Spark! are looking for volunteers who can support a young person with one-to-one career and employability mentoring.

As a volunteer on the CONNECT Mentoring programme, Spark! can ensure that you will have everything you need in terms of guidance, resources and support

What Spark! Provides to mentors:

1- 2 hr in-person training session
2- A ‘Mentor Toolkit’, inc. resources, activities and guidance
3- Personalised support every step of the way

What Spark! Needs from you:

1- Commitment to the programme and six 1hr mentoring sessions
2- Flexible diary to schedule in sessions
3- Patience and understanding for your young mentee

If you would like to be a mentor, then please click here for the expression of interest form.

We celebrate an incredible accolade for two of our home grown West London innovators who beat off the competition to be showcased in the world’s largest sustainable international conference in Dubai last November – COP28.  Magway was selected amongst hundreds of applicants to present their solution in the UK pavilion in the blue zone whilst Radiant Matter  were in the spotlight at the Stella McCartney Sustainable Market: Innovating Tomorrow’s Solutions.

Radiant Matter, a chosen supplier partner to Stella McCartney, was able to showcase how they are pushing the boundaries of biomaterials. Their contribution represents a significant step towards reducing the environmental impact of traditional material in fashion.

Magway, recognised at COP28 as one of only two companies to feature a physical model on the main UK pavilion, demonstrated the potential to revolutionise ‘hard-to-decarbonise’ industries like construction and mining. The enthusiastic reception at the event underscored the substantial impact their solution could have in transforming these sectors.

The success of Magway and Radiant Matter at COP28 highlights the power of collaboration, innovation, and a dedicated community.

Read more on each of our spotlight companies journey at COP28 :

Radiant Matter at COP 28       Magway in the UK pavilion

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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

Hillingdon Council, using funds available via the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is launching the Hillingdon Enterprise Programme.

After a successful commitment of over £8 million of ARG funding on sustaining and meeting the immediate needs of Hillingdon business during the covid crisis, the council is now looking to target a further and significant amount element of funding to a smaller select number of Hillingdon based businesses, potentially bringing long term benefits in terms of growth and job creation.

The council has set aside £1.75 million of ARG funding to support the Hillingdon Enterprise scheme, these would be flexible in the region of £50k to £200k for exception applications and the the Council aim to support a minimum of 10 to fifteen Hillingdon based businesses. West London Business will offer services in the management of the grants on behalf of the council.

While the target sectors have been kept as flexible as possible to avoid any exclusion of business ideas that could deliver future growth or employment potential, the priority of the scheme would be for the following sectors:

  • Green Economy

The targeted use of the ARG funding could serve to encourage businesses to engage and potentially support a range of ‘green initiatives, which create business growth and employment

  • Innovation

Due to the high concentration of aviation sector support companies, supply chain sector is a major employer in Hillingdon. As the aviation sector slowly recovers from the covid crisis, the sector could potentially be a source of growth and employment opportunities.

  • Creative/media

This category reflects the increasing growth and future economic impact of the film and associated creative production sectors in Hillingdon.

  • High growth

The category, aims at supporting businesses that do not fit into any other target sectors, but are worthy of support.

The eligibility to apply for the grant include:

The eligibility criteria for businesses to apply for the grant include:

  • Must be based in Hillingdon Borough
  • SMEs, defined as companies that have not more than 250 employees, an annual turnover of not more than £25.9 million and a balance sheet of no more than £12.9 million in total.
  • Collaborative applications are engaged. This could be with a client or a supplier, an academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO).
  • Projects can last from 12 months up to a maximum of 18 months.
  • Projects must demonstrate a potential economic and/or employment benefit for Hillingdon.

The application process is in two stages, with the first one comprising of providing a brief outline of the project. Once West London Business has reviewed the application, you will be notified in order to proceed to the second round. Lear more about the application process and apply today!