CLIMATE-KIC ACCELERATOR: WHERE GREAT IDEAS GROW INTO GREAT BUSINESSES

Climate-KIC Accelerator is the cleantech accelerator with a focus on climate impact. Climate-KIC offers a 18-month programme, divided in 3 stages, to grow your own cleantech idea into a great business.  Sustainable Nation is pleased to run the Dublin-based Climate-KIC Accelerator, and the Accelerator Stage 1 is now open for entries.

 

The Dublin Climate-KIC Accelerator supports promising start-ups by providing the tools, opportunities and network to transform break through innovations in climate innovation and finance. We can help you solve real customer problems. We welcome applications from Irish or European-based companies that are working on a climate-innovation solutions.

 

Enrol now in Dublin, and get the resources you need to develop your business. Apply here

 

Target Sector

Sustainable Nation works closely with the Irish Department of Finance to deliver its International Financial Services (IFS) Strategy 2020. The Paris Climate Agreement Meeting (COP21) placed climate change firmly in the heart of the global financial system, putting an emphasis on how the trillions of dollars required to mitigate and adapt to climate change could be mobilised. This reflected the realisation that holding global warming below the accepted 2oC target would require an unprecedented reallocation of capital. In this context we are keen to work with companies that are developing innovative financial solutions or analytical or data tools that bring value and support meeting the 2oC target – all underpinned by the concept of responsible investment or ESG (environmental social governance).

 

Who should apply?

Can you answer yes to these questions?

  • Do you have a breakthrough idea related to new technology with substantial sustainable finance/ climate impact?
  • Do you have a BASIC business model already defined?
  • Is there a motivated team in place (at least two founders)?
  • The business may or may not have a legal entity formed yet. If yes, the legal entity cannot be more than 2 years. If not, one of the objectives of stage 1 is to create a legal entity.

Benefits?

  • This is an 18-month, 3-stage programme.
  • World class business coaches & mentors
  • Access to a European ecosystem
  • Non-equity grant of up to €60,000 on completion of all 3-stages

 

Programme Overview

Stage 1: Fundamentals

Get the basics right. Focus on your customer and how to get your product into their hands. Which niche are you serving? Which problem are you solving? Figure out how to make money and scale up your business using a solid financial model. Fundamentals gives you a clear vision of how to create highest value with limited resources. Stage 1 consists of a 2-day boot camp and 6-8 sessions filled with workshops, peer-2-peer sessions and start-up stories. Fundamentals comes with a grant of up to €10,000.

 

Stage 2: Validation

Get out there and validate your business assumptions. Talk to at least 50 (potential) customers across borders. We provide you with the skills and tools you need to conduct good interviews, to see through all the false positives and to build your business on real insights. After Validation you’ll be better able to choose your markets and grow by addressing real customer needs.

Stage 2 takes about 6 months, and consists of a mix of monthly meetings and peer-to-peer session.  Validation comes with a grant of up to €20,000.

 

Stage 3: Delivery

In this stage, you use insights from the previous stages to develop a full-grown business plan in which all foreseeable failure factors are fixed. You are ready to pitch your business case to investors and launch it to your customers. Delivery helps you find the partners that enable you to grow fast. Apart from intensive 1-on-1 coaching, we offer workshops on valuation, investor strategy, financial structuring, deal making and strategic partnering. Delivery comes with a grant of up to €30,000.

 

We help you think, act and grow big, so you can reach global domination in your chosen market niche. Apply now – download the application form and return to aideen.ohora@sustainablenation.ie. Closing date for receipt of applications is the 27 April 2017.

TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP – JOIN OUR 2°CAMP

Climate change is one of the biggest existential threats to humanity, but also as one of the largest opportunities we have ever seen. To quote from “climate change” by Joseph Romm; “climate change will have a bigger impact on your family and friends, and all of humanity than the Internet has had”.

 

Climate change really matters. It is also a fantastic lever within organisations, big and small, to unleash potential and positive impact. It could be the transformative purpose that you have been looking for. It makes business sense too. Transformative purpose has been identified as the key factor to achieve exponential growth and recruit and retain talent.

 

Free help to develop your green idea

The opportunity is so hot, it sizzles. Which is why Sustainable Nation designed 2oCamp.

 

2oCamp is a one day workshop that will give anyone with a green idea the tools to develop the idea further. It is open to a start-up or an existing business – everyone with an idea is welcome. Ideas can range from renewable energy to sustainable transport and from smart agriculture right through to new business models and ways to fund projects and make an impact.

 

The 1-day bootcamp, facilitated by our Entrepreneur in Residence, will put you through the steps and you will learn how to develop a successful green business. Our workbook, based on a proven methodology, is practical and direct. 2oCamp is geared to help you move quickly. As a participate of 2oCamp you will become part of our ecosystem, and we can guide you through the supports and access available to accelerate your business.  

 

Supported by Enterprise Ireland and Climate-KIC, we believe the more successful you are, the bigger the positive climate impact your business can have.

 

When/where

Supported by Enterprise Ireland and our local partners it is rolled out across the county. Starting in March:

As a follow on, participants of 2oCamp have an opportunity to also participate in ClimateLaunchpad,  the largest green business idea competition in the world.

 

The cost to attend this programme is normally €150 per person but due to the support of Climate-KIC and Enterprise Ireland, we can offer this programme for free. Register now…

 

Register Now

 

Questions?

If you have any questions, you can contact ron.immink@sustainablenation.ie or call on +353851006307.

CLIMATELAUNCHPAD – THE GREEN BUSINESS IDEA COMPETITION

Have an idea for a sustainable business? Not sure how to get started? Enter ClimateLaunchpad. We’ll help you fast-track your green business idea.  You’ll learn how to get it funded and launched. Worldwide.

 

ClimateLaunchpad is a global Green Business Idea Competition. It is the largest global competition of its type. But is it more than a competition. It is an accelerator programme for early stage companies. Why? Because we need as many entrepreneurs as possible to tackle one of the biggest challenges of our time – climate change. Apply Now. Apply Here

 

Your idea can be an innovation in renewable energy, a sustainable transition in the food chain, a mind shift in urban mobility or any other way to tackle climate change.

 

This competition is open to early stage companies/ ideas – so even if your idea is written on the back of a napkin we want to hear it. In ideal terms you:

  • have not yet started a business or you started it less than one year ago;
  • have no substantial revenue;
  • you have attracted no more than € 200,000 in investment;
  • you have not yet sold products, solutions or prototypes on commercial terms.

 

How does it work…first apply for the programme Here. Once chosen for the programme you will work through the following steps.

 

Step 1: Boot Camp

ClimateLaunchpad kicks off with a 2-day Boot Camp in Dublin on the 15 and 16 June. Our international trainers will teach you all you need to know about jumpstarting your business.

 

Step 2: Intensive coaching and National Finals

The Boot Camp is followed by a period of intensive coaching. The six coaching sessions will take place in Dublin during June, July and August.

  • the Deal & Market
  • your Customer and Product
  • Financials
  • Climate Impact
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Team & Founders Dream

In between each coaching session Sustainable Nation’s Entrepreneur in Residence, will be on hand to provide additional support.

At the National Final, which will take place in the first week of September, you’ll get to pitch in front of our national jury. The top-3 will go forward to the Grand Final, which will be held in Cyprus.

 

Step 3: Grand Final in Cyprus in October

The Top-10 competitors in the Grand Final will get direct access to the Climate-KIC Accelerator, the renowned business school where great ideas grow into great businesses. On top of that there is also prize money. The overall winner of the Grand Final receives € 10,000, the runner up gets € 5,000 and the idea that comes in third place wins € 2,500.

All other National Finalists who made it to the Grand Final get a chance to pitch their idea to the review board of Climate-KIC Accelerator. Impress them and gain access to their programme.

 

Climate change is the number one biggest business opportunity of the 21st century. Apply your green business idea today.

 

Train. Compete. Launch. Apply Now. Apply Here

 

If you have any questions please contact

Ron Immink at ron.immink@sustainablenation.ie or +353 85 1006307 or

Aideen O’Hora at aideen.ohora@sustainablenation.ie or +353 1 525 0290

 

SUSTAINABLE NATION’S CEO JOINS CORK’S INTERNATIONAL ENERGY RESEARCH CENTRE STEERING COMMITTEE

The International Energy Research Centre (IERC) is an industry-led collaborative research centre in the field of integrated sustainable energy systems, and is jointly funded by the Irish government and industry members. It is one of the largest funded technology centres in Ireland, with a budget of €30m over five years.

 

The centre provides an energy research environment that combines business innovation with research excellence for energy demand side efficiency and systems integration challenges.

 

Established in 2010, the centre has been developed through a novel collaborative concept by means of a Joint Agency Project Team, comprising representatives from Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland working with multinational companies such as UTRC, Bord Gais Energy, Bilfinger and a growing number of indigenous Irish companies. The centre is funded jointly by the Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

 

Commenting on his appointment to the centre’s Steering Committee, Stephen Nolan CEO Sustainable Nation said: “Sustainable Nation looks forward to adding value to the important work of the IERC Steering Committee, in particular around the area of low-carbon investment. To be able to support such a world-class state of the art facility focused on the energy space that is working to solve global energy challenges, create employment and support investment is a real honour.”

 

The IERC is hosted by the Tyndall National Institute, based in Cork, and part of University College Cork. Tyndall National Institute is one of Europe’s leading research centres in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) research and development and the largest research facility of its type in Ireland.

 

Pic: Professor Tony Day, IERC CEO; Jeff Smith, CEO Bilfinger Ireland; Stephen Nolan, CEO Sustainable Nation Ireland; and Bilfinger representative.

DEAL STRUCK TO DEVELOP €220M OF SOLAR PROJECTS IN IRELAND

  • 60 full-time jobs in South and East of the country
  • Work expected to start next year – creating up to 2,000 construction jobs
  • Deal will bring clean solar power to over 80,000 homes

A Dublin-based solar company has entered a joint venture to develop more than €220m of solar projects in Ireland.

BNRG Renewables Limited and French renewable energy group Neoen today announce their joint venture to develop, construct, own and operate a portfolio of solar projects in Ireland.

The joint venture, BNRG Neoen Holdings Limited will co-develop a portfolio of 23 projects in the South and East of the country totalling over 200 Megawatts (MW).

When constructed, the planned total investment in renewable energy infrastructure will exceed €220m. The overall project will up to 60 full-time positions in operation and maintenance and another 2,000 jobs during the construction phase, along with other indirect jobs.

Construction is expected to commence in mid-2018 with the final projects to be constructed by 2020. Multiple projects will be submitted for planning over the coming months. It is widely expected that large-scale solar projects will be support under new renewable energy support policy to be announced this year.

The solar parks and farms will connect to the distribution grid network and will meet the electricity demand of around 80,000 homes locally.

BNRG Renewables is the largest and longest-established Irish solar company. It was an early entrant into solar markets in Europe and the US and is eager to lead the development of the Irish market. Construction will begin this year on its first project on the island of Ireland – a 13.5 MW project in Co Down.

The company has already developed and constructed more than €230 million of Solar PV projects in Europe since 2007, including the completion, in 2016, of a portfolio of more than 20 MW of projects that it owns and operates in the UK. It recently entered the US market, with a pipeline of more than 140 MW at an advanced stage of development in the US.

David Maguire, Director of BNRG Renewables said: “This unique partnership represents a significant investment in renewable energy in Ireland and will be well positioned to deliver first class projects, and real value to the Irish consumer.

“We are delighted to partner with Neoen on our Irish portfolio and look forward to working closely together. There is an excellent strategic alliance between the two groups as both continue to expand their activities in Ireland and internationally.”

Neoen is an independent power producer, generating electricity from renewable sources – solar, wind or biomass –  since 2008. It develops, finances, builds and operates plants and is active in France, Portugal, Australia, Mexico, Mozambique, Jamaica, Zambia, Jordan and El Salvador. With a current base of 1,000 MW, Neoen seeks to achieve installed power of more than 3,000 MW by 2020.

The company completed construction, in 2015, on the largest solar PV project operating in Europe. The plant, located near Bordeaux, has the capacity of 300 MW and its annual generation is equivalent to the total power consumption of all households in Bordeaux.

Romain Desrousseaux, deputy CEO of Neoen, said: “This joint venture is a great match of two experienced European independent power producers working and investing together over the long term to bring about a new competitive solar industry in Ireland with associated job creation and training, while leading to provide clean energy for over 80,000 Irish homes.”

Stephen Nolan, CEO Sustainable Nation said: This is another great win for the Irish solar industry and underpins BNRG Renewables status as one of Ireland’s leading renewable energy companies. We look forward to seeing the joint initiative progress and look forward to supporting in whatever way we can.”

Pic: David Maguire, BNRG; French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thebault; and Nick Holman, BNRG.

SUSTAINABLE NATION HANDED KEY ROLE IN GOVERNMENT’S IFS ACTION PLAN FOR 2017

Sustainable Nation Ireland will this year play a pivotal role in supporting the Government’s action plan for Ireland’s international financial sector.

 

Financial services minister Eoghan Murphy, who is also chair of the IFS2020 joint committee, on Monday announced details of the State’s action plan for 2017.

 

The Strategy for Ireland’s International Financial Services Sector is a five year programme to develop Ireland as key location for specialist financial services.

 

Under the plan, Sustainable Nation Ireland will continue to focus on the promotion and positioning of Ireland as an international hub for green finance, while continuing to raise awareness of the responsible and sustainable investment agenda.

 

The Action Plan for 2017 acknowledged Sustainable Nation’s key role in supporting and developing ideas, innovations and investment strategies to successfully transition Ireland to a low-carbon economy.

 

The plan says: “IFS2020 sets out a vision for Ireland to be the recognised global location of choice for specialist international financial services.

 

“Green finance provides a unique opportunity to build on Ireland’s reputation as a centre of excellence for niche international financial services and as a hub for innovative technology-driven international financial services.”

 

The IFS2020 action plan for 2017 also tasks Sustainable Nation Ireland with:

 

  • the further development of key international partnerships (EU Climate-KIC, UN Principles of Responsible Investment, Climate Bonds Initiative, EuroSIF and CDP);
  • promoting Ireland as a centre for green finance including the establishment of Europe’s first dedicated Climate Finance Accelerator through its on-going relationship with Climate-KIC;
  • co-hosting the Global Sustainable Capital Forum in Dublin in December 2017 (in partnership with leading international publication Responsible Investor);
  • Delivering with the support of Sustainability Skillnet a Certificate in Green Finance accredited at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications and roll out of UN PRI Academy responsible investing online courseware;
  • Supporting the establishment in Ireland of a new low-carbon investment fund focused on investing in Irish cleantech SMEs at a regional level, by extension supporting regional job growth.

 

CEO of Sustainable Nation Ireland Stephen Nolan confirmed the body will update the IFS2020 Joint Committee in Q3 2017 regarding progress.

 

“This key role for Sustainable Nation further cements our mission to develop Ireland as a global centre for sustainable, responsible investment and innovation. We are relishing the challenge.”

 

Pic: Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D.; and Minister Eoghan Murphy, T.D. at the European Financial Forum, Dublin Castle 24th January 2017.

OXYMEM IS NAMED IN THE 2017 GLOBAL CLEANTECH 100

OxyMem, a fast growing Irish Cleantech company who have been
commercialising an innovative solution to reduce costs of wastewater treatment – the Membrane
Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR), was named for the second year running in the prestigious 2017 Global
Cleantech 100. OxyMem was the only Irish company to make the 2017 list produced by CTG (Cleantech
Group), whose work keeps its audiences and clients in touch with emerging trends, leading innovation
companies and all key players in sustainable innovation, which is produced by Cleantech Group,
The Global Cleantech 100 represents the most innovative and promising ideas impacting the future of
a wide-range of industries. Featuring companies that are best positioned to solve tomorrow’s clean
technology challenges, the Global Cleantech 100 is a comprehensive list of private companies with the
highest potential to make significant market impact within a 5-10 year timeframe.
“To be recognised for the second year running in the prestigious Global Cleantech 100 company is real
validation of our efforts over the last 4 years. This highlights, to a highly conservative water market, a value proposition that makes OxyMem the stand out contender in energy efficient wastewater
treatment.” – OxyMem CEO, Wayne Byrne explained.
This list is collated by combining proprietary CTG research data, with weighted qualitative judgments
from hundreds of nominations, and specific inputs from a global 86-person Expert Panel. To qualify for
the list, companies must be independent, for-profit, cleantech companies that are not listed on any
major stock exchange.
This year, a record number of nominations were received: 9,900 distinct companies from 77 countries.
These companies were weighted and scored to create a short list of 325 companies. Short-listed
nominees were reviewed by CTG’s Expert Panel, resulting in a finalized list of 100 companies from 17
countries.
“Sustainable Nation is helping to mobilise Irish talent, capability and business sector to beat the global
2oC target. We are continually impressed by the quality of companies and entrepreneurs responding to
this global challenge. Having initially nominated OxyMem for this honour in 2015, we are delighted that
they have again received this accolade. OxyMem is to the fore in developing game-changing solutions
with global application, and I believe they are setting the bar for other Irish companies to join the
prestigious Cleantech100 list”, stated Aideen O’Hora, Director, Sustainable Nation Ireland.
The 86-member expert panel was drawn equally from leading financial investors and representatives
of multi-national corporations and industrials active in technology and innovation scouting across Asia,
Europe, and North America. The composition of the expert panel broadly represents the global
cleantech community, from pioneers and leaders to veterans and new entrants. The diversity of
panelists results in a list of companies that command an expansive base of respect and support from
many important players within the global cleantech innovation ecosystem.
“From day one, the purpose of the Global Cleantech 100 program was to act as our barometric read on
how the many facets that contribute to the emergence and maturing of an innovation theme like
cleantech (the “doing of more with less”) are changing year on year,” said Richard Youngman, CEO,
CTG (Cleantech Group). “Now in its 8th year, we see more signals this year of the ongoing
mainstreaming of clean technologies, sustainability, and resource efficiency on its journey towards the
point where this is just the normal way business is done.”
• The complete list of 100 companies was revealed on January 23rd at the 15th annual
Cleantech Forum San Francisco: https://i3connect.com/gct100/the-list
• For complete information on OxyMem’s leadership within the cleantech space, access i3 by
visiting i3connect.com—CTG’s leading market intelligence platform
• The list is accompanied by a full report with commentary and insight on the 2017 Global
Cleantech 100—authored by CTG, powered by data from i3, and sponsored by Chubb.
Download the report at:
http://info.cleantech.com/GlobalCleantech100Report2017_GCT100Report2017Submit.html
• The complete list of Global Cleantech 100 Expert Panel members is available at
https://i3connect.com/gct100/panelist

BUSINESS LEADERS LINEOUT FOR SUSTAINABILITY GATHERING

Ireland’s biggest gathering of business leaders, policy makers and innovators focused on sustainability, skills and investment will take place over two days in Dublin in November.

The ‘Sustainability Gathering’ is be held in Dublin from November 21, bringing together more than 500 hundred established businesses, investors, policy-makers and start-ups.

The event, hosted by Sustainable Nation Ireland, will discuss and showcase the many ways that Irish businesses can grab a share of the estimated €85 trillion which will be invested in global sustainability and resource efficiency by 2030.

Among those lending support to the Sustainability Gathering is Ireland rugby star and businessman Jamie Heaslip.

Heaslip, an investor in UrbanVolt which provides Lighting as a Service (LaaS), was speaking at a Sustainable Nation/UrbanVolt partnership event.

The Ireland international said: “To remain competitive and improve profitability, Irish businesses must address sustainability challenges – investors, consumers and society now expect it.”

“The Sustainability Gathering ensures that Irish companies have access to key insights that can only help to increase their competitiveness, their focus on innovation and how best they can finance their sustainable business activities. I am delighted that UrbanVolt, a company in which I am investor in, is a Sustainability Gathering 2016 partner.”

The Sustainability Gathering aims to steer businesses towards making smart, low-carbon investments in Ireland’s future. In doing so this can ensure that Irish investment and enterprise firms remain competitive, improving profitability and driving innovation at a regional level.

Currently, more than 650 Irish-based firms are engaged creating scalable, world-beating solutions and winning investment totaling billions of euro.

After last year’s Cop21 climate change talks in Paris, a clearer global policy framework is emerging that has put global sustainability at the top of the business agenda- creating vast opportunities.

Focused on the entire capital chain – policy makers, capital providers, intermediaries and enterprise companies, this year’s Gathering is once again chaired by Pat Cox, former President of the European Union.

Over the course of the 21st – 22nd November, with some 500 people due to attend this year’s event series, separate events will include breakout sessions on African clean investment; responsible investment; the launch of the CDP Ireland 2016 report; and the plenary session taking place in Dublin Castle on the 22nd November. There will also be a number of important job and investment announcements.

As part of this year’s event, Sustainable Nation will also launch its new five-year strategic plan ‘Positioned to Lead’ with key goals including the targeting of 2,000 new jobs at a regional level, and €250 billion in low-carbon funds domiciled, managed or deployed into low-carbon enterprises by 2021.

Sustainability Gathering discussion panel members will include investment leaders managing billions of euro in sustainability investments; enterprise leaders driving sustainability innovation; policy leaders shaping the energy, jobs and investment policy framework; and editors of major international publications.

agenda

Sustainability Gathering 2016 partners include

logossusgath

Register your interest in attending here

Photo: (L-R) Jamie Heaslip; Mark Foley, Coillte; Kevin Maughan, UrbanVolt; Caroline Pope, KPMG; Ray O’Neill, AIB

HOW MAGGROW BECAME TOP OF THE CROPS

A crop-spraying product that reduces spray drift by more than 80 per cent can help to produce more food, for less.

With the world’s population estimated to grow to nine billion people by 2050, the demand for food and water is increasing dramatically.

That means farmers and producers need to find more sustainable methods to grow food, to maximise their scarce resources and to make their production systems more effective.

MagGrow, a spinout from University College Dublin, hopes to meet this challenge by supplying its pioneering magnetic spraying technology to farmers and food producers worldwide.

“We have to find better, more sustainable ways to grow and this is where MagGrow fits in,” says its Chief Executive Gary Wickham.

Conventional crop spraying struggles to control ‘drift’ – that’s the level of spray which fails to adequately cover plants because of wind and a general lack of precision.

Conventional spraying revolves around large droplets of liquid – but these large droplets don’t ensure good plant deposition or coverage, both of which are critical for effective disease control.

The MagGrow system uses fine droplets that deliver better coverage while, crucially, also controlling drift.

The MagGrow technology is based around attaching magnetic inserts onto a sprayer which sends an electromagnetic charge into a sprayed pesticide.

Wickham says: “All living plants have a positive and negative charge magnetic field so the electro-magnetically charged liquid is attracted to its target.”

Benefits of the technology include: reduced chemical waste, reduced water usage, increased productivity and profitability, extended spray windows and better environmental performance.

MagGrow is aimed at commercial arable farmers, horticultural producers worldwide and also at smaller enterprises.

“Our internationally patented technology is also simple, user friendly and has no moving parts,”

Wickham says.

MagGrow was established in 2013 by Wickham and business consultant David Moore.

Three years on, and the firm is on the fast-track to success; it has raised over €5.5 million to date and won a place on the prestigious international THRIVE Accelerator Programme for sustainability at the Forbes Ag Tech summit in California. It also won THRIVE’s award for sustainability and artificial intelligence.

The accelerator is run by investment company, SVG Partners, and open to the world’s most innovative companies in the Food and AgTech space.

The company also won the Innovation award at LAMMA ’16, the UK’s Leading Farm Machinery, Equipment and Services Show.

Both Wickham and Moore have entrepreneurial backgrounds with the experience of launching successful previous start-ups behind them.

Based at NovaUCD, the university’s centre for new technology ventures, MagGrow employs 20 people and has plans to recruit another 60 over the next six to nine months.

The idea for MagGrow came from a chance meeting in the US with Ted Lenhardt, an inventor and technical specialist with over 40 years’ experience in agriculture.

“Ted had a very innovative idea for crop spraying,” says Wickham, who saw the potential in Lenhardt’s idea.

This led to the technology being developed and commercialised in Ireland at a cost of around €3 million.

The system can be retro-fitted to existing large crop sprayers or used with a backpack in greenhouses or by small farm holders.

The product is currently being launched in Ethiopia and Kenya and will launch in Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands later this year. The US is also a major target market for the product with an anticipated launch date of Q3, 2016.

The chance to play a role in the journey to a more sustainable future is why Wickham and the MagGrow team are so passionate about their business.

And with the launch of Sustainable Nation Ireland, Wickham sees Ireland as a key player on the global stage in the coming years.

He adds:

“We are known throughout the world for our highly educated and skilled people. We are also the base for some of the leading companies in areas such as pharmaceuticals, computing, software and social media. So why not sustainability?”

A LIGHTBULB MOMENT THAT IS HELPING TO SLASH ENERGY BILLS

UrbanVolt accelerates other businesses towards greater sustainability

Compared to traditional lightbulbs, LEDs are significantly more energy-efficient and can reduce consumption bills by up to 80 per cent. But the technology and installation process is prohibitively expensive for many businesses.

So what do you do if the need is great but cash is tight?

Increasingly, many firms and organisations are turning to UrbanVolt, an innovative Irish company that was the product of one super-bright idea.

UrbanVolt retrofits commercial premises with LED (light-emitting diode) lighting, at no capital cost to the client.

The client’s lighting bill drops by between 35 and 50 per cent and in return, UrbanVolt is paid an agreed proportion of the savings achieved over a five-year period.

The award-winning company then maintains the fittings during the five-year agreement. At the end, the client owns the technology and continues to enjoy the cash savings for a further 10 years.
UrbanVolt was co-founded in 2014 by former investment banker, Kevin Maughan, biotech executive, Graham Deane and management entrepreneur Declan Barrett who previously owned a facilities management business and installed LED lights for businesses.

CEO Kevin Maughan says:

“We asked ourselves, what if we created a new way of carrying out energy efficiency projects, a way which would see all the financial, operational and technical risk pass to the service provider?
“So we built an innovative financial model which allows this to happen. Everything we do makes the entire process easy for businesses. It’s all designed to make sustainability easy for the client.”

The service entered the market late last year and since then the company has recruited 22 staff around the country and signed agreements which will save its clients over €4.5 million in energy costs in the first year. Over the five-year period, the 150 businesses will enjoy a €21.5 million increase in cash flow.

Most recently, UrbanVolt was recognised as Service Start-up of the Year by Bank of Ireland.
“When we initially went to market, we had to convince people there was no catch. Some people believed it was too good to be true. But now that we have a solid customer base and a strong referral system from our happy clients.

Our ‘Lighting as a Service’ offering is fast becoming the industry standard. Why pay a huge amount of capital for a depreciating asset when you could have someone else assume all the cost and risk?” says Maughan.

Saving energy is key to becoming more sustainable according to the UrbanVolt boss. “Every single individual and business can now do their part to reduce energy consumption and also reduce costs,” he says.

“This has the added benefit of reducing operating expense; which SMEs can then invest back into their businesses. Instead of using their cash to pay energy bills they can now use it to grow their business and local economy.”
Maughan appreciates the role that Sustainable Nation plays in helping Ireland transition to a low-carbon future.

“There is an enormous amount of experience and expertise in various companies across Ireland, and Sustainable Nation has created a means of bringing these experts together and harnessing their power,”

he says.

“Sustainable Nation’s understanding that there can be no sustainable energy revolution without a sustainable financial revolution is timely, and this movement is something that we at UrbanVolt are very proud to be part of.”