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The Environment Now entrepreneurs share their stories

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by Startacus Admin

The Environment Now
Earlier this week we highlighted that The Environment Now, a UK programme that funds unique digital ideas that aim to tackle environmental issues, was again open for applications.

With the programme now running for over a year, (offering people aged 17-24 the opportunity to apply for a grant of £10K to benefit the environment), The Environment Now has a strong and growing cohort of young entrepreneurs that have taken part in the programme.

Keen to find out more about the type of projects that have been supported, we asked Lydia Allen, the Partnerships Coordinator for The Environment NowThe Environment Now to share all on a few of the projects to date.

"The Environment Now has been running for over a year, offering people aged 17-24 the opportunity to apply for a grant of £10,000 to benefit the environment. The programme funds unique digital ideas to tackle environmental issues. Through our partner O2 we are also able to offer project leaders mentoring, work experience and insight sessions with industry professionals.

We have now got an inspirational bunch of young people on our programme from all across the UK. We asked a few of them about their experiences on the programme so far:


Matt Mew has a keen passion for designing and constructing sustainable buildings. Using digital technology, he is able to code his machinery to make accurate cuts of wood to minimise waste. The segments can then be easily assembled together, making some parts self assembly if you’re confident enough. If not, you can always ask the team to construct this.

His main product is HuxHaus, a small building (think garden office) which can be designed by the user using an online tool. This gives the user the freedom to design their product. He is also coming out with products such as bicycle wall mounts (Maurad), standing desks (Flexi Station) and birch pegboard (Hoard) which you can find and buy via his website.

We asked Matt about Huxlo and his experience on The Environment Now programme so far:

“I started Huxlo to combine two of my core values. "Democratic Design", designs, products and processes that are accessible to all, and "Sustainability as Standard", simply Matt from Huxlobeing a responsible citizen. The Environment Now have been completely understanding of these values and are helping me forge my business around them.

The access to advisers has already been invaluable, learning how the "professionals" do it has really helped me organise my business structure and transition from "startup" to "small business.

I'm using the funding to manufacture a pop-up shop, and exhibit HuxHaus around the south west.The vision is to build the tools to enable the next generation of self-builders, The Environment Now has taken Huxlo one step closer.”

Follow @Huxlo_UK on Twitter for updates.

Breathing Place

Omar Durrani hopes to raise awareness of air pollution in cities. Following on from research into the miscalculation of air pollution data in many cities, Omar wants to let the general public have access to this information themselves.

We asked Omar to explain his project idea and what he's going to use the funding for:

Omar from Breathing Place"Our hope is to involve everyday people with Breathing Place so they can do their part in protecting our environment and our health and to hold our local councils accountable for accurately reporting air quality levels.

Through the funding and support I have received, we will set up a citizen science platform for people to work through a work flow to establish the correct measurement geometries that should be used.

This information would be used to report back to local councils and ensure compliance with the Aarhus Convention.

We look to tackle this problem first in the UK, but more importantly to lay the foundations for a system where people can hold their governments accountable and help improve air quality levels, letting all of us live better and breathe better."

Yellow Label Ltd

Sam Patchitt wants to tackle food waste in supermarkets. Sam and the Yellow Label Team have created an app where users can view which supermarkets have reduced priced food. Sam is currently working with major YellowLabelsupermarket retailers and food charities to make this happen and has already tested the app in Leeds. He hopes Yellow Label will be able to expand nationally to reduce supermarket waste and save users money.

Sam talked about his experience on The Environment Now programme:

"The Environment Now programme, and the funding that comes with it, has helped us realise our ambition. Before the programme we were just 3 founders with a good idea. Now we have a product that was tested and loved in Leeds city centre.

Creating this product has energised the whole company, and we couldn’t have done it without the funding and support from The Environment Now.

Sam YellowLabelThe funding has directly lead to a redesign of our product, and allowed us to live test the app in Leeds. However, all thehelp and advise has also been invaluable. From insightful and inspirational events to working with connections like O2, The Environment Now has driven YellowLabel forwards. Our dream of preventing waste and saving money is now within our grasp!"

Keep up to date with the Yellow Label project on their Twitter @YellowLabelTech and Facebook.

If you like the sound of Matt, Omar and Sam’s experiences, then we want to hear from you. First, check out the eligibility guidelines below to check you fit the criteria.

To apply for The Environment Now you need to:

  • Be 17-24 years old.
    • Use digital technology to solve an environmental issue - this could include:
      • using digital skills and/ digital connectivity
      • the use of existing or new technologies and digital platforms
      •  using digital research & data management.
      • Be based within the UK
      • Be committed to completing the project within 10 months.
      • Have a passion to inspire other young people.
The Environment Now

You can read more and apply on our website, though you don’t have long left as our last deadline is fast approaching on the November 14th 2017.

If you have any questions, or you’re not sure if you’re idea is what we’re looking for, email The Environment Now team. We love hearing from you.

Follow us on Twitter @natyouthagency @GoThinkBig @OBrightFuture #TheEnvironmentNow

To you want to hear updates from the programme, sign up to our newsletter to hear what our projects are up to.

The Environment Now programme is funded by O2 and the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund as part of the Our Bright Future programme. The programme is managed by the National Youth Agency.

Content created with the help of The Environment Now. 


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Published on: 30th September 2017

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