14 Jun 2018 Seawater Greenhouse wins national Shell Springboard 2018 award and £150,000 prize

  • London low-carbon SME Seawater Greenhouse crowned Shell Springboard winner after intense national competition
  • The prestigious Shell Springboard award was presented by the Chair of Shell UK and Seawater Greenhouse beat off five other national finalists for the £150,000 prize of no-strings attached funding
  • Shell Springboard supports innovative low carbon entrepreneurs to support the transition to a low-carbon economy

Last night London based SME Seawater Greenhouse was named the 2018 Shell Springboard national winner at the highly anticipated Shell Enterprise Development Awards in London. Seawater Greenhouse beat five other national finalists to take home the top national prize, winning a total of £150,000 and a programme of business development support from Shell.

The equity-free funding will help Seawater Greenhouse to grow and commercialise its ‘cool house’ technology that evaporates sea water to create a cool and humid microclimate to grow crops in arid coastal environments around the world. With 5 projects currently in place, the business uses modelling software to simulate the growing environment, which they can custom-design to fit the economic and climate conditions of a particular region.

Shell Springboard provides funding to UK-based SMEs with innovative, low-carbon business ideas.  Every year, the programme awards one national winner £150,000, and a further five regional winners £40,000 each of equity-free funding to help grow their low-carbon businesses. Since 2005, Shell Springboard has provided over £4 million of funding to almost 100 innovative low-carbon enterprises in the UK.

The Shell Enterprise Development Awards also saw the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year named. Shell LiveWIRE supports young entrepreneurs with innovative, smart and sustainable business ideas. MiAlgae, the winning SME, received £30,000 to develop its product which uses by-products of the whisky industry to grow micro-algae which can be used to sustainably farm fish.

Together the Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard programmes enable Shell to support the most promising low-carbon and sustainability technologies which have the potential to play an important part in the transition to a lower-carbon world.

More than eight in every ten (84%) of Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE supported companies are still in operation within five years, compared to the national average of approximately 45%.

Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK, comments after the awards, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering:

Seawater Greenhouse is one of Britain’s brightest, most promising innovations to support a more sustainable, low-carbon world. 

“Around 90% of all businesses in the UK’s low-carbon sector are SMEs and providing equity-free funding through Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard can be the difference between make or break for some of these companies.”  

Charlie Paton, Director of Seawater Greenhouse, the 2018 Shell Springboard National Winner, said:

We are thrilled to be selected as the Shell Springboard winner! It is a huge achievement and a key milestone in Seawater Greenhouse’s development. The £150,000 prize is fantastic and will allow us to take the next steps in developing our business. Being involved in the Shell Springboard programme has been an amazing experience – each stage has been challenging and really helped us refine our business idea. We would like to thank the judges for selecting us.” 

Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the judging panel, said:

“It has been a privilege to meet the Shell Springboard finalists today and to learn about their fantastic innovations. The standard was extremely high and testament to the dynamism of the UK low-carbon SME sector. Seawater Greenhouse is an incredibly impressive business and I have no doubt of its potential to thrive and make a significant contribution to the energy transition.” 

About the awards

With a total of £435,000 no-strings-attached funding to be awarded to entrepreneurs in 2018, Shell Social Investment supports enterprise development through two programmes: 

  • Shell Springboard provides funding to UK-based small to medium sized enterprises with innovative, low-carbon business ideas. Every year, the programme awards one national winner £150,000, and a further five regional winners £40,000 each of equity-free funding to help grow their low-carbon businesses. Since 2005, Shell Springboard has provided over £4 million of funding to almost 100 innovative low-carbon enterprises in the UK. Winners also get access to exclusive Shell events, exhibits and workshops designed to accelerate their business development journey.
  • Shell LiveWIRE supports young entrepreneurs with innovative, smart and sustainable business ideas that meet the ever-increasing energy and resource needs of a fast-growing population. Monthly winners receive £5,000 in grant funding to help develop their innovative ideas and are automatically entered into the annual Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, which awards £25,000 to scale the winning company. Shell LiveWIRE has been running in the UK since 1982 and in that time has awarded 5,145 monetary awards, helping over 880,000 young people in the UK to explore starting their own business. Overall the programme has provided £5 million of funding.

To find out more about Shell Social Investment, please visit:www.shell.co.uk/socialinvestment or www.twitter.com/shell_society