Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Funds for SME eco-innovators

Calling all eco-innovator Interiors & Lifestyle Futures companies.

Ed Davey, the Government's Energy and Climate Change Secretary, announced details, Wednesday 25 April, of funding to help SMEs to develop their low carbon ideas.

If you don't have time to read it all here are the key bits. 
  • £35m for an Energy Entrepreneurs Fund
  • £3m for heat storage innovation
  • Online funding navigator launched 26 April
  • Application details available by summer of 2012

“Part of the way that we're going to tackle climate change and get clean energy is through innovation, particularly with SMEs,” said Ed Davey
“We’re allocating a fund of £35 million, which will help innovators and entrepreneurs develop and demonstrate low carbon technologies.  
“The first wave is going to be in energy efficiency in buildings, things like advanced lighting, heat pumps, ventilation technologies and so on.”

Details were revealed at the first of two days of international clean energy talks in London.

Helping innovators and entrepreneurs develop and demonstrate low carbon technologies  

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund will have a budget of up to £35 million over the next three years and will provide financial support for SMEs to develop and demonstrate their ideas. SMEs will be able to apply for up to £1m funding from government. They can then use that funding to leverage additional funds from private sector investors. 

  • SMEs will also be able to get support from experts on how to bring their products to market.  
  • A panel of investors will provide advice to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on picking the companies to support.  
  • Of the £35 million, £20 million, from DECC’s Buildings Innovation Programme, will initially support energy efficiency technologies
  • Details of the application process will be available by the summer
  •  £15 million will expand the call into power generation at a later stage. 

The DECC will also be launching a £3 million competition, in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board to assess the performance of advanced heat storage technologies suitable for integration with domestic heating systems.  

The aim of this scheme, which is part of DECC’s Buildings Innovation Programme, is to assess the viability and benefits of novel compact heat storage materials which can be installed in homes to even out peak electricity demand from low carbon heat technologies such as heat pumps.  

Energy efficiency in buildings, advanced lighting, heat pumps, ventilation technologies 

Online funding navigator
A new low carbon funding landscape navigator goes live 26 April.

The aim is to help providers of and applicants for low carbon funding link up much more easily. It has been developed by the Energy Generation & Supply Knowledge Transfer Network with support from DECC.  

Users can search for the latest funding opportunities in the low carbon area and get help in finding the right partners to build collaborations for specific calls.  Both public or private funders can add and manage their own funding opportunities.   

A spokesman for the DECC said: “The navigator is a resource for the entire low carbon energy RD&D community, increasing transparency and knowledge sharing throughout the sector.  It will be particularly valuable to smaller technology companies who struggle to keep up to speed with the myriad of support mechanisms in the UK.”

Don't forget, if you have a low carbon idea or product that could benefit from Interiors & Lifestyle Futures' input, you can contact us at or by calling 0121 3331 7925

Follow @adrianilfutures

Friday, 20 April 2012

Reminder: ILF event 25 April, Birmingham

Over the last few weeks, registered members of Interiors & Lifestyle Futures should have received an invitation  to this important event on Wednesday 25 April.

The ILF network of companies has achieved a lot over the last three years as many of you will have seen at the celebration-exhibition (School of Jewellery, 21 March) and reported below.

We are now looking to the future and would like you to join us and collaborations expert Ken Thompson, sharing your thoughts on how you’d like to see ILF move forward.
One of the breakout sessions at last October's ILF event, Aedas

This will also be a great opportunity for you to promote your own business and network with others in the ILF community of companies.

The day-long event will comprise three parts:

  • Show and tell with your product literature and small samples– link-up with old friends and make some new connections – how can you make your current network bigger? 
  • Your experiences of ILF – what has worked for you? 
  • Shape your future – how would you like the ILF community to progress?

We are meeting at the Aedas offices, Colmore Plaza Birmingham B4 6AT and lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Registration and coffee will be from 9.00am for a 9.30am start and finish around 4.00pm.

If you’d like to contribute to the future of West Midlands interiors and lifestyle companies like yours please email us as quickly as possible at

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Successful Interiors & Lifestyle Futures birthday celebration!

A big thank you to all who came along to our celebration exhibition on 21 March and made it such a great afternoon and evening! Birmingham's School of Jewellery exhibition hall had over 80 visitors and the excellent networking buzz lasted well past the official end of the event. It was fantastic to see a broad range of design and manufacturing capabilities represented from the West Midlands in one space.

'A wealth of creative companies'
Glenn Howells provided the keynote speech, championing the wealth of creative companies and designer makers that were exhibiting and are part of Interiors & Lifestyle Futures. The theme of collaboration was highlighted as central to the project’s achievements, including trade fairs, start-up initiatives, bespoke assistance and workshop activities.

'Today is about celebrating West Midlands creativity, I&L Futures achievements and the companies integral to the project.'

Speaking about the event, Graham Southall, managing director of Glassdomain said: “This exhibition by exciting young companies raises awareness of exactly what can be achieved when assistance from government organisations is given to innovative businesses.”

'Innovative businesses'

For more photos from the exhibition please click here
Keep checking the blog for what’s coming up…