Smart City, Smart Solutions – International Low Carbon delegation to Hong Kong

We ask Low Carbon Ideas Lab resident Karen Finlayson, CEO of Colour Elements, about the recent Hong Kong Mission.

It just shows that when you’re starting out you’ve got to put yourself out there. You never know when or where you’re going to make the next connection or meet the right person. And there’s no shortage of opporutnities to do that at ECCI.

What does your company, Colour Elements, do?

Colour Elements offers inspiration for worn-colour through digital products and training for leaders within retail, business and politics – reducing wasteful consumption of clothing.

I successfully pitched to join ECCI’s Low Carbon Ideas Lab last Autumn and have been soaking up as many of the pitching and networking opportunities ever since.

As an early stage business I want to take every opportunity I can to get my message out there so when the opportunity cam up to go to Hong Kong I jumped at the chance.

What was the purpose of the trip?

The overall aim was to introduce Scottish companies to senior Hong Kong business, academic, voluntary and government representatives, explore potential partnerships and customers, and hear from experts regarding policy drivers, regulatory landscape, business environment and key business opportunities.

Hong Kong is a major financial centre with a population of seven million people, so it provides a unique and exciting opportunity for Scottish businesses focused on low carbon products and services. And as the ‘Gateway to China’ it also offers access to an even greater market.

What did you do?

It was incredible packed week for me and the other delegates (see the list below). We attended the City Carbon Vision 2015 conference, an event tackling green action and investment in the buildings sector to reduce carbon footprints at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. I was asked to speak in a discussion panel about my role within the sustainable fashion as part of the ‘Creating Smarter Buildings for Cities’ session.

ECCI also put together a series of high level meetings with organisations and corporations interested in Scottish low carbon products and projects such as UKTI, Invest Hong Kong, Swire Group, China Light and Power, Marks & Spencer, HK Jockey Club as well as Universities such as PolyU, Tour & networking reception at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP).

What did Colour Elements get out of it?

I got a great response from the delegates at the conference. Shopping is a major past time and tourist attraction and waste is already a major issue because of the high density population so there is a massive opportunity for sustainable fashion in Hong Kong. I was also able to meet up with some Hong Kong based fashion bloggers I follow on twitter and will be following up this week with the Professor of Fashion and Technology at PolyU. As well as the planned meetings I had a piece of good fortune when I bumped into the founder of EcoChic – the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition – at a networking event. It just shows that when you’re starting out you’ve got to put yourself out there. You never know when or where you’re going to make the next connection or meet the right person. And there’s no shortage of opporutnities to do that at ECCI.

Karen’s fellow delegate companies include:

BRE, Rufus Logan 

Experts on the sustainable built environment

Envirocentre, Paul Darnborough 
Environmental consultants across a number of areas focusing on waste management & recycling

GS RENEWABLE and GS PassivHaus, Thomas Vaughan

Energy Efficiency Specialists (winners of the UK National Heat Pump Award in 2013) and developing carbon negative housing

Route Monkey, Kate Armitage

Solve complex mobility problems via optimisation of assets including vehicles, employees and infrastructure by automating the planning process and driving efficiencies within all types of businesses and organisations

Spot Sensors, Gordon McGregor 

Development and delivery of internet connected environmental sensor devices – target markets include air quality monitoring

Sunamp Ltd., Maurizio Zaglio

A leader in thermal energy storage and have devleloped the sunamp heat battery a very efficient battery storage solution delivering heat and hot water

Sustainable Partners Ltd, Dr Bob Irving

Conversion of algae biomass to transport biofuel; bioethanol and other relevant by-products of the process

Colour Elements, Karen Finlayson          

Colour Elements offers inspiration for worn-colour through digital products and training for leaders within retail, business and politics – reducing wasteful consumption of clothing.

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