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Two of Britain’s most promising low-carbon entrepreneurs win prestigious Shell awards

Fri, 11 May 2018

Shell last night awarded a total of £180,000 of equity free funding to Douglas Martin (from MiAlgae) and Seawater Greenhouse as the national winners of Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard.
Shell has awarded two British low-carbon entrepreneurs a total of £180,000 in equity-free funding to help scale-up their game-changing businesses. Seawater Greenhouse was last night crowned Shell Springboard national winner by Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK, winning a total of £150,000. MiAlgae beat five other national finalists to be crowned Shell Young Entrepreneur of the Year, winning a total of £30,000.
Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE 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.
The London-based 2018 Shell Springboard National Winner, Seawater Greenhouse, receives a total of £150,000 to support the growth and commercialisation of 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. Charlie Paton, Managing Director of Seawater Greenhouse, was chosen from six national finalists, out of a total of 125 applicants to the programme.

Edinburgh-based Douglas Martin from MiAlgae was awarded a total of £30,000 as the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The equity-free funding will help MiAlgae to develop its product which uses circular economy principles to produce omega-3 oils from the by-products of the whisky industry. This reduces the environmental impact of the distilleries while simultaneously producing valuable nutrients for the fish farming industry at affordable prices. 
Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK, comments after the awards, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering:
“Seawater Greenhouse and MiAlgae are two 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.”  

Nearly half a million pounds (£435,000) in funding has been distributed in 2018, with all six regional Shell Springboard finalists also receiving £40,000 each. Alongside the funding, the winners of both programmes also receive a tailored programme of business support from Shell. 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%.

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.”   

2018 Shell Springboard national winner, Seawater Greenhouse, with Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK, and judging panel

Douglas Martin, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award-winner and Founder and Managing Director of MiAlgae, said:
Being named as the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year is such an exciting moment for MiAlgae. The £30,000 comes at a crucial moment and will allow us to further develop our technology and reach our goal of getting MiAlgae to commercial scale.” 

Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the Springboard judging panel, said:
“It has been a privilege to meet the Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE 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 and MiAlgae are incredibly impressive businesses and I have no doubt of their 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 or


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