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Gallery: Allia's Future 20 start-ups target sustainable goals

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The inaugural Future 20 at Allia's Cambridge Future Business Centre. Picture: Richard Marsham
The inaugural Future 20 at Allia's Cambridge Future Business Centre. Picture: Richard Marsham

Solving global challenges just got a whole lot more innovative with 20 new start-ups now being supported by Allia Future Business to help deliver the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The search for 20 of the UK’s most inspiring start-ups to address – and ultimately solve – global and local challenges in an innovative fashion resulted in an “overwhelming” response from entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The chosen 20 ventures in this no-fee, no-equity incubator knew that, if selected, they would receive a 12 to 18 month bespoke package of strategic support and practical business advice from Allia and a network of partners from across the UK tech, innovation and professional service industries.

The uniquely bespoke selection process started on May 1 when invitations went out to the community to get an application in.

The challenges they were asked to address include clean water and sanitation, food poverty, clean energy, responsible consumption, gender equality and well-being.

Applications closed on June 3, and for the next fortnight the candidate field was considered. When the 20 successful ventures were selected they were informed, and the event on Friday was their first chance to get together and assess their good fortune.

Their new situation includes mentorship from entrepreneurs and angel investors as well as introductions to funders and opportunities to raise capital, plus advice on product development, go-to-market roadmaps and access to testing sites, together with free workspace and prototyping facilities.

At the launch event at Allia’s Cambridge Future Business Centre last week – where the keynote was delivered by Dr Shai Vyakarnam, director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield– each founder presented their venture in a one-minute pitch to introduce their solution and explain how it has the potential to create positive impact.

Caroline Hyde, CEO of Allia Future Business Centres, said: “We were delighted to finally meet the successful ventures, who were all really excited to be on board the Future 20. Offering them a bespoke package of support truly means that they will receive the help, advice and coaching required to scale to the next level and achieve maximum impact.”

The successful chosen ventures are:

- COGZ: reducing food waste and creating a market for surplus food

- Playphysio: gaming solutions that transform children’s daily physiotherapy routines

- Appt: Boosting preventative healthcare across demographic divides, whilst reducing NHS cost

- Sutrue: the world’s first automated medical stitching devices

- Banjo Robinson: Improving literacy for primary school children through engaging with letter writing from a magical cat

- Blue Tap: improves access to high quality drinking water in low resource settings

- Work for Good: enabling more charitable giving from SME businesses across the UK

- Maji: helps people achieve financial freedom by making the most of their pensions

- Greater Change: providing opportunities for homeless people through empathetic crowdfunding

- Disability Horizons: an online forum that aims to give disabled people a voice

- Twipes: truly flushable and eco-friendly wet wipes

- Wearth: online shopping platform for all things eco and sustainable

- BEEN London: recycled bags and accessories reducing plastic and fashion industry waste

- Phycofeeds: solar bio oil and feedstocks from waste

- OceanMind: empowers enforcement and compliance to protect the world’s fisheries

- Seedlink: creating sustainable agricultural supply chains by connecting rural farmers to urban markets

- Padlock: providing flexible cyber security jobs and training to lone parents

- NEMI Teas: ethical tea company providing employment to refugees with Fairtrade, biodegradable and plastic free products

- Camnexus: provides inclusive connectivity and data with sense using low power technologies

- Supply Change: a social supply chain connecting buyers to social enterprises.

Rebecca Donaldson from Blue Tap, a Cambridge-based social enterprise which provides 3D printed water purification technology for low resource settings said of the outcome: “The Blue Tap team are all very excited to be part of the Future 20. We’re looking to scale up our operations internationally and are keen to find structure and support during the growth phase of our start-up journey.”

Keynote speaker Dr Shai Vyakarnam, director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield. Picture: Richard Marsham
Keynote speaker Dr Shai Vyakarnam, director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield. Picture: Richard Marsham

Also due to take up a place on the incubator is John Fidoe from Banjo Robinson, a magical cat who encourages letter writing by ‘cat mail’. John said: “As a start-up with an ambitious mission to increase literacy levels for children from all backgrounds, we want to immerse ourselves in an environment which will be supportive of that social mission and enable us to grow as fast as possible. We believe that being part of the Future 20 will be an important factor in creating that environment for us through mentoring, partners and our fellow cohort of social impact start-ups.”

Key partners are AgeTech Accelerator, Agri-Tech East, Anglian Water, Aurora Cambridge, Cambridge Cleantech, Cambridge Wireless, Enterprise Europe Network, The Health Foundry, Innovate UK, Oxford Greentech, Stone King, Water Innovation Network and the Wellcome Genome Campus.

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