To keep 1.5 degrees within reach, we need a healthy ocean and the blue economy was rightly a key topic at COP26. As the emerging ocean innovation market continues to gain recognition, social enterprise and sustainability training company Bright Tide, has announced the launch of its first Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme for SME businesses.
Applications are open for submissions until 15 April 2022 and a final 10 successful businesses will make it through.
Bright Tide is on the hunt for exciting SME businesses within the field of ocean impact innovators to take part, from food producers using ocean sourced ingredients such as seaweed, through to sustainable fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, offshore wind and beyond.
Founder and director of Bright Tide, Harry Wright, said: ‘By moving human activities which directly impact and depend on the ocean towards being more sustainable, we can rebuild ocean prosperity and restore biodiversity. Activities such as shipping, fishing and marine renewable energy need to rapidly transition into a sustainable blue economy, however currently this remains exceptionally underfunded. This was the motivator behind us launching our biggest ever accelerator programme for ocean impact innovators. We are proud to be supported by founding sponsors at The University of Plymouth and Investec Wealth & Investment, as well as supporting partners Hogan Lovells LLP and Blu Sky Accountants, and we can’t wait to see the exciting businesses that apply to take part.’
Adrian Dawson, director of research and innovation at the University of Plymouth, said: ‘As the world’s leading marine research university, we are delighted to be a founding partner in this innovative Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme. Our Marine Institute represents the broadest spectrum of academic expertise anywhere in the country, but collaborations with industry are essential if we are to develop effective and lasting solutions to the challenges facing our ocean. This programme offers genuine potential to create new and exciting connections with those SMEs working in the blue economy and contributing to the socioeconomic value of pristine marine environments and biodiversity.’
Stacy Parrinder-Johnson, chief investment officer at Investec Wealth & Investment, said: ‘We believe the climate crisis poses a significant threat to the global economy and society. In addition, our business is always looking to work with partners who are change-makers, disruptors and out of the box thinkers. So, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to support an important initiative which is looking to find exciting, and potentially transformative, businesses in the field of ocean impact.’
Fenella Chambers, senior associate, Hogan Lovells International LLP, commented: ‘Hogan Lovell BaSE believes in business as a force for good and the blue economy is a key arena for the development of sustainable solutions to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. The natural world is in crisis and in order to survive the adverse impacts of climate change we need to invest in nature’s capacity to store carbon and support resilient societies. Supporting innovation in environmental protection and advancing our sustainability goals is a strategic priority for Hogan Lovells’ responsible business team and partnering with innovators such as Bright Tide helps us to maximise our impact.’
Blu Sky Co-founder and CFO, Jon Dudgeon, commented: ‘We are really proud and excited to be supporting Bright Tide and its fantastic Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator. Innovation around sustainability and protecting our planet is something that Blu Sky is very keen to support and close to our heart, so when we heard about the programme, we couldn’t wait to get involved. The Blu Sky team will be supporting ventures with guidance on varying topics, including scaling your finance function, employee benefit structures and attracting angel investment via SEIS. We really encourage Blue Economy founders to take the opportunity to apply, this is a great opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.’
Despite current underfunding of the ocean innovator sector, a 2020 report from the high level panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (the Ocean Panel), indicated the investment return on the sustainable ocean economy over the next 30 years is 500%, meaning every $1 invested in sustainable ocean solutions returns at least $5 in global benefits.
Ten successful businesses will ultimately secure places on the eight week programme which will offer between five and 10 hours a week of dedicated support including one to one tailored expert individual mentorships with industry experts, group mentorship sessions, peer to peer learning, commercial pitching opportunities, workshops and access to professional networks. Shortlisted businesses will also take part in exclusive in-person industry meet ups with the programme’s corporate and blue economy partners, professional networks, peer to peer circles and scientific academic partners, and will have the opportunity to pitch at its ‘meet the buyers’ event in London. This community and eco system building element will be a key part of the programme, which is geared towards building gamechanging contacts in the industry for all finalists. Beyond this, the programme will offer technical support to help ocean ventures scale up their commercial aims with leading experts, including access to pro bono support, including legal, investment readiness, tax, scientific advice and impact measurement.
Bright Tide’s Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme is sponsored by The University of Plymouth and Investec, as well as supporting partners Hogan Lovells LLP and Blu Sky Accountants and enjoying a number of well known in-kind supporters.
To find out more and apply to Bright Tide’s Ocean Accelerator Programme, visit https://www.bright-tide.co.uk/blueeconomy