Edinburgh based MiAlgae was named the 2018 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the highly anticipated Shell Enterprise Development Awards in London.
MiAlgae beat five other national finalists to take home the top national prize, winning a total of £30,000 and a programme of business development support from Shell.
The equity-free funding will help MiAlgae to develop its product which uses by-products of the whisky industry to grow micro-algae which can be used to sustainably farm fish. This reduces the environmental impact of the distilleries while simultaneously producing valuable nutrients for the at affordable prices.
Shell LiveWIRE supports young entrepreneurs with innovative, smart and sustainable business ideas that meet the ever-increasing energy and resource needs of a fast-growing population. Shell LiveWIRE has been running in the UK since 1982 and in that time has awarded 5,145 monetary awards and provided £5 million of funding.
The Shell Enterprise Development Awards also saw the Shell Springboard national winner named. Shell Springboard provides funding to UK-based SMEs with innovative, low-carbon business ideas. Seawater Greenhouse, the winning SME, receives a total of £150,000 to support the growth and commercialisation of its ‘cool house’ technology that evaporates sea water to create a cool and humid microclimate to grow crops in arid coastal environments around the world.
Together the Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard programmes enable Shell to support the most promising low-carbon and sustainability technologies which have the potential to play an important part in the transition to a lower-carbon world.
More than eight in every ten (84%) of Shell Springboard and Shell LiveWIRE supported companies are still in operation within five years, compared to the national average of approximately 45%.
Sinead Lynch, Chair of Shell UK, comments after the awards, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering:
“MiAlgae is one of Britain’s brightest, most promising innovations to support a more sustainable, low-carbon world.
“Around 90% of all businesses in the UK’s low-carbon sector are SMEs and providing equity-free funding through Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard can be the difference between make or break for some of these companies.”
Douglas Martin, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award-winner and Founder and Managing Director of MiAlgae, said:
“Being named as the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year is such an exciting moment for MiAlgae. The £30,000 comes at a crucial moment and will allow us to further develop our technology and reach our goal of getting MiAlgae to commercial scale.”
Jane Pritchard, Chair of the judging panel, said:
“It has been a privilege to meet the Shell LiveWIRE finalists today and to learn about their fantastic innovations. The standard was extremely high and testament to the dynamism of the UK low-carbon SME sector. MiAlgae is an incredibly impressive business and I have no doubt of its potential to thrive and make a significant contribution to the energy transition.”