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UK green economy: £50M for sustainable tech businesses as regional funds focus on net-zero

Green economy
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The British Bank’s regional funds – The Midlands Engine Investment Fund and Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund have announced that they have enabled more than £50 million of green investment into small businesses in the Midlands and North of England. It will be used to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and develop new technologies that will tackle climate change and reach net zero.

Contributes to drive UK’s green economy

The investment highlights the commitment of these funds to contribute to the future of the low carbon and green economy. Since their debut, MEIF and NPIF have supported 45 businesses in their mission to drive the UK’s net zero and wider sustainability agenda.

Recognising the power of these businesses in contributing to the regional green economy, NPIF and MEIF are working with fund managers, Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, growth hubs, and regional stakeholders in the public and private sector to deliver finance from the funds and private sector investors.

Why The Midlands?

The Midlands is a region with significant capability in energy, thanks to its strategic location, industrial heritage, and leadership in innovation. Power and fuel industries in the region have evolved to respond to emerging needs with advanced technologies powering growth.

The region intends to lead the others in the green growth and low carbon transition by developing sustainable solutions, including East Midlands Development Corporation, Freeports, and a focus on offshore wind and hydrogen, carbon-neutral transport, battery technologies, decarbonisation, and zero-carbon growth.

Millions of green jobs!

Following the Sixth Carbon Budget published by the Climate Change Committee in December last year, the UK Government has agreed to a revised target of reducing national emissions by 78 percent by 2035. This will be enshrined in law by the end of June 2021. To help reach this target, several Northern and Midlands’ localities and sub-regions have made their commitments.

The West Midlands Combined Authority estimates that 21,000 new jobs could be created in the region over the next five years or 92,000 jobs by 2041. Furthermore, it has been revealed that increased demand for renewables and low carbon technologies could enable the Midlands to tap into a larger pool of 1.7 million new green jobs. Notably, half of these are likely to be located in the Midlands, North and Scotland

Portfolio of green investments

To give some examples of green investments made by these funds, MEIF supports the low-carbon agenda in the West Midlands by pumping £250k funding into Earth Rover. The Shropshire startup uses cutting-edge technologies to help farmers improve crop yields and reduce food waste.

In the East and South East Midlands, the fund pumped £130k to Lincolnshire-based Exuvi8 Ltd recently. The company specialises in designing and deploying energy-efficient data centres.

Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer at the British Business Bank, said: “Through the British Business Bank’s regional funds, we are actively supporting businesses that are contributing to the UK’s low-carbon agenda. In the Midlands, finance from the MEIF is enabling businesses to create and commercialise new sustainable technologies, become more sustainable or energy-efficient, while also helping wider industries to decarbonise. Our intention is to continue utilising both the MEIF and NPIF to help green and sustainable businesses grow in the Midlands and North. We recognise the potential of these businesses in not only helping the UK hit net-zero but creating new jobs and economic growth.”

Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said: “SMEs make up 99.6% of companies operating in the Midlands. The lifeblood of our economy, will underpin our region’s recovery from the pandemic, allowing us to build back better, stronger and, crucially, greener. They must be enabled to thrive and to this end we’re trialling new models of sustainable finance, such as green bonds, to unlock green sector funding and support our businesses.

“The Midlands Engine is the first pan-regional partnership in the UK to propose how stakeholders from right across our region will come together to deliver the Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Our own forthcoming Ten Point Plan for Green Growth in the Midlands Engine will enable us to develop our post-Covid-19, post-EU-exit economy in a sustainable way that also addresses inequality and the levelling up agenda. It is how we will effectively accelerate our, and the UK’s, path to net-zero.”