Minister’s visit backs Bristol’s position as hotbed for energy innovation

November 20, 2014

Innovative Bristol firms developing sustainable ways of producing and using energy have had the chance to showcase their pioneering work to a Government minister.

Energy and climate change minister Amber Rudd visited the region on Tuesday to discover how the South West is leading the world in low carbon development.

Ms Rudd attended a breakfast discussion at the University of Bath Innovation Centre (UBIC) where she heard first-hand from Bristol businesses and academics how the region has become a global leader in sustainable ways of doing business. She also took part in a round table discussion on energy innovation.

The event, hosted by Low Carbon South West and SETsquared, the highly-successful business incubator backed by the universities of Bristol and Bath, showcased businesses’ experiences of sustainable business development, both as examples of good practice and potential models that can be replicated across the UK to help it reach its targets of reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

UBIC, along with the Engine Shed innovation hub at Temple Meads, is a member of SETsquared business incubation and hosts a significant number of the UK’s low carbon tech companies in fields as diverse as aerospace technology, solar energy, defence and wastewater management.

Following the event, Ms Rudd said: “Innovative technologies are essential for the growth of the UK’s low carbon economy and we have schemes in place to help support entrepreneurs across the nation.

“There are a range of exciting projects underway here in the South West and it’s great to hear first-hand how businesses are embracing the opportunities on offer.”

Amy Robinson, Network Director of Low Carbon South West, the region’s membership organisation for the low carbon sector, added: “The South West continues to be a global leader in sustainability technology, because it knows how to develop and nurture innovative organisations and ideas. Having Amber Rudd and her Department of Energy and Climate Change team here to discuss the needs of established and developing businesses through Low Carbon South West, and innovative new start-up businesses through SETsquared, is a great opportunity.”

SETsquared innovation director Simon Bond said: “I am immensely proud of the way the South West is leading the UK’s low carbon sector. What is important is to give these innovative start-ups the support they need to turn their ideas and innovations into profitable businesses that contribute to the local and national economy. SETsquared and Low Carbon South West are doing just that and today was a fantastic opportunity to share our success stories with Amber Rudd.”

SETsquared, a collaboration between the Universities of  Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, was recently ranked as the top university business incubator in Europe and second best in the world by the University Business Incubator (UBI) Index. It supports companies through its business incubation programme, giving entrepreneurship training, mentoring and access to finance through its investor events.

Pictured, from left: Innovation Centre business manager Ali Hadavizadeh, SETSquared innovation director Simon Bond, energy minister Amber Rudd MP and Amy Robinson of Low Carbon South West



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