SMEs unlocking global low carbon markets

25th June, 2013

Smaller, younger technology firms are helping the UK to unlock a larger share of the £3 trillion global low carbon sector, a new study has found. Research by Shell Springboard and the Carbon Trust has found that the number of small UK businesses targeting a growing international market for low carbon products has doubled in the past two years, rising from 37% in 2011 to 76% in 2013. Almost two in five SMEs have entered foreign markets with new low carbon technologies, making start-ups in the low carbon sector almost twice as likely to have secured export deals as small businesses in other industries. Three-quarters of small enterprises plan to expand into new markets in the next 24 months.

The USA and Germany were the most popular export markets. China, India, Australia, the Middle East, Canada and South America were among the top destinations companies plan to expand into over the next two years. Analysis of almost 2,000 low carbon SMEs found London, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds and Southampton to be the UK’s leading hubs for low carbon innovation. Relative to population size, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire also had high proportions of low carbon SMEs.

Key challenges for the sector were found to be access to funding, technology demonstration opportunities and securing the right skills. The launch of the report, Low carbon entrepreneurs: the new engines of growth, coincides with the UK final of the Shell Springboard Awards, a programme run by Shell that to date has awarded £2.58 million to UK enterprises developing low carbon technologies.

Finalists for the national Shell Springboard Awards 2013 are:
• KiWi Power
• Vantage Power
• Ventive
• Antaco UK
• AlbaTERN
• Firefly Solar Generators

Story Source:BRE Retrofit Briefing, May 2013, Volume 1, Issue 5

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