Is ARENA business support for you?

Are you an individual with an interest in starting a business associated with green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, or resource efficiency? Or an SME that is looking for support to expand? Or a larger company seeking support for developing novel nature-based solution or resource efficiency products? If you are, and have a London registered address, you could be eligible for free support through the world’s first nature-based solution urban business incubator: ARENA. Co-funded by London ERDF, ARENA is three-year business support programme led by the Sustainable Research Institute, at the University of East London, in partnership with Barking Riverside Ltd.

Rainwater attenuation planters: an example of a nature-based solution enterprise product idea supported by the SRI

The ARENA project is supporting London start-ups, spin-outs and SMEs that are seeking to develop and commercialise their innovative ideas, products and services in the areas of resource efficiency, urban green infrastructure, and nature based solutions for urban resilience.  These sectors are exhibiting significant global growth. ARENA aims to build on innovation strengths to contribute to London’s aspirations of a world leading low carbon city in harmony with the natural environment.

As an ARENA project beneficiary you would receive free and bespoke expertise and advice directly in accordance with your business and innovation needs. Our team of subject area experts, researchers and innovation practitioners can provide:

Market knowledge and networks – support to enhance the commercial validation of innovations to increase their market deployment and uptake

Research and development support – In-lab research support, testing and technological validation for early stage innovations

Demonstration trials and assessment – facilitation of demonstration pilots, performance monitoring and assessment in a real-world environment – the new Ecology Centre and Urban Living Lab at Barking Riverside

Promotion and showcasing – publicity and promotion at Barking Riverside Ecology Centre, in the heart of the Barking Riverside development site.

Market rollout and procurement support – brokerage to appropriate private and public sector clients

In the SRI we have broad range of expertise associated with research and development including a track record of collaborating with industry. This expertise spans such disciplines as peatland conservation and wetland agriculture, urban green infrastructure design, air pollution monitoring, stormwater management, cradle-to-cradle technologies, aggregate development from waste, and community-focused enterprise and stewardship. Within these discipline areas we have key expertise in monitoring, evaluation and analyses. All of these assets are being applied to the ARENA project and we are ready and waiting for individuals and companies to sign up.

Rainwater simulator for green roof aggregate testing. Just one of the facilities we have in the SRI for providing business support

Examples of our past knowledge transfer partnerships can be found on this blog. Examples of other knowledge exchange projects with external partners include:

Sustainable Drainage System monitoring for Groundwork London, TfL, the Environment Agency, Thames Water Ltd, and the London Boroughs of Newham and Hammersmith & Fulham.

Recycled aggregate development from waste with Tate & Lyle, Tarmac, Augean Ltd.

Air pollution monitoring with Poplar HARCA and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Community engagement and placemaking with Poplar HARCA, Healthy New Towns, Barking Riverside Ltd, Thames View Ward.

Ecological monitoring for Essex County Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, the London Legacy Development Corporation, The Ecology Consultancy, Barking Riverside Ltd, Natural England, Sustrans, and Plantlife

Scanning electron microscope image of Sphagnum papillosum leaf. The SRI has access to a wide range of analytical and imagery equipment that might be able to support your product development.

Spaces on ARENA are limited and filling up fast so, if you think you might be interested, please contact us directly or complete an expression of interest form here, and we will be in touch.

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