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Green ventures get the green light thanks to GeoVation

03 July 2013

Four groups of entrepreneurs from across the country are set to receive a share of £100,000 funding to turn their visions for greener business into a reality.

New phones apps, carbon maps, creative educational challenges and recycling networks were among the four winning entries of the latest GeoVation Challenge from Ordnance Survey.

Budding entrepreneurs across Great Britain were tasked with coming up with new innovations and ideas that could help businesses improve their environmental performance – with a slice of £100,000 available for the winners.

Over the weekend of 22 June, 10 invited teams of entrepreneurs attended a GeoVation Camp at Ordnance Survey’s head office in Southampton. Over the weekend the teams had the opportunity to develop their prototype ventures with the support of service designers, geography students and mapping experts from Ordnance Survey. There was also help on-hand from Environment Agency, who supported this challenge. As the weekend came to a close, the teams were visited by the judging panel to find out how their ideas were progressing and were asked to deliver a short presentation to the judges and invited audience.

Following the presentations four ventures were awarded the GeoVation prize and are set to receive a share of the £100,000 funding. The next stage of the challenge is for each of the winners to submit a detailed venture plan to the judging panel, who will meet again on 17 July 2013 to confirm the amounts of funding to be awarded.

The four successful winners were:

Carbon Prophet will use funding from Ordnance Survey to map soil carbon to improve environmental performance. Farmers are currently not aware of the carbon in their soils and the hidden value of this. A simple soil test will enable farmers to monitor the levels of carbon in their soils. The results will help create a carbon map of the nation’s agricultural soil, which will be used as the basis for a carbon offset trading scheme.

GeoCraft will enable schools and local businesses to work together to encourage learning about sustainability through Minecraft. Using Ordnance Survey data, it will stimulate children to think about environmental challenges and ideas to solve these, which can be fed back to the local business to implement.

Element Green Recycling plans to help businesses reduce costs by separating waste. Thirty per cent of recycled co-mingled waste is sent to landfills due to contamination. Using mapping to show the location of businesses, local waste carrier services and reprocessing companies, this idea will help businesses to improve their recycling and separation of waste materials.

Streetkleen Bio Project aims to provide a practical, innovative solution based around the anaerobic digestion of dog waste to create usable energy (methane). Dog fouling is a major issue for many of our towns and cities. Using the Streetkleen app, incidents of dog fouling can be photographed and reported. It can then be collected and taken to an anaerobic digester, where it will create methane to provide energy.

Chris Parker, one of the GeoVation organisers at Ordnance Survey, said: “This GeoVation challenge continues to be a big success. We were very impressed with new ideas for this latest challenge and I was overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm and passion shown by the ten groups during the two day camp.

“We asked people to come up with ideas that will solve real problems through the use of geography and innovation. These four winning entries will prove a boost to business, communities and the environment and I am really looking forward to seeing the final venture plans and watching these great projects develop.”

Ant Parsons, Environment Agency Business Innovation Manager, said: “helping to judge this GeoVation Challenge has been really exciting. No one knew what sort of interest we would get to help business improve the environment but the entries offer solutions to a range of important and difficult challenges. What a great way to bring together environmental challenges that are important to people with entrepreneurs, designers, technology, geography and then see new businesses form as a result – brilliant!”

For further information on GeoVation please visit www.geovation.org.uk

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