Bath’s innovative green tech programme signs on furniture upcycler as second member

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Bath’s pioneering sustainable technologies programme has attracted its second member company as it ramps up its role as the UK’s first business acceleration hub dedicated to the sector.

Collecteco works with businesses and other organisations to donate reusable furniture, equipment and materials to good causes, including charities, schools, voluntary groups and other not for profits so nothing ends up in landfill.

The Bristol-based firm follows the arrival of Bath architectural design firm Hewitt Studios, which is developing a ground-breaking electric vehicle charging station, on the programme.

Based in the University of Bath’s existing city centre innovative unit, the Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub (STBAH), aims to develop more than 130 small and medium-sized businesses over the next three years. 

It is the UK’s first business acceleration hub entirely focused on helping set up and grow a new generation of innovative small firms in the sustainable technologies sector.

The programme is open to firms across the West of England that are dedicated to harnessing technology to tackle some of the key issues in the low carbon and sustainable sectors, from transport and power to the way homes are built.

It offers two specific programmes – two-day start-up workshops focusing on the key elements of early-stage business growth, such as identifying the market opportunity and building a business plan. This will primarily be for very early stage businesses which have been operating for under 12 months.

The other programme is the business acceleration programme and offers mentoring and coaching for more established businesses who are looking to ‘scale-up’. This is more intensive support on an ad-hoc basis, potentially over 12 months, and will be bespoke to the specific business needs. It can cover, for example, specialist advice on bid writing, HR, legal, procurement or engaging with university researchers.

It may involve smaller workshop sessions with a number of businesses (up to 10) or more intensive one-to-one support. This may involve some businesses that have graduated from the start-up programme.

The support is free and funded through the European Regional Development Fund, it is operated by the University of Bath Research & Innovation Service and supported by Low Carbon South West.

Firms taking part will also be encouraged to establish lasting research partnerships with the University of Bath, generating economic growth in the region and delivering on the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Launched in November, this placed ‘clean growth’ among the priorities for the future of UK industry.

The hub, which is operated by the university’s Research & Innovation Service and supported by LCSW, is being funded by nearly £750,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Firms taking part will be encouraged to develop sustainable models and become market ready in areas such as low carbon services, low carbon products, sustainable chemical technologies and the sustainable built environment.

New member Collecteco is based in BristolIt was formed in 2005 after founder Steve Sliney had been working in the recycling industry and then with a community furniture project.

He saw that while there were many projects to help householders reuse domestic furniture and equipment, there was a dearth of organisations helping businesses and other organisations.

The mission of Collecteco is simple: to help organisations donate furniture, equipment and materials to good causes.

Hewitt Studios, established in 2008 as an innovative, multi-disciplinary design studio specialising in environmental-responsible architecture, product and urban design, has signed up to the business acceleration programme to further develop its K:Port concept.

K:Port is an electric vehicle charging hub (EVCH) designed to offer safe and sustainable EV charging with integrated cafe/education space. 

STBAH project lead and director of the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT), Prof Matthew Davidson, said: “Low carbon and sustainable technologies are a research strength of this university.

“Not only will this business acceleration hub enable us to collaborate more effectively with additional businesses, but they will be businesses which are highly innovative with strong growth potential. 

“Having this network available is an important asset for us. It will continue to build on the West of England region’s reputation for world-leading innovation in sustainable technologies and supporting the continued growth of the wider low carbon economy.”

For further information or to submit an online application form to join the programme, visit https://www.stbah.org/.