Tech Nation launches Net Zero growth programme

The new government-backed net zero initiative from Tech Nation will focus on UK tech companies, recognising those that are aiming for a greener, more sustainable future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions directly or indirectly.

The programme is free to enter, with applications open from today until the 20th July. Up to 30 successful applicants, to be selected by a panel of judges from Cleantech and other sustainability-focused backgrounds, will be contacted at the end of August, with the programme starting in October.

The Cleantech sub-sector has been key in ensuring progress towards net zero; 251 Cleantech companies backed by venture capital have been identified by Tech Nation in the UK alone, and £264 million was raised in UK Cleantech from 76 deals in 2019, a rise of 26% from 2018.

In addition, Covid-19 has highlighted the role of technology in aiding a green recovery.

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“Climate change should not be tackled by international governments alone,” said Gerard Grech, chief executive at Tech Nation. “Technology and entrepreneurship have a huge role to play in dealing with such a global environmental issue.

“The green tech sector has grown substantially and is well-positioned to take on this challenge, making a significant difference to our future. We want to ensure UK tech companies have the tools to be able to drive and scale this innovation, helping the UK meet its net zero targets by 2050 or sooner.”

Digital Minister, Caroline Dinenage said: “The UK is at the forefront of the cleantech revolution and we are committed to making sure the sector has the right conditions to grow and help us achieve our climate change goals.

“I know how dynamic and effective our tech firms can be at tackling global challenges. So I encourage any entrepreneur with a vision for a greener world to apply and help to build a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

The judges of Tech Nation’s Net Zero growth programme will include:

Hayden Wood, co-founder and CEO of Bulb

“The climate crisis remains the largest and most concerning issue of our time, and we’re running out of time to act,” said Wood.

“At Bulb, we’ve seen first-hand how technology can play an essential role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and in building a sustainable future for our planet.

“This is why I am delighted to support Tech Nation’s Net Zero programme, which will accelerate the growth of some of the most innovative technological solutions to climate change in the UK.”

Pippa Gawley, founder and director of Zero Carbon Capital

“Investing in new technologies is a crucial part of the fight against climate change – making alternative solutions cheaper and better than the incumbents will accelerate the zero-carbon transition,” said Zero Carbon Capital director Gawley.

“I’m excited to bring my experience as a climate technology investor to help the Tech Nation Net Zero programme.”

Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme

“We need a new generation of UK companies to help design and deliver the products and services to ensure net zero across every sector of the global economy,” said Caldecott, director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme.

“The transition to a net zero carbon economy will be the most capital intensive phase of human history and this is a massive opportunity for UK startups.”

Mark Hodgson, chief business officer at Cervest

“Improving the long-term resilience of our planet is the most important issue of our time,” said Hodgson, chief business officer at Cervest.

“I am delighted to be supporting Tech Nation with this new initiative for Net Zero startups that helps create a more secure future for everyone.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.