16 Oct 2013, 14:47
Berti Investments is a young and inspiring environmental impact company that invest in growing, entrepreneurial, low carbon businesses in the UK. Their concept is clear; Berti supports innovative organisations that are dedicated to carbon reduction and environmental best practices.
The Berti Green Accelerator (BGA) programme was launched in 2012 and attracted more than 80 companies from all over the UK to apply for investment and business support. This year, the programme, in partnership with leading global investor Coller Capital, is busy searching for three UK low carbon companies to help deliver their shared vision of creating a long-term positive impact on the environment. The process is shaped by three simple stages: an initial online application submission, presenting in a finalist selection event, then going Dragon's Den-style into a final pitch. The three winning companies will be awarded with a free 12 month mentorship programme from Coller Capital, and access to a £3m funding pool from Berti.
Firefly Solar, specialists in Solar Energy Solutions, was one of the 2012 winning companies and serves as a case study of how funding and mentorship can have a measurable impact on small business. Berti's funding has allowed Firefly to move from the start-up phase into a sustainable growth phase. Firefly received six months of first-class business support and expertise from Hamilton Bradshaw Impact Partners, and £550,000 of investment from Berti Investments to help their business advance to the next level.
Andy Mead, founder and CEO, Firefly said:
"With the economic crisis making it difficult for small businesses to access funds, the Berti Green Accelerator Programme (BGA) has filled the gap for British cleantech SMEs. The people behind BGA share a common vision with Firefly Solar. This shared vision paired with the extensive experience of the management of Berti Investments and their extended network has enabled Firefly to get the advice and support it needs to grow in a sustainable manner.
"Without Berti, Firefly would not have been able to move to new premises, expand the staff and grow the business at the same speed. The management at Berti has ensured that their time is made available to Firefly on an ongoing basis. Firefly has had access to a high-profile network of business leaders as a result of association with Berti. This culminated in appointing Jeremy Leggett as chairman - one of the industry's leading thinkers."
It's clear to see why the Berti Green Accelerator programme is popular, but it is by no means an easy ride. The judging criteria is strict: companies must be able to demonstrate long-term, sustainable growth strategies that align with the programme's impact-focused approach to investing. Many entrepreneurs lack experience and knowledge about certain aspects of their business, operating without financial or operational expertise. Berti Investments recognises the restraints and dilemmas these entrepreneurial businesses face, and has dedicated itself to breaking barriers and allowing entrepreneurial companies to access capital, business networks, and elite, hands-on support from experts.
The low carbon sector is a key growth area in the UK, but many young, innovative start-ups entering the marketplace find themselves struggling to secure the necessary funding they need to thrive, and may also lack the guidance and mentorship they need to grow. Investor confidence in the UK's green industry has been at an all-time low, meaning that these SMEs have to really stand out from the crowd to get the attention of investors in this hugely competitive landscape. This is where the Berti Green Accelerator programme steps in. Berti believes in the power of smart thinking, combining investment and expertise to ensure a greater chance of building a sustainable, successful business. Berti is fully in tune with the increased scarcity of natural resources, and therefore looks to support businesses that will solve some of these related environmental and social problems.
Applications for the Berti Green Accelerator programme are now open and will close on November 7th 2013. The Berti Green Accelerator is in partnership with Coller Capital and supported by Irwin Mitchell, ecoConnect and FORE Partnership.
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