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Fund launched to help SMEs get into low carbon economy

A £6 million Low Carbon Challenge Fund to help SMEs grasp opportunities around climate change has been launched.

The Scottish Enterprise fund will be open to public, third sector and academic institutions working to create opportunities to advance the low carbon capabilities of SMEs within Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the fund today at Star Refrigeration in Glasgow, which has developed its own water source heat pump through its Star Refrigeration Renewable Energy subsidiary.

The First Minister said: “The launch of the Low Carbon Challenge Fund is another step towards our target of ending Scotland's contribution to global climate change by 2045. Being at the forefront of the global transition to a low carbon economy is not just good for the environment - it is stimulating innovation and opening up new opportunities for our businesses.

“This fund will back projects that help small and medium size companies across Scotland expand their expertise, develop products and build partnerships to enable them to exploit these new emerging markets. Star Refrigeration is a great example of how tackling climate change can also be good for jobs and business.”

Sturgeon said that as Scotland prepares to host the UN Climate Change Summit Cop26 in Glasgow in November it was fitting that Scottish companies are finding practical solutions to environmental issues.

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Steve Dunlop said: “This support for SMEs is intended to support the development of new low carbon solutions to harness opportunities and move from a climate emergency to a climate opportunity.

“Scottish Enterprise is working with partners to meet Scotland’s net zero target and ultimately provide the right environment for businesses to focus on more sustainable ways of working and the Low Carbon Challenge Fund is part of that.

“We will create initiatives across Scotland so we can really build momentum with our partners in the public sector, universities and the third sector and unlock opportunities around the climate emergency.

“All eyes will be on Scotland as Glasgow hosts COP26 later this year and the timing of our low carbon fund is right as we work to create a greener, more inclusive economy and I can’t wait to see what projects will be created.”

The fund will create initiatives for SMEs in areas including innovation, supply chain to market expansion with expertise sought across the low carbon spectrum from electric vehicles to low carbon homes of the future.

Dave Pearson, director of Star Renewable Energy, encouraged organisations to get involved.

He said: “River source heat pumps provide a scalable solution in cities and with the alignment of heat as a decarbonisation, clean-air priority as well as work by Scottish Government to advance opportunities for clean heat – the timing is great for the LCCF.”

Up to £6 million of grant funding is available from the European Regional Development Fund and will be awarded on a competitive basis, to support the creation of a national network of regionally-based initiatives for SMEs to access.

The fund is a two-stage process and will contribute up to a maximum of 50% of eligible project costs. The deadline for stage one applications is Friday 21 February.

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