The new Energy Launchpad International programme, drawing on technical energy system expertise, will provide access to incubation and acceleration support for a “virtual mission” to India and Thailand.
Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) has announced its first international innovator challenge call for SMEs developing smart energy solutions for export to India and Thailand.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are invited to apply for acceleration support via the Energy Launchpad International programme in preparation for a “virtual mission” to India and Thailand. Up to eight SMEs will be selected for each country.
It follows an investigation by Catapult researchers that found the biggest obstacles to export are “planning and identifying opportunities” and “a lack of support in handling the risks that come with targeting new markets.”
Furthermore, ESC reports that SME exports have fallen from over 50 per cent of the UK total in 2008 to less than one-third (32 per cent)) a decade later.
The innovator challenge called Smart Energy Innovations for International Markets is supported by the Prosperity Fund at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
“This suggests that UK innovators are lacking the support they need to realise their export potential and generate the economic and employment benefits the UK should expect”
Comprising a dedicated team within the Catapult, the new Energy Launchpad International, drawing on technical energy system expertise, will provide access to incubation and acceleration support, and international experience, to provide deep market insights and “end-to-end” export support to SMEs through targeted activities and in-country networks.
“SME exports have declined as a share of UK exports over the past decade. This suggests that UK innovators are lacking the support they need to realise their export potential and generate the economic and employment benefits the UK should expect,” said Paul Jordan, business lead for innovator support and international, Energy Systems Catapult.
“Yet UK innovators have the potential to be global market leaders in areas such as smart energy systems, but they need end-to-end help to accelerate the capture of those export opportunities.”
Smart energy innovations to export to India or Thailand could include:
The innovator challenge has three phases:
Phase 1 will provide up to eight SMEs per territory with a bespoke managed programme to develop their understanding of the market opportunity, structure, local competition, business culture, local funding/financing options, business model adaptations, as well as helping develop their sales pitch presentations and where necessary carry-out an audit of the innovators technology fit to meet the local market needs.
Phase 2 will develop the in-territory engagement plan, supported by local ESC representatives who will help develop and secure virtual introductions to support the objectives of the engagement plan.
Phase 3 will provide support over an extended period to ensure that relationships developed during phase 2 are enriched to maximise the commercial opportunities and partnerships.
Closing date for applications is noon on 30 November 2020.
A shortlist of SMEs will be generated and must be available to attend a virtual workshop on 10 December 2020 and be able to participate in this virtual programme during quarter 1 of 2021.
ESC said the intention is to complete the bulk of this pilot programme by the end of March 2021. For more information on applying visit: es.catapult.org.uk/innovator-challenge-india-and-thailand/
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