Accelerator programme launched for London’s circular economy entrepreneurs

An accelerator programme to support new companies in the circular economy field is now open for applications from innovative entrepreneurs.

The accelerator, the first of its kind in London, is run by the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) through its Advance London programme, and is focused on finding and commercialising the strongest new circular economy start-ups in the built environment sector.

Each start-up must already have a working prototype and be ready to test their technologies in the market. In return, the accelerator will offer six months of free intensive support for up to 10 start-ups, as well as desk space provided in LWARB’s new offices, bespoke mentoring and access to an extensive partner network.

 Accelerator programme launched for London’s circular economy entrepreneursThe UK is slowly emerging as a hotspot for green start-ups, as the home country for the winners of the Green Alley Award in both 2015 (Adaptavate) and 2018 (Aeropowder). With this new accelerator, Advance London hopes to enable the rapid scaling up of innovative projects, and will be working in partnership with The Carbon Trust and consultants Whole Earth Futures to deliver the programme.

The first cohort of start-ups will have ambitions to revolutionise the construction industry specifically. LWARB hopes to find entrepreneurs who will:

  • Develop new technologies and business models that can advance modularisation;
  • Design for disassembly and re-use;
  • Prolong asset life;
  • Consider alternative materials and material reuse;
  • Turn products into services; and
  • Create data platforms.

Start-up businesses will also be selected on their potential for expansion and ability to contribute towards London’s low carbon, circular economy.

Wayne Hubbard, Chief Executive at LWARB, announced the accelerator launch at a meeting of the new global initiative, PG4 (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030), which aims to stimulate the development of public-private partnerships to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Hubbard said: “If cities are the engine rooms of the circular economy, start-ups are the spark. Start-up businesses are making an essential contribution to London’s transition to become a circular city, and this accelerator is part of LWARB’s strategy to provide support and finance to circular economy businesses from start-up to maturity.”

He addedd that time is a crucial factor: “The recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report has shown us the need for urgent action; this support programme forms a part of our response.”

The IPCC report, released on 8 October, revealed that unless there is an immediate response to stop global warming, and the earth’s global temperature rises by more than 1.5°C, climate change could cause irreversible damage to our planet.

The Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy and Economic Development Strategy both set out ways to implement a low carbon economy and develop start-up ecosystems. LWARB’s accelerator will help new entrepreneurs overcome some of the barriers to establishing products and services within their market.

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, also commented: “The Mayor is working hard to make London a world leader in efforts to promote a circular economy, which could provide London with net benefits of at least £7 billion every year and 40,000 new jobs by 2036.

“The IPCC is clear: action on climate change cannot wait and circular economy businesses of all sizes and sectors have a vital role to play. This accelerator is a great opportunity to nurture London’s start-up businesses and help our low carbon economy flourish.”

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply to LWARB’s accelerator programme through the Advance London website.


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