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Digital tool launched to help SMEs find low-carbon funding

A new Access to Finance Navigator has been launched to help SMEs find funding opportunities in the low carbon, clean tech and sustainability sectors.

The navigator, which has been developed by Shell Springboard, has a digital database of over 100 low carbon funding sources representing more than £150m. It includes governmental organisations, venture capital funds, angel investors and crowdfunding platforms.

Results can be filtered according to a user's business sector, stage of development and financial requirements.

The launch comes after a joint report from Shell Springboard and Imperial College London highlighted the difficulties UK low carbon SMEs face in accessing finance. Their counterparts in the US typically raise 50 per cent more funding, while only three per cent of UK start-ups grow to become mid-sized ventures, compared with six per cent in the US.

Launch the navigator at the Make the Future London, Erik Bonino, chairman of Shell UK and executive vice-president for downstream technology, said: "Shell Springboard provides low-carbon entrepreneurs with a vital foothold on the funding ladder, but for many this is just the start of a journey to secure the finance they need.

"Finding people or organisations to support new businesses is complex and time consuming. To help navigate the funding landscape, we developed the Access to Finance Navigator with experts in finance and the low-carbon sectors. Alongside our wider enterprise development programmes, this provides the type of support low-carbon businesses in the UK are seeking."

Solveiga Pakštaitė, winner of a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award and the 2016 Shell Staff Inspiration Award for her food expiry label BumpMark, added: "For a start-up business to get off the ground, funding is key. Understanding which funding sources are best for your business and navigating the huge range of funding resources available can take as much time as applying for the money itself.

"Shell Springboard's Access to Finance Navigator is a great idea and will make it much easier for entrepreneurs in the sustainability and low carbon sectors to find the funds they need. It's hugely valuable."

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