June 2021

Students set to join NatWest’s 'green entrepreneur' Climate Hackathon

By Melanie Hall

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University College Birmingham is set to take part in NatWest’s Climate Hackathon – bringing together all five of Birmingham’s universities for the first time in a challenge where students join forces to develop ideas for green and sustainable business practices.

Developed as part of NatWest’s commitment to championing climate solutions and the push towards a low-carbon future, the event will be delivered as part of the bank’s Business Builder and Climate Accelerator programme.

Around 50 students and alumni across BSEEN (a start-up support programme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, led by Aston University in partnership with Birmingham City University, Newman University and University College Birmingham) and The University of Birmingham, will be invited to take part in the two-day interactive event on 7 and 8 July.

The students will be challenged in teams to develop innovative, green-focused business solutions aimed at fostering sustainable behaviours for life, during higher and further education. With the guidance of NatWest’s Enterprise team, they will then take their idea through to business modelling, proof of concept, prototyping and to market, with the event culminating in a pitching workshop.

A panel discussion will also take place on day one, supported by senior stakeholders in the city’s climate affairs.

"Enterprise Hive recognises the importance of tackling climate change in this day and age, and the importance of supporting creative and innovative students and graduates for our future"

Nethan Punj Co-founder of Enterprise Hive, University College Birmingham

The main aim of the Climate Hackathon will be to encourage the development of new ideas and innovations that provide a positive impact on the world’s fight against climate change. It is hoped that many of the ideas formed during the challenge will be taken further by the students, either via their university studies or through the NatWest Climate Accelerator programme.

At the end of the second day, teams taking part will be invited to submit a completed business overview and 60-second pitch for consideration. The winning team will receive funding from the universities to deliver an MVP (minimal viable product) as well as secure a place on NatWest’s Climate Accelerator programme.

Josh Winfield, Regional Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “I am humbled that all five of the city’s universities are uniting in support of our Climate Hackathon. Open and available to anybody with a desire to combat climate change, we’ll not only be keeping a climate focus but developing enterprise and leadership skills too.

“With the winning entry being able to access our Climate Accelerator programme, I am excited by the fact that we’re at the nucleus of some fantastic concepts and who’s to say we’re not on the precipice of a world-beating, Birmingham-based climate solution.”

Nethan Punj, co-founder of University College Birmingham's Enterprise Hive and BSEEN coordinator, said: "Enterprise Hive recognises the importance of tackling climate change in this day and age, and the importance of supporting creative and innovative students and graduates for our future.” 

Joe Margetts, who founded Enterprise Hive with Nethan, said: "We are proud to be in collaboration with NatWest for the Climate Change Hackathon, not only tackling major issues, but providing further opportunities to our students and graduates.”  

NatWest is committed to playing a key part in tackling climate change. As part of this, at least 25% of the spaces in the bank’s 12 UK-wide entrepreneurial accelerators, which support around 1,000 entrepreneurs a year, will be dedicated to supporting climate-focused businesses.

Find out more about University College Birmingham's Enterprise Hive and the BSEEN Programme.

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