Are you a green technology entrepreneur out to prove your product? If so, you could be one of the Bristol innovators who are to get the chance to test their green inventions in RBS branches and buildings in the city.
The RBS Bristol Innovation Gateway is looking for new ideas to reduce energy, water consumption and waste, and will open for applications at Venturefest Bristol and Bath tomorrow.
The bank is already trialling some low-carbon technology in its Trinity Quay Office Building (pictured above) and its NatWest branch at Fishponds as part of last year’s Innovation Gateway initiative, but is now looking for more ideas to try out in these offices. This inaugural scheme was open to innovators and small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) worldwide and saw ten of them win the opportunity to test their new products in selected RBS buildings and branches across the UK.
“Trials and test beds like the one we are offering are crucial for innovators to accelerate their access to market”
Now RBS is setting up a Bristol-focused version of the challenge as part of its engagement with Bristol European Green Capital 2015 and specifically Bristol 2015’s Go Green scheme. Go Green, jointly organised by Business West and Low Carbon South West for Bristol 2015, is asking organisations in the city to create and implement an action plan to improve their green credentials.
The RBS Bristol Innovation Gateway has three aims: to help RBS and NatWest save more energy, water and waste; to nurture new, brilliant ideas and help local innovators and SMEs to accelerate their ideas to market.
Matt Hatcher, NatWest’s director of commercial banking for Bristol, said: “Small businesses and innovators often struggle to get the opportunity to pitch their ideas to larger corporates, which means it’s often difficult to get the chance to prove their brilliant ideas can work. Trials and test beds like the one we are offering are crucial for innovators to accelerate their access to market.”
Meet previous winners
Two of the winners from last year’s Innovation Gateway will be at next week’s Venturefest Bristol and Bath at the Engine Shed to help launch the RBS scheme for Bristol.
Syed Ahmed, MD of Savortex, said he felt that Bristol would gain a lot from the RBS initiative. The firm supplies smart hand dryers which were piloted in two RBS buildings and have now been installed more widely across the bank’s estate. The dryers contain patented sensors which transmit data to a website on the usage of a washroom. This allows cleaners to plan in advance which need to be attended to first, for instance.
“Taking part in the RBS Innovation Gateway has been transformational for our business”
In the first four months of use the innovation has eliminated almost a million paper towels and saved the bank about £18,000.
Syed said: “Taking part in the RBS Innovation Gateway has been transformational for our business. In a matter of months we have gone from start-up to a company which has won contracts with some of RBS’ suppliers, we have had national publicity and access to all the connections the Innovation Gateway has brought us.”
Syed and Bill Clee, of another winner, Asset Mapping, will be at Venturefest Bristol and Bath to talk about their own journeys in the RBS Innovation Gateway as well as their own products.
“Bristol and Bath has a global reputation as an innovation hotspot so it is fitting that RBS has chosen to launch its Bristol Innovation Gateway at Venturefest”
Andrew Garrad, Chairman of Bristol 2015, one of the main sponsors of Venturefest Bristol and Bath, said: “Bristol and Bath has a global reputation as an innovation hotspot so it is fitting that RBS has chosen to launch its Bristol Innovation Gateway at Venturefest, which will see some of the region’s most innovative green businesses and enterprising technology under one roof.”
Matt agrees: “The first Innovation Gateway attracted ideas from brand new concepts through to market-ready products and services. We know that Bristol is a hotbed of innovation and with the city-wide focus this year on sustainability it’s the ideal time to give innovators and SMEs here the chance to take their idea or product to the next level. We look forward to supporting local businesses while helping to achieve our own aims under our Go Green plan.”
To find out more about the RBS Bristol Innovation Gateway sign up to visit Venturefest Bristol and Bath on June 9 by visiting www.venturefestbristolandbath.com or go to http://innovationgateway.rbs.com/