Energy Innovation Agency hosts successful 'Driving Sustainability' event

  • Monday, April 29, 2024
  • Posted By The Growth Company

Collaboration and innovation form the fundamental pillars that support the foundation of the Energy Innovation Agency (the Agency). The Agency supports innovators to scale and demonstrate effective carbon reducing solutions and businesses to drive action around sustainability by deploying solutions, in doing so enabling the Greater Manchester city-region to accelerate carbon reductions and reach its 2038 net zero target, as evidenced at the annual Agency event, held on Tuesday 23rd April at Bruntwood Circle Square.

Now in its third year, over 100 businesses, innovators, funders, and investors came together in Manchester city centre to take climate action; throughout the day speakers demonstrated the breadth of ways in which the Agency can support them, whether it was through connecting innovators with investors, or funders or helping innovative products reach end users. There are so many ways the Agency supports the region to reach its net zero goals. The event also highlighted the opportunities and challenges many organisations are facing, including how to decarbonise the way in which buildings are heated.

The Agency has already engaged with more than 120 innovators, locally, nationally and internationally, and in the Greater Manchester area with more than 30 businesses to help accelerate collaboration, innovation deployment, and action on business sustainability to support GM’s ambitious 2038 target.

This, our third annual Agency event, focussed on the here and now of innovative solutions and decision making, and how these approaches can help underpin sustainability, and it didn’t disappoint. Massive thanks to all our panellists, presenters, partners, and the diverse audience for providing real world insights, and fantastic discussions, into how collectively, we can support and accelerate business sustainability, overcome challenges, and help meet carbon targets. I am also thrilled that the event supported a lot of valuable networking and connections, which are vital to underpin collaboration between organisations, essential, to help accelerate action against carbon and climate targets and make businesses more efficient.

David Schiele, Director of the Energy Innovation Agency

James Harries, Head of Climate Change and Sustainability at Trafford Council delivered the keynote speech, during which he informed attendees of the proactive steps Trafford Council is taking to reduce its carbon emissions. James spoke about how The Agency is helping the council to think about tech solutions and build capacity in the workforce.

James said, ‘We are proud of the work we are doing with the Energy Innovation Agency to provide us with hands on support to businesses.’

Currently more than half of Trafford’s emissions come from Trafford Park, which is less than 10% of the overall Trafford area. To help reduce these emissions The Agency is part of a joint venture supporting the decarbonisation of Trafford Park, along with GMCA and the Growth Company, via a project called Bee Net Zero Trafford Park.  



We are trying to encourage our innovators to think about how these innovations need to make economic sense, we want every business and individual to feel like they can go on the net zero path, so accessibility for all is really important, as well as cost reduction.

Peter Emery, Chair of the Energy Innovation Agency

Of key value at the event was the networking time, attendees enjoyed the opportunity to meet each other, hear about innovative ideas and some even left with possible investment or funding opportunities.

The event held three panel discussions focusing on: end user businesses who have already completed or are part-way through a decarbonisation project; the investment opportunities available to innovators as they look to scale and grow; and finally some real shared examples from innovators about the projects they have worked on and the challenges they are already helping to solve.  

Key tips from the panels included:

1. Think creatively about how you can engage others into the process.

2. Don’t take the first investment opportunity offered unless its right for your product.

3. More than 50% of an innovator’s journey rests on their focus and determination to succeed.

4. Work with the Energy Innovation Agency, especially if you’re a small team or you don’t have the required skills needed for your innovation.

5. Work backwards from your end product so you spend your funding effectively and efficiently.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

7. Collaboration is key.


The event ended with an innovator discussing the journey he and his co-founders are on having secured funding from the German authorities with support from the Agency and the ongoing business development support from The Agency and the team at Innovate UK Business Growth Hub, as well as  pitches from four businesses looking for investment.

The Agency connects innovators with businesses, funders and investors, they also help bring products to market, and help businesses to decarbonise their operations and become more sustainable. If you would like to talk to The Agency about your innovative idea or find out more about this event or the Agency, contact us.