The greening of entrepreneurship

11 03 2008

Venture capital investment in clean technology businesses rose sharply in 2007, reflecting political and consumer support for a greener economy.   One competition for start-ups which reflects this is the Shell Springboard Awards – presented last week – which reward the UK’s best small business ideas for combating climate change.  This year’s winner, Paula Carey, runs Carbon8, a company which uses an ‘Accelerated Carbonation’ process to turn rubbish from landfill sites into building materials such as bricks or roofing.  Shell said that with government incentives, increased consumer awareness, and an estimated market value of £2.8bn, there are major opportunities for small businesses in the climate change market. 

Professor John Beddington, keynote speaker at the event and Chief Scientific Advisor to the government, urged businesses to help combat climate change: “We need innovators to provide solutions to the problem of climate change and entrepreneurs to take them to market”.  This view is further endorsed in the first of a two-part series in the Sunday Times, “Green means go for new firmswhich talks with entrepreneurs who have found that adopting an environmentally friendly policy can pay dividends.


China/UK Entrepreneurship Educators Network

5 03 2008

The China/UK Entrepreneurship Educators Network will be launched in May at the WUN Hangzhou China Enterprise Conference.  The Network will initially comprise entrepreneurship educators from the UK and China who attend the Conference.  The Conference theme is Globalisation: Integrating Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is the third in a series of Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) conferences focusing on enterprise – the earlier Conferences took place in Chicago and Leeds during 2007.

To support entrepreneurship educators (working in UK universities) who wish to attend the Conference,  the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) is delighted to announce the availability of ten bursaries each worth 500 UK pounds.  The NCGE already has extensive links with entrepreneurship educators in China:  working with the Shanghai Technology Entrepreneurship Foundation for Graduates (STEFG), facilitating the PMI2 Connect initiative,  and most recently visiting the country in January.

Rural entrepreneurship

4 03 2008

In the debate about the withdrawal of funding for ELQs (equivalent or lower qualifications), it is interesting to note that landscape training may be exempt from the £100m cuts the Government is making to higher education this year. This is because land-based studies are considered strategically important or vulnerable subjects.  The strategic importance was emphasised at today’s Young Entrepreneurs Conference at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, when young rural entrepreneurs were warned of the need to avoid diversification pitfalls – and to balance new enterprises with the core farming business.

Other forthcoming conferences which will focus on rural enterprise are:

  • The WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) Conference is now in its eighth year and brings together women from all stages and types of business.  The theme of the 2008 WiRE Conference is WiFi and Wellies. Part Welly, Part WiFi, embracing everything that is rural; from traditional crafts, local foods and farm diversifications to everything that is high tech, women in rural enterprises embody the huge diversity of rural businesses. They remain true to their rural roots but gallop ahead in the new technologies field to build bigger and better businesses.
  • The Centre for Research into Regional Development (CRRED) will be hosting two conferences to run concurrently on 22nd and 23rd May 2008: the 6th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference and Rural Regional Development: Sustainability, Culture and Business.