(L to R): Éire Smith, Small Farms; Marcin Kulik, SmartTrace; Majella Kelleher, Head of Energy Demand Management at SEAI; Christine Boyle, Synergy.

Ireland In The Running At The Climate Change ‘Olympics’

Three Irish cleantech startup companies have made it to the European Final of a major global business competition that promotes ideas and innovations to tackle climate change.

The shortlisted firms could win major cash prizes and a place on a business accelerator programme to realise their idea.

ClimateLaunchpad, Europe’s largest business ideas competition, was been set up to specifically develop innovations that address sustainability and climate change.

The Irish companies were selected from a national shortlist of 15. They will be up against 90 rivals at the prestigious event in Tallinn, Estonia, on October 7th & 8th.

(L to R): Éire Smith, Small Farms; Marcin Kulik, SmartTrace; Majella Kelleher, Head of Energy Demand Management at SEAI; Christine Boyle, Synergy.


The three Irish finalists are:

Small Farms: operating in the area of edible insects – including crickets which can be farmed or grown at home to eat as an alternative protein source.

Senergy: a maker of solar panels – but ones which cost 50pc less to produce because they are made from plastic and polymer materials.

SmartTrace Software: building a big data platform that will support the intelligent use of waste materials. Poor material management contributes to over 42% of world pollution

The European ClimateLaunchpad Final is a showcase for the cream of Europe’s cleantech talent and helps them grow their sustainable ideas into global businesses.

The three Irish start-ups will pitch their idea and business plans before an international jury. The jury will award the top-three winners of the European competition funding of 10,000 euro, 5,000 euro and 2,500 euro and the best 10 will take part in the Climate-KIC 18-month accelerator programme.

Eight teams participated in the Irish ClimateLaunchpad competition. They pitched a string of diverse ideas around energy production and efficiencies, waste reduction and water management as well as more sustainable food production.

Announcing the finalists, Sustainable Nation’s Entrepreneur in Residence Ron Immink said: “Sustainability should be viewed as a business opportunity, an €85 trillion opportunity.

“Ireland is becoming a disruptor in the global market place, providing solutions that improve climate resilience.

“Companies, and in particular start-ups, require support to build capacity and ClimateLaunchpad provides that with a programme designed to nurture business ideas that have a positive climate impact.”

Each country selected the most promising innovations for the ClimateLaunchpad competition.

The participants undertook a demanding programme to work on their business idea: a two-day boot camp, intensive business coaching and national finals. The finalists have been chosen based on criteria including feasibility, scalability, job creation and climate impact.

Aideen O’Hora, Director of Sustainable Innovation with Sustainable Nation Ireland, said: “The facts are clear, climate change is happening and we must use best efforts to mitigate and adapt. We’re delighted to have such a strong team of companies represent Ireland at what is now becoming the Olympics of Climate Innovation. ClimateLaunchpad is the cornerstone of support that we can provide to cleantech companies in Ireland.”

Frans Nauta, the founder of ClimateLaunchpad, said: “I sleep better knowing how many great teams are working ontechnologies and businesses that tackle climate change. There aregreat ideas out there, many of them from people with little businessexperience. This is why ClimateLaunchpad is so important. We provideinnovators with the coaching to make their great ideas profitablebusinesses. And in just three years we’re seeing successful companiesemerge.”


Senergy: Next generation Solar Thermal Panels to transform the energy industry. Senergy have developed a 100% polymer plastic solar thermal panel that is 50% less expensive to manufacture and install than any panels that currently exist. The Senergy panel benefits from the advantages of the polymer materials and incorporate carbon nanotube materials that enhance the thermal performance and mechanical strength. Senergy will transform the energy industry by using a renewable energy technology, that is already 70% efficient, that is cheaper, enhanced modular design and overall has a lower environmental footprint. The CEO is Christine Boyle. http://climatelaunchpad.org/finalists/senergy/

SmartTrace Software Ltd.: The Internet of Waste. Using an SAAS software platform, SmartTrace is building a big data platform that will support the intelligent use of waste materials. Poor material management contributes to over 42% of world pollution, and is driving the need to have a circular economy. The manufacturing industry is embracing the concept of this new economy, as they are spending increasing amounts of money to comply with waste legislation, when they could actually turn their waste in to a valuable commodity. SmartTrace is turning the challenge in to an opportunity, through linking up availability waste resources. The Internet of Waste, a circular economy platform, supports the transformation of waste management theories to action and the perception of waste from problem to product. The co-founders are Marcin Kulik and Steve Cassidy. https://smarttracesoftware.com/

Small Farms: An alternative source of protein for human consumption in the form of farmed crickets. With the world’s population increasing to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, alternative, sustainable protein sources need to be adopted into our Western diets. Current livestock contribute massively to environmental damage, producing 18% of the worlds greenhouse gases (GHG) and consuming huge amounts of resources. Crickets provide a sustainable source of protein and nutrients, with minimal GHG emission by comparison to traditional sources of protein. The global edible insect market size is poised to exceed $522 million by 2023, and Small Farms will foster this growth through developing “farming systems” that will allow people breed crickets at home for their own consumption. The founder is Johnathon Harris and co-founder Éire Smith http://climatelaunchpad.org/finalists/small-farms/

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