A new generation of lean, young, ambitious cleantech firms is leading the way for the UK to gain a greater access to the £3 trillion global low carbon sector, according to a new study led by Shell and the Carbon Trust.
The study finds that SMEs now account for more than 90% of the UK’s low carbon sector, now worth more than £120bn, and that the number of British SMEs targeting international markets for low carbon products has doubled during the past two years, from 37% in 2011 to 76% in 2012.
Start-ups are twice as likely to secure export deals in the low carbon sector than in other industries.
The launch of the report, Low carbon entrepreneurs: the new engines of growth, coincides with the UK Final of the Shell Springboard Awards, a programme run by Shell that to date has awarded £2.58m to British enterprises developing new pioneering low carbon technologies. The finalists are: KiWi Power, Vantage Power, Ventive Ltd, Antaco UK and AlbaTERN, Firefly Solar Generators Ltd.
The analysis of almost 2,000 low carbon SMEs has also identified that the UK’s leading hubs for low carbon innovation exist in the cities of London, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds and Southampton. Relative to population size, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire also had high proportions of cleantech SMEs, with access to talent and regional funding emerging as key reasons that drive business location.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: “We are taking action to increase the UK share of the £3 trillion global low-carbon market, so it is encouraging that SMEs are already exploiting the huge growth potential.
“We will continue to ensure that existing and budding entrepreneurs are aware of the opportunities and support available to them so that they can grow, create jobs and continue to make a valuable contribution to the economy.”
SMEs make up 90% of clean tech firms and are growing