Tackling society’s biggest challenges to build a better society is a difficult job; but it’s one we can play a vital role in. To make this a reality, I believe it’s essential we work with others to pioneer change that is both far-reaching and sustainable. That’s why, last week we announced 10 successful ‘Big Energy Ideas’ that we will help grow to develop new and innovative solutions to answer the significant energy challenges facing the UK today, whilst at the same time creating positive social impact.
So what is the ‘Big Energy Idea’?
The Big Energy Idea was launched last year and is run by Ignite, the UK’s first energy-focussed impact investment fund, backed by Centrica. We’re working with energy related social enterprises to grow the positive impact they make in the community and drive innovation across the energy chain – for example, this could be creating a new energy saving product or changing how we generate energy. A key way we’re doing this is through the Big Energy Idea which will provide 10 social entrepreneurs with an individual package of investment readiness support and the potential to receive investment between £50k-£2m worth of funding to help them achieve their objectives. The investment readiness support includes the opportunity to gain invaluable business expertise from Centrica mentors, The Henley Business School, The Good Analyst, UnLtd and confidence coach Peter Nicholas, to provide them with the tools needed to grow their social impact.
We had a fantastic response to The Big Energy Idea – we were overwhelmed not only by the number of social entrepreneurs who applied, but also by their creativity and desire to deliver social good. Over the past few months, the team have travelled the length and breadth of the UK to learn more about our applicants. There were some tough decisions to be made, but, we drew up a shortlist of 20 organisations that had both a viable business model and a clear vision of how they could benefit society. These organisations earned their place in the Big Energy Idea finals and therefore had the opportunity to pitch their idea to become one of the successful Big Energy Ideas.
The Big Energy Idea Finals
The Big Energy Idea finals took place at our head office in Windsor and to make the experience as valuable as possible, we interspersed the pitches with a number of workshops run by Centrica people on topics we felt the entrepreneurs could most develop their learning - such as law, digital and responsible procurement.
The judges heard pitches for business support from a wide range of entrepreneurs – from idea, to start-up, to scale-up. After much deliberation we announced the successful Big Energy Ideas as:
- Energise London
- Energy Box West End
- Energy Solutions Malvern
- Gower Power
- Grow-up Urban Farms
- Health Squared
You can find out more about the projects, and watch the film of the Big Energy Idea finals at www.ignitesocialenterprise.com/challenge
Congratulations to the successful Big Energy Ideas! We’re all very much looking forward to investing our time, money and support to power the social impact of each winner. And what’s more, because the profits from Ignite’s investments are reinvested and recycled, their success will help even more social enterprises and ventures scale their impact and make people’s lives better.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress.