Small businesses with big ideas to combat climate change could be eligible for up to £40,000 from a new fund launched by Shell. Shell Springboard will provide a financial boost to a small number of UK businesses, who submit the most compelling plans for a product or service.
The judges will be looking for a project that:
- will lead to greenhouse gas reductions
- is commercially viable
- is innovative
Judging will be carried out by three regional panels of independent experts covering the whole of the UK, who will be looking for ideas with the potential to break new ground, but also have sound financial planning and market understanding behind them.
Awards of between £20,000 and £40,000 will be made in early 2006 and six businesses will then be chosen for further recognition. These SMEs will meet a national panel of judges to compete to be named overall UK winner.
The idea behind the fund is that the business response to climate change need not be all about compliance and cost. For those with vision, society's need to reduce emissions can also be seen as a positive business opportunity.
"Tackling climate change is not just a job for governments and big business", said Lord Oxburgh, Chair of the national judging panel in the pilot year of Shell Springboard. "It is also an important opportunity for the four million or more small businesses in the UK. We hope that Shell Springboard helps to inspire an entrepreneurial approach to the urgent challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
Finding financial support, without providing at least some guarantees, can be hard for small businesses. Aside from spending the money on the submitted project, Shell Springboard award winners will only have to write a follow-up letter, provide material for publicity and be part of a future judging panel.
The deadline for applications is 4 November 2005. Full details, terms and conditions, and an online application form can be found at www.shellspringboard.org.
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