5PRING – the consortium delivering the UK’s first 5G Accelerators – and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) have created the Green Innovation Challenge. The challenge is being run to attract and support start-ups and other small businesses to develop, prove and scale major new green innovations using 5G technology.

England’s low carbon economy, which includes low emission vehicles, low carbon energy and alternative fuels, is forecast to grow dramatically. In 2018 England’s low carbon economy generated £37 billion of turnover and around 130,000 green jobs. By 2050 the number of green jobs is forecast to increase tenfold to over 1.2 million with an associated increase in economic value – according to the Local Government Association.

The West Midlands is committed to lead England’s low carbon revolution by fostering the creation of new businesses and jobs through the WMCA’s WM2041 programme and the region has already started to lead in sectors such as electric and autonomous vehicles through its Future Mobility Zone.

Many of these green innovations are likely to come from start-ups and small businesses and 5G has a critical role to play. For example, 5G sensors are starting to be deployed in autonomous vehicles and transport infrastructure to enable more environmentally efficient transport as well as in energy infrastructure to prevent leaks and enable predictive maintenance.

Water is a precious resource that is becoming increasingly scarce, with analysts suggesting that UK demand may outstrip supply within the next 25 years. As a result, water management has become an increasingly important factor for businesses and their environmental impact.

In order to better facilitate the development of 5G solutions specifically tailored to improve water management and advance the circular economy, 5PRING has enlisted the support and sponsorship of SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions.
As part of the SUEZ sponsorship, experts from SUEZ will provide mentorship to successful applicants throughout the challenge, as well as support to identify business development and investment opportunities.

The Green Innovation Challenge is open now for applications from any UK businesses looking for support to use 5G to develop new green innovations. Successful applicants will gain access to cutting edge technology and a private 5G network, a tailored acceleration curriculum, coaching, mentoring and expertise provided throughout the programme from experts at Telefonica UK (O2), Deloitte, Wayra and the Digital Catapult.

Applications need to be submitted by 13 November via the link below and successful applicants will start working with 5PRING in Birmingham from January 2021.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said ‘Our businesses are going to play a crucial role in helping us hit our zero-carbon emissions target by 2041. We will all need to play our part in making the transition to zero carbon, but the drive and ingenuity of our region’s entrepreneurs is going to be absolutely essential to staying on track. That’s why we’re launching our Green Innovation Challenge, to incentivise businesses to develop new green innovations. Led by the 5G team at 5PRING, the scheme will offer support and resource to successful applicants in order to help us build back greener here in the West Midlands.’

Ed Cox, Director of Inclusive Growth and Public Service Reform at WMCA, added: “We are delighted to be driving forward the Green Innovation Challenge as business innovation is going to be critical if we are to hit our net zero target by 2041. This pioneering initiative led by 5PRING is a great incentive to businesses across the region to turn business-as-usual into their next market opportunity as we build back greener in the West Midlands.”

Ben Harding, UK & Ireland Country Leader for SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions, added: “Water resources, even in developed nations like the United Kingdom, are becoming increasingly scarce. Access to bigger, reliable data and digital solutions can help businesses understand the amount of water being used and enable them to make better decisions to reduce water consumption. We’re excited to meet the applicants stepping up to take on these issues through the Green Innovation Challenge.”

5PRING was pioneered by West Midlands 5G Limited (WM5G). Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G, added: “The involvement of our sponsors with 5PRING’s Green Innovation Challenge is exactly the type of market collaboration we set-out to drive when pioneering this 5G innovation hub. At WM5G we are committed to support the WMCA’s vision for tackling climate change. We look forward to seeing some of the solutions these start-ups bring forward and are confident that through collaboration we can help to will bring these proofs of concept into reality in future.”

A series of engagement events will run throughout the 5PRING programme known as Engage, Explore and Exploit. For more information, visit: https://5pring.org/

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