27 September 2017
Iain Findlay, co-founder and co-director of consultancy Aurora Sustainability, is a mentor for green ideas competition ClimateLaunchpad at ECCI. His business partner Isabella Guerrini de Claire is a mentor on our Climate-KIC Accelerator programme.
Here Iain writes about his experience of supporting low carbon start-ups to develop their business ideas through Climate-KIC.
It’s hard to believe that the journey Isabella and I have been on with Climate-KIC is barely a year old.
We are in the unusual position of being previous participants on the programme’s ClimateLaunchpad competition – reaching the European finals last year – and now acting as mentors for start-ups taking part in the Climate-KIC programme at ECCI.
This allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of the start-ups we are mentoring – and speak from experience about what a useful and energising process it is, regardless of how far you progress.
Being an entrepreneur is a heady mixture of enthusiasm, self-belief, self-doubt, sleepless nights and determination. That’s what I love most about the process – being around people who have the ideas and the desire to make the future a place we might still be able to live in.
The ClimateLaunchpad boot camp training really focusses the mind on what it takes to make an idea happen. It’s a reality check. We ask participants to pitch again and again, honing as they go. We ask the necessary questions – what are they actually selling? And who is going to buy it? The improvement is staggering. Change must happen if our future is to be less hazardous. ClimateLaunchpad is about helping people become a force for this change.
The Climate-KIC Accelerator programme is less about having ideas and more about turning one of those ideas into a commercial proposition. It’s a much more serious affair and so it should be – money is being invested.
As Climate-KIC mentors, Aurora Sustainability has been lucky to work with two different entrepreneurs with wildly different ideas. We speak the language of sustainability and these smart, driven and inspired people hear us – with the learning going both ways.
There is lots of crazy weather out there but only one global climate. And it is not happy. Change is coming and Climate-KIC is the world’s largest concerted attempt to focus the power of entrepreneurial imagination on this challenge. We feel lucky to be a part of it. ECCI seems like the natural home for this competition in Scotland. It’s an inspiring place for an inspirational initiative.
And maybe that’s what sticks with me the most. Climate-KIC feels like a family affair. We’re in it together. If an amazing idea comes to fruition, we will all benefit. And if someone makes a lot of money from their years of hard work and self-belief, I’m happy with that. And what could be better than working on this amazing programme in Scotland, home of world leading inventions and innovations – and of many of the climate innovators of tomorrow.