London’s low-carbon SMEs get a £900K boost from Mayor’s green new deal

An initiative to support low-carbon and cleantech businesses across the capital has received a £900,000 funding boost as part of the Mayor’s Green New Deal.  The Better Futures Programme, which launched in 2017, has already helped more than 150 businesses create hundreds of green-collar jobs in the low-carbon and circular industries here in London.

The new funding, Better Futures Plus, is part of the Mayor’s £10m commitment to support 1,000 green jobs to boost London’s economic recovery from COVID-19, will help nurture some of the most exciting new green businesses in the capital.

Better Futures is a £4.2m ERDF part-funded business support project run by a partnership led by the GLA that is made up of Imperial College London, Sustainable Ventures, Old Oak Park Royal Development Corporation and West London Business.

The new funding will mean Better Futures can:

  • Support an additional 60-80 businesses over the next year, including Green Innovation Vouchers for 12 businesses coordinated by West London Business
  • Help entrepreneurs access academic and industry expertise from Imperial College London to help them improve their businesses.
  • Work with commercialisation experts at Sustainable Ventures to prepare their businesses for growth through product development, strategic planning and investment readiness.
  • Provide small grants to low carbon, circular economy SMEs that have been hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19.
  • Provide additional support and mentoring to the 150 low-carbon businesses that have already benefited from the Better Futures Programme.
  • Expand the availability of paid internships to hard to reach and diverse groups across the capital, including college students.
  • Prioritise support for low carbon businesses led by women and members of the BAME community

LSDC Commissioner Professor Richard Templer, who is also the Hofmann Professor and Director of Innovation at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, said:

“Low carbon, cleantech and circular businesses are the future of London’s growth so it’s vital that they can access as much high-quality support as possible when they are at the start of their commercial life.

“Supporting businesses that will help tackle climate change, air pollution and create jobs in a post-COVID world is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it is essential. If you think your business would benefit from grants, world-leading academic input and funding support please do apply.”

One of the businesses that has already benefited from Better Futures is CauliBox.  Co-founder Josephine Liang said:

“As the UK’s first tech-enabled reusable lunchbox scheme, CauliBox has benefited tremendously from the Better Futures Programme, including accessing a wide range of resources such as intern funding, events and webinars, innovation and business advice.

“The support we get has been vital for our growth, particularly during this Pandemic and economic downturn, to continue cutting single-use food packaging in the takeaway sector, as we prepare to launch the much-anticipated delivery trial in London.”

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor, Environment and Energy, said:

“Better Futures provides direct support to businesses that are driving the Mayor of London’s Green New Deal. This investment will help entrepreneurs and innovators who will create green jobs, tackle the climate emergency and address inequalities across London. We are proud to support Better Futures and look forward to seeing these companies flourish in the coming years as we rebuild our economy and society post-COVID so that it is cleaner, greener and fairer.”