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SME grants available for sustainable innovations

Greater Manchester SMEs can now access funding for green innovation projects worth up to £25,000 through a partnership programme managed by six universities across the North West.


Greater Manchester SMEs can now access funding for green innovation projects worth up to £25,000 through a partnership programme managed by six universities across the North West.

The Eco-I North West programme has launched a £400,000 grant scheme to help SMEs to develop sustainable products, processes or services. Businesses can access up to 60 per cent of funding for eligible projects.

Eco-I North West is a £14 million R&D programme led by the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University. The universities of Central Lancashire, Cumbria, Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores and Manchester Metropolitan are partners in the programme.

Track record

So far, more than 100 businesses from across the North West have collaborated with these universities since the scheme’s launch two years ago. The ideas tested range from water supply and quality to waste, energy, resource efficiency, air quality and food security.

Examples of Greater Manchester companies that have received support include Fibrestar Drums in Stockport, which is developing a fibre container for the agricultural sector that is edible by livestock, resulting in no waste. Elsewhere, Manchester-based Enviroo is developing solutions to turn plastic bottles into raw material for new food-grade packaging.

‘Access grants and try new things’

The new grant programme aims to accelerate more low carbon innovations from research to commercialisation by funding prototypes, pilots and demonstrations. 

Andy Pickard, manager of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, said: “Eco-I NW opens up such a huge academic regional resource to SMEs. It offers the opportunity for the North West to create an ecosystem which accelerates our transition to a low carbon economy.  

"This is a scheme which should allow businesses to access grants quickly and try new things. I would encourage leaders of SME enterprises in the North West to start a conversation with us about how Eco-I NW could help to reduce costs and their carbon footprint, improve performance, and future proof their business in a low carbon future.”

In addition to ECO-I NW’s support, Greater Manchester SMEs can also receive tailored eco-design advice and guidance from the Hub’s Eco Discovery programme.

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