LWIN member and LWIN’s Ealing Pioneers Grant winner Torpedo Factory Group (TFG) has announced that it has been acquired by Aukett Swanke Group Plc (ASG), one of the world’s global 100 architectural practices, and the only architecture firm to be quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

ASG’s skills and knowledge gained from many years at the prestige end of the traditional architecture market combined with TFG’s focus on exploiting the opportunities afforded by technology will allow the enlarged group to offer a wide range of services to existing and new clients in the property world. The transaction was an all-share deal with TFG shareholders taking a 40% stake in the enlarged group.

Clive Carver, Aukett Swanke Group Plc Chairman, commented:

“We were delighted to receive such a strong show of support from shareholders for the Torpedo Factory Group acquisition. Our focus now is to grow both the traditional core architecture businesses and to move forward quickly in the quest to develop the Group in the smart buildings arena.”

Nick Clark, TFG founder and CEO of TFG, who has joined the Board of Aukett Swanke as an Executive Director with immediate effect, commented:

“This transaction helps broaden TFG’s reach as it becomes a master systems integrator. Moreover, it provides a platform for growth and an exciting future for the enlarged Group.”

Read the full RNS here for more further details

Businesses based in the London boroughs of Ealing and Hillingdon were out in full force this week at the launch of the London West Innovation Network, as they celebrated qualifying for competitive business grants that will help them achieve high growth and increased employment locally in presence of dignitaries including Seema Malhotra, MP, Steven Wilding from Hounslow Council, Nigel Cramb from Hillingdon Council and Andrea Laffey from Borough of Ealing, at the Central Research Laboratory, Plus X, one of LWIN’s delivery partners.

In 2022, LWIN, with staff-support from West London Business was commissioned by the Boroughs of Ealing and Hillingdon to devise and manage an innovation grant programme to deliver over £3 million of funding to local fast-growth SMEs. At the end of a rigorous and competitive application process, 34 businesses were awarded grants across sectors as diverse as Health & Wellbeing, Creative & Media, Aviation & Logistics and Food & Drink. This Tuesday represented the official launch of the London West Innovation Network, when it brought together all of the grant winners representing some of the most innovative minds in West London, for an evening of networking and celebration.

Seema Malhotra, MP of Feltham and Heston, who is also the co-chair of London West Innovation Board addressing the grant winners

 

Andrew Dakers, CEO of West London Businesses and co-chair, London West Innovation Innovation Network addressing the crowd live from Australia

Andrew Dakers, CEO, West London Business and Co-chair, London West Innovation Network (LWIN) said:

“It is an astounding group of highly innovative companies that we have been able to support to date.  Post-launch, LWIN is now focused on long-term development funding and mobilising business support for the 2000+ fast growth businesses across its geography, including our recent grant winners.”

Other dignitaries including Seema Malhotra, Toby Kress and Borough representatives touched upon the power of innovation, and how local government leaning into support local companies has the power to bring together innovators, industry and academia to unlock potential opportunities in the region.

Ealing Grant Winners with Amelia Grant, Project Manager of LWIN

 

Cohort of Hillingdon Grant Winners with Amelia Grant, Toby Kress and Nigel Cramb

The Ealing and Hillingdon grant winners are carrying out innovation in diverse fields from agriculture, education, pet welfare to hydrogen production. Read more about the businesses here.

Toby Kress, Programme Director of Plus X, also the host of the evening. Most of the Hillingdon grant-winning businesses are based in CRL.

 

Steven Wilding from Hounslow Borough talking to the crowd about the various business support program provided by Hounslow Council

 

Andrea Laffey from Ealing Borough addressing the crowd

Nigel Cramb, Partnerships Manager at London Borough of Hillingdon addressing the grant winners

The network’s  first interactive workshop on early-stage fundraising will take place on Wednesday 19 April, and aims to help businesses understand the funding options available to them and learn from a panel of experts representing leading venture capitalists, active Angel networks, plus universities, and explore the different kinds of flexible capital support available from the banking sector.

To find out more about the London West Innovation Network, visit www.londonwestinnovation.global, or follow LWIN on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Radiant Matter, developer of the world’s first BioSequin and 2020 Hillingdon Enterprise Fund Grant, a business support program that London West Innovation Network coordinated for the Hillingdon Coucil, has taken to the April 2023 edition of Vogue magazine featuring Stella Mccartney.

Source: Annie Leibovitz/Vogue US

Cara Delevigne, model and eco-activist wore a jumpsuit made using BioSequins, a biodegradable and non-toxic material innovated from plant-based cellulose, using no metals, minerals or synthetic pigments or colorants. She was featured for Stella McCartney, who debuted this exclusive and pioneering creation on the cover of the April 2023 edition of Vogue magazine.

The BioSequins are the creation of Radiant Matter, a Hillingdon-based material innovation company that is developing colour and material solutions for the circular economy. The start-up was a winner of the 2020 Hillingdon Enterprises Fund Grant winner, a business support program orchestrated by the Hillingdon Council, that LWIN coordinated. They transform naturally abundant cellulose into a material that produces shimmering structural colours, used to create sequins and glitter. The cellulose displays nature’s brightest colours and unlike traditional sequins, Radiant Matter’s sequins shimmering iridescence is free from chemical colourants, metals and minerals, and are non-toxic and can be made biodegradable, hence developing textile solutions that are safe for the environment and for human health.

McCartney utilised the BioSequins to create an all-in-one jumpsuit, handmade at the brand’s London atelier and custom-made for Cara Delevingne. “I am amazed by the iridescent beauty of our BioSequin all-in-one — handcrafted in my London atelier from plant-derived, non-toxic sequins that are even more stunning than conventional options. Who says sustainability can’t be sexy?” the designer says in a press release.

The process came about as a result of looking into the effects of the fashion industry on the world’s already-existing plastic problem. According to Oxfam, British women purchase 33 million sequinned garments every festive season, with 1.7 million garments ending up in landfill. As a result of this, 35% of microplastics currently contaminating the world’s oceans are found to be coming from synthetic clothing. Highlighting the cruciality of sustainable clothing.

“We have loved Stella McCartney’s uncompromising approach to sustainability and aesthetics, which are reflected in any decision, down to the fabric and thread  choice, resulting in a stunning yet fully plant-derived garment.” — Elissa Brunato, founder of Radiant Matter.

The jumpsuit may not be commercially available as of yet; however, its introduction is certainly a small step in the right direction when it comes to sustainability in fashion.

Source: lvmh.com

London West Innovation Network to be officially launched on the 28th of March, at the *invite only* networking event that will bring together their Innovation Grant Winners, a program LWIN coordinated with staff support from West London Business, and dignitaries including Seema Malhotra MP and other government representatives.

In 2022, London West Innovation Network with a staff team at West London Business was commissioned by the Boroughs of Ealing and Hillingdon to devise and manage a business support competition to deliver over £3million of grant funding to their SMEs to support accelerated growth and local employment.

The innovation funds: Ealing Pioneers Fund and Hillingdon Enterprises Fund, was part of the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), aimed at supporting businesses impacted by COVID-19, and was launched by the respective boroughs to deliver targeted innovators in their geography to boost economic growth and employment. The schemes designed to support innovation in products and services, provided grants to entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses to be used for testing, prototyping innovations, supporting adaptations and diversifications of products or services.

At the end of a rigorous and competitive application process, 34 diverse businesses were awarded grants totalling over £3 million aimed at delivering innovation from sectors including Health & Wellbeing, Creative & Media, Aviation & Logistics, Food & Drink.

This closed, invite-only, networking event will mark the official launch of a rebranded and updated London West Innovation Network.  The evening will bring together all grant winners representing some of the most innovative minds in West London, for an evening of networking and celebration.

With sustainability gaining prominence in business agendas and motives, with more and more businesses and organisations realising the impact the rhetoric has on their long-term success, it might be time to understand sustainability from a much comprehensive lens. Fujitsu is setting the stage by incorporate a comprehensive sustainability strategy in their business model focusing on the environment, economies and wellbeing aspects of sustainability.

The climate crisis requires urgent notice, and businesses and corporations have a crucial role to play, not just by contributing towards the environment, but also by setting the stage, for others to follow suit. Fujitsu, by surveying 1000 businesses across 15 countries and 10 industries tried to evaluate how different companies are making a different to three pillars of sustainability.

The findings showed that companies have a wide-ranging view on Sustainability Transformation, with different objectives, although, the environment pillar had the most weight reflected on companies’ compliance with sustainability regulations. The trend lately is also significantly influenced by the new sustainability disclosure coming into effect across the globe like the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. However, organisation are also focusing on other pillars of sustainability, by committing to developing sustainable supply chains and ecosystems, and putting enough emphasis on societal issues like employee health and wellbeing, equality and the broader health sector.

On the environmental front, Fujitsu is fueling environment change through digital innovation, focusing on AI, computing, network, data and security, and converging technologies. Together with IHI, they are also leveraging blockchain technology to create carbon trading and tracking ecosystem to identify energy savings in client’s supply chains. This could significantly contribute to a reduction of CO2 emissions.

On the economic front, studies have shows that the demand for sustainable goods have been on the rise, the cultural shift is visible in Fujitsu’s research, with more than half of the organisations expressing worry in their long term success if they don’t address sustainability issues today. In terms of social wellbeing, Fujitsu’s research shows that societal change has become a crucial part of social sustainability.

The SEVP and Chief Revenue Officer at Fujistsu, argues that, “The concept of Sustainability Transformation covers not only short-term goals, but also initiatives for the future. Large enterprises have a particular responsibility to promote all areas of Sustainable Transformation”

Read more at fujitsu-uvance.ft.com

West London Chambers of Commerce has partnered with The Business Innovation Expo to launch the two-day Business Revival Series bringing together business owners, managers and entrepreneurs for networking and learning.

West London Chambers of Commerce is the second largest and fastest growing Chamber of Commerce in London, and covers the Boroughs of Hounslow, Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham. They help businesses grow through networking and introductions, marketing support and exposure to general business opportunities. They have partnered with The Business Innovation Expo for the Business Revival Series scheduled on the 21st and 22nd of March 2023 at ExCel, London.

The event will provide you access to CPD-accredited seminars, an unparalleled Keynote Speaking Lineup, educational workshops from industry experts and networking opportunities.

The Business Innovation Expo is designed to offer all visitors an opportunity to learn and source business solutions and trends that will allow them to work more efficiently, efficiently, and therefore profitably.

With features such as Speed Networking, expert Keynote Speakers, and Workshops from industry leaders, there are 100s of learning, research & development opportunities available to visitors at The Business Revival Conference.

  •  Industry-leading exhibitors
  • Expert keynote and seminar speakers
  • Educational workshops
  • Networking opportunities
  • Free ticket

The event also gives an opportunity to pitch to 100s of businesses to gain quick fast leads or meaningful business partnerships. Learn more or discuss the opportunities to get involved in exhibiting or sponsoring the event at The Business Innovation Expo.

 

The Agents of Change Women’s Community Leadership Programme (WCLP) is a 6 month training course designed to support local women so they can drive positive social change. The programme delivered by the Invention Rooms at Imperial College is designed to address specific barriers that may prevent women from increasing and sustaining their impact, to empower themselves and their local communities.


One of the Agents of Change Programme

The Programme covers different aspects of leadership, project management and professional development. The training sessions exposes participants to networking, communication, influencing fundraising and evaluation to help boost the impact of local change and initiatives. The program is delivered by The Invention Room at the Imperial College White City Campus.

The latest cohort of 15 Agents are on to the fourth programme in January and are from diverse backgrounds. So far, the agents have learned about Leadership in Action with Lathi Dube from The Identity Dichotomy and explored Consciously Choosing to Create Change with Imperial Staff members.

Established in 2018, Agents of Change was developed by Imperial College London and local partners to support women in White City to achieve their ambitions. The programme is supported by a consortium of local institutions including the Hammersmith United Charites, Hammersmith and Fulham Council and The Lyric, all of who provide support infrastructure, such as access to mentors, speakers, community and business leaders,  industry experts, funding and venue space. It is one among the many programmes that form part of Imperial College’s commitment to working in partnership with our local communities to make an enduring and positive impact.

If you are interested in supporting local women through the sharing of knowledge, expertise and connections to help drive social change in the local communities, you can sign upto the Agents of Change Network. Members would have prioritised access to updates of their various networking events held at The Invention Rooms.

The ninth Small Business Finance Markets 2022/23 Report, published by British Business Bank, highlights the role of finance in driving innovation across the UK’s small business population and in supporting  small businesses to provide solutions to achieve the UK’s net zero targets.

British Business Bank is a government-owned business development bank that aims to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK, and to enable a transition to a net zero economy by ensuring finance markets work better for smaller businesses. They had celebrated distribution of 100K Loans to businesses across the UK earlier this year.

Innovation and Small Businesses

Small Business Finance Markets Report 2023 Infographic

The Small Business Finance Markets also explores the role finance has in supporting innovation. Key findings include:

  1. Despite the UK ranking 4th in the 2022 Global Innovation Index, it still has progress to make with around 43% of UK small businesses found to be innovative compared to an average 51% across the G7
  2. Economic growth requires both new-to-market and
    new-to-business innovation to flourish, and both categories use more external finance than non-innovative businesses
  3. SMEs applying for finance to innovate are most likely to seek grants,
    but other finance products are also commonly sought
  4. Lack of finance and funding can hold back companies
    from developing and commercialising innovation

The report summarises that during the Covid-19 pandemic, use of external finance by smaller businesses hit new highs, supported by Covid-19 emergency loan schemes. While this helped businesses to manage and grew during the crisis, there have been other challenges, and external finance remains an important resource for businesses as they navigate through uncertain times.

Key findings

The overall key findings from the report include:

  1. 2022 has been a challenging year for the UK’s 5.5m smaller businesses, with high energy prices and inflation. This put pressure on many small businesses’ financial positions.
  2. Lending volumes grew in 2022 with challenger and specialist banks accounting for a record share of gross lending in 2022. Use of external finance figures, however, point to increasing signs of difficulties in accessing finance.
  3. Equity finance raised by small businesses saw a turning point midway through 2022 following two years of very strong growth.
  4. Finance to support both new-to-market and new-to-business innovations are essential to delivering long-term economic growth in the UK economy.
  5. Equity flows are supporting smaller businesses to develop net zero solutions, with net-zero related deals making up an increasing share of activity. This points to more equity and debt funded investment in smaller businesses solutions.

The report also throws light on the role of inflation in various macroeconomic developments in the UK, possibility of recession, potential trends in business investments etc. Read the full report here. View the full Small Business Finance Markets report infographic.

The Greenhouse is a 12-month innovation programme for climate positive startups that offers early-stage (“pre-seed”) entrepreneurs access to business coaching with experienced professionals, a range of masterclasses, free workspace at our new headquarters in central London, and equity-free grant funding. Applications are now open for Cohort 5 of The Greenhouse climate accelerator programme, grab the opportunity and become part of their cleantech community! The deadline is the 6th of March 2023.

 

The Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment is one of the five global institutes at Imperial College London and on of the three Grantham sponsored centres in the UK. It was also a founding partner of Climate-KIC, Climate-KIC Accelerator, Climate Launchpad, The Journey and other initiatives at the Grantham Institute.

What are they looking for?

  • Teams who are passionate about climate change, working on something innovative, looking to learn, and 100% committed to achieving their vision.
  • Teams with a concrete idea with a potential for significant climate impact ad commercial growth.
  • Startups must be a legal entity registered in London not normally more than 12 months old (or register as a UK entity immediately upon selection).

What’s the catch for you?

  • Up to £20,000 equity-free grant funding.
  • Direct 1-on-1 coaching support with the experienced Greenhouse team
  • Masterclasses and workshops
  • Talks from relevant stakeholders, including alumni, investors, and others
  • Structured mentorship programme
  • An opportunity to present your idea to prominent investors in the climate innovation ecosystem
  • Office space in the heart of London
  • Membership to an increasingly active alumni community.

Teams will be assessed on the basis of their application forms and submitted pitch decks, and scored against the following criteria and quality of application:

  • Climate impact / relevance
  • Strength and uniqueness of innovation / IP
  • Potential to scale / Likelihood of market success
  • Team capability
  • Overall suitability for The Greenhouse

Instead of a formal interview process, selection will take place through a bootcamp, a 2-day event focused on your business model, getting to know your founder team and presenting to the other shortlisted startups for peer feedback. Following completion of the bootcamp, the final selection of up to 15 startups for The Greenhouse would be made.

Learn more and register today!