Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in search of financial backing for their low-carbon ideas can now submit their applications to Shell Springboard. In its ninth year, the programme promotes the development of innovative, low-carbon business ideas and gives them the chance to win a slice of £330,000 of “no strings attached” funding. Since 2005, Shell has awarded £2.58million to 71 companies exploring new ways to cut carbon emissions.

With small businesses accounting for 90 per cent of the UK’s £120 billion low-carbon sector, Shell Springboard provides a welcome boost for ambitious UK enterprises pursuing a slice of the global low-carbon sector forecast to be worth £4 trillion by 2015*.

SMEs are poised to lead the way. Research by Shell Springboard and the Carbon Trust published in May 2013 found low-carbon SMEs are almost twice as likely to have export customers as their peers in other industries. This powerful economic status is equally matched by the sector’s drive and ambitions for growth: three quarters plan to raise funding in the next year, and three quarters plan to expand exports into a new market over the next two.

Last year’s winner, Vantage Power, was awarded £40,000 for its innovative hybrid powertrain technology which can be retrofitted to double-decker buses across the UK.  While the bus industry is keen to reduce diesel consumption, current hybrid engines designed for new buses can incur substantial costs, and many only offer significant savings over long-distance journeys. Vantage Power’s hybrid system offers a cost efficient way to reduce fuel consumption by £20,000 a year and help buses operating in stop-start traffic in towns cut emissions by 40 per cent.

On winning the award, Alex Schey, co-founder of Vantage Power said: “Since winning the 2013 Shell Springboard Awards, we’ve had a great year. The prize money and national recognition meant we were able to secure additional funding for 2013, needed to enable us to concentrate on building our functioning prototype. We have big plans for our hybrid retrofit engine and Shell’s support for Vantage Power has spurred us on.”

Edward Daniels, Shell UK Chairman and Executive Vice President of Downstream Technology added: “Shell is committed to the twin challenge of reducing carbon emissions while meeting the growing global population’s rising demand for energy. Since 2008, we have invested $2.2billion in developing alternative energies, carbon capture and storage and other CO2 related research & development. However, we also recognise that fledging business can help fast track solutions. Shell Springboard is a celebration of the huge creative potential that dynamic UK SMEs represent.”

To apply for Shell Springboard, please visit before 5pm on Friday, 13th December 2014. All applicants must be based in the UK, be categorised as an SME by the European definition and have been in business for at least three months. 

Notes to Editors

*According to Green Alliance research:

Previous winners of Shell LiveWIRE include:

  • Vantage Power (2013) received £40,000 to help their development of the B320 system: a diesel electric hybrid powertrain technology which can be retrofitted to double-decker buses across the UK. As well as a deal with Ensign, Britain’s biggest used bus dealer, Vantage secured fully-funded status enabling them to work on their first fully-functioning prototype.
  • Select Innovations (2012) came out as winners for their EnLight technology, which delivers savings for councils by improving the efficiency of street lights. In the past year, the company has been awarded Affiliate Membership of European Climate KIC, opened a new sales office and are currently rolling out their technology into the commercial lighting sector, with their latest installation delivering 50% energy savings for ARM Holdings Plc. 
  • Cella Energy (2011) was awarded £40,000 for its innovative hydrogen storage technology, bringing hydrogen fuelled cars one step closer to reality. Since winning, Cella Energy has attracted further investment from a wide variety of investors including NASA, the latter having allowed them to open a new laboratory at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. With several new patents filed, the technology has progressed and Cella hope to begin full scale fielding testing in 2014.
Shell social investment activities are themed around science education, enterprise development and innovation.
  • Shell Springboard is fully funded and managed by Shell. It provides a financial boost to UK based, small to medium sized enterprises with innovative, low-carbon business ideas.  In the 2014 awards, a total of £330,000 will be given to 9 companies. In total Shell Springboard has awarded £2.58 million of funding to 71 innovative low-carbon businesses in the UK over the last 8 years
  • Shell LiveWIRE has been running in the UK since 1982, when it was launched in the Strathclyde region of Scotland to combat the high level of youth unemployment. Since then it has helped thousands of young people in the UK to explore starting their own business and has spread to over 16 countries around the world. Shell LiveWIRE offers an independent and free online service and awards programme for young entrepreneurs.
  • Shell Education Service provides a series of unique, interactive science workshops to primary school children.  Workshops are designed to support the National Curriculum in primary schools, benefitting both the pupils and teachers. The Shell Education Service also organises science days for local communities and trainee teachers, building their confidence and skills in teaching science.  Shell has run this programme for over 50 years.

To find out more about Shell Social Investment, please visit:

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