow a new generation of innovative small firms in the sustainable technologies sector.
The interactive workshop saw a number of businesses join us for the 2-days, which ran on 8-9 October. Content covered in the workshop included growth planning, legal structures and considerations, market validation, and finance options. The workshop was run by our partner SETsquared who have excellent business and university links with expert mentors and consultants who were available to support and guide those attending. Businesses who joined us included Vision 2030 Ltd, E & S Bristol Ltd, Air Source Energy Ltd, The BioFactory, Revolutionworks Ltd, Spaice Ltd.
During the 2-days mentors guided participants with their ideas and offered business advice. At the end of the second day they were given the opportunity to pitch their sustainable business idea to our panelists and after a tough decision the winning pitch went to Eoin Sharkey from The BioFactory.
Feedback throughout the workshop was extremely positive and everyone who attended said they received invaluable support.
Eoin Sharkey from The BioFactory answered the following questions and fed back about his experience, including what he took away from attending the free 2-day workshop.
The workshop was fantastic - I learnt a lot and it was especially useful as I am from an engineering background and don’t have much marketing or business knowledge.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and The BioFactory:
There are 2.4 billion people around the world without access to adequate sanitation. At The BioFactory Ltd, we're striving to solve this crisis by focusing on providing sanitation solutions for refugees and rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. We have designed a robust and easily deployable system that converts human waste into cooking fuel and soil conditioner. The system provides significantly improvement on current sanitation facilities in the areas we are focusing on, which will not only improve the quality of living for these users, but also reduce the strain and cost on local medical services combating the sanitation crisis.
I am the founder of this business, and have developed the system through my final year project at the University of Bath. I was awarded the Innovation Award grant from the Innovation Centre, and am using the funds to develop The BioFactory further.
What type of business support were / are you looking for?
I was uncertain as to what sort of business support I was looking for specifically, before the workshop. I hadn't really planned the business side of the company in very much detail. Since then I have focused my efforts in developing this. The types of support I'm still looking for are accounting, marketing and strategy development. Hopefully the contacts I have made through the workshop will be able to offer me further support on many of these.
How did you hear about the STBAH programme and why you chose to join this workshop?
I found out about the STBAH programme through the Innovation Centre, Bath website, looking through upcoming events. My business is in sustainable development and therefore felt it matched perfectly.
How did you find the format of the workshop programme and expertise available?
The format was appropriate for the event - well paced and structured. The expertise provided through the workshop was at a very high level, with several successful Entrepreneurs speaking and giving advise.
What do you feel you have gained from attending the workshop?
A better understanding of how I should market my business, a better image of who my customer should be and more confidence about how to gain funding and investment. I have also gained confidence in my ability to pitch my business and some very useful feedback through the Pitching exercise within the workshop.
Finally, would you recommend the STBAH and workshop programmes to others?
I would recommend this programme to anyone wanting to build a business in sustainable development. For the workshop to be useful, you should have a business in mind and to have done some work into defining your product/service, and who your customer would be, along with some work into analysing the market in which you'll operate. In the workshop there was a wide variety of businesses attending in very varied sectors, and each found the workshop to be valuable.
The Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub (STBAH) supports business growth in low carbon products, sustainable chemical technologies and the sustainable built environment by offering bespoke support and coaching to help innovative companies in the West of England achieve their potential. The support is FREE and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The next 2-day growth workshop will take place in April 2019. It is free to attend, in order to apply your company needs to be registered and project needs to be in sustainability. Contact us below for more information or to register your interest: