A joint bid to the Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund by the University and Kent Invicta Chamber has been successful with over half a million pounds being awarded to help Kent’s SMEs take steps towards tackling climate change.
The programme, Net Zero Pathway for Change, will provide businesses in Kent with free access to carbon reduction advisers, workshops, University collaboration through innovation grants, and funding to support the implementation of carbon reduction activities.
The programme sits alongside the already successful Low Carbon Across the South and East (LOCASE) support scheme delivered by Kent County Council and will expand the range of support measures available across the county to ensure Kent is on the right path for the future of our planet.
Commenting on the recent award, Jo James, CEO at the Chamber said: ‘Every businessperson I have spoken to now has climate change foremost in their mind and there is a desire and a sense of urgency to get things done. However, after a turbulent eighteen months and continued instability in certain sectors, small businesses have needed more than just facts and figures to help them make a difference. This programme will give businesses the practical financial support and relevant guidance they need to implement carbon reduction activities. We’re delighted to be working with the University of Kent again on this vital programme and proud to be leading the way.’
With access to academics, student workshops and grant funding, the University will play a significant role in helping SMEs develop new products, processes and technology that will support the long term needs of our climate.
Carole Barron, Director of Knowledge Exchange & Innovation (KEI) at the University said: ‘The University is delighted to be a strategic partner in the Chamber’s successful Net Zero Pathway for Change project. There has never been a more important time to move forward the net zero agenda with COP26 highlighting the significant amount of work that needs to be done to reach our carbon emission targets.
‘The Community Renewal Fund will act as a catalyst for change in the region. Our Net Zero Deep Dive Training Programmes are designed to change hearts and minds on what ‘net zero’ means and the challenges – from technological, to moral, to achieving it. The programme will target the hardest to reach group of small businesses who lack the absorptive capacity to recognise the value of net zero, assimilate it, and apply it to their environment. Immediately following the training, our academic experts will contact the businesses attending the sessions to identify innovative interventions to drive net zero changes.’
The Net Zero Pathway for Change programme will run until June 2022 and whilst primarily focused on activity in three pilot areas of Canterbury, Swale and Gravesend, businesses from across Kent will be able to access the support.