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 outfit Bright Tide, has announced the launch of its first Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme for SME businesses. The most specialist of its kind in the UK, it’s free to apply to and take part in. Applications are open for submissions from 15th March to 15th 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’re proud to be supported by founding sponsors at The University of Plymouth and Investec Wealth & Investment, 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.”
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 8-week programme which will offer between 5-10 hours a week of dedicated support including 1 to 1 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 game-changing 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 enjoying a number of well-known in-kind supporters.