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Celebrating innovation with Shell LiveWIRE (Posted by Geert van de Wouw)

Mon, 16 November 2015

This blog is the second of a special Shell LiveWIRE Global Entrepreneurship Week blog series aimed at celebrating innovation and using it to take your business idea and 'Make it Happen!'
For over 30 years, Shell LiveWIRE has been supporting some of the UK’s brightest young entrepreneurs and helping them transform their start-ups into thriving enterprises. We worked with a range of innovative businesses, from tidal energy generation companies, to biofuels developed from waste coffee grounds.
 
As the Managing Director of Shell’s venture capital arm, Shell Technology Ventures, I am fortunate to meet and work with dozens of entrepreneurs each year. While each start-up and company CEO is unique in his/her own right, they share a critical common trait: an insatiable drive to solve a particular problem through invention and novel applications of technology.
 
Some entrepreneurs want to change the world; some want to prove the unproven; and some are commercially driven to create the next big trend, but their enthusiasm is universal. It is my team’s job to uncover the people and technologies that hold the most relevance and promise for the problems we are looking to solve in Shell, and match them to the right Shell people to generate technology traction. If you would like to know more about this process, I have shared a list of the “Top Ten Rules for Energy Startups” on my LinkedIn page and welcome you to take a look.
 
Additionally, thanks to your participation in programmes like Shell LiveWIRE, we have experienced great success and over the course of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, we will be celebrating some of the most innovative Shell LiveWIRE alumni. We will explore how their game-changing businesses are driving us towards a more sustainable and efficient future, and how they harnessed innovation to drive commercial growth and sustainability.   
 
Our future, according to Shell LiveWIRE winners, is an inspiring one. Million tons of waste coffee grounds will be used to develop second-generation biofuels (bio-bean); the floor tiles you walk on or the football pitch your kids play on will generate kinetic energy (Pavegen); bio-degradable intelligent food packaging will help reduce food-waste (Design by Sol); and you will be able to charge your mobile phone from windows and tables made of dye-sensitised solar cells (Caventou). With every product, Shell LiveWIRE winners are changing the way we think about sustainable businesses and successful start-ups.
 
What’s even more remarkable is that many of these companies start-out on a shoestring. Research conducted recently by Shell LiveWIRE shows that the majority of entrepreneurs spend less than £5,000 – primarily of their own savings – in the first year of launching. 
How much did you spend launching your startup?
This lack of start-up capital makes it even more critical that businesses are able to rapidly demonstrate their competitive advantage and marketability. And proving your innovation is often the quickest way to get noticed by investors and customers alike.  
 
I encourage you to visit the Shell LiveWIRE website, as well as our LinkedIn page, and read more about the innovative businesses run by our alumni. Shell LiveWIRE offers monthly start-up grants, coaching and online business support to 16-30 year-old entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas for a more sustainable and efficient future. We support creative enterprises and breakthrough technologies that can help make our cities, transport and natural resource use more sustainable. Together, we can build a smarter future.   

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