Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Make Your Pitch for Cut of [Euro]100m Fund; TECHNOLOGY

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Make Your Pitch for Cut of [Euro]100m Fund; TECHNOLOGY

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT GIBSON robert.gibson@ncjmedia.co.uk

Caroline Hopkins at Venturefest, at the Sage Gateshead Caroline Hopkins at Venturefest, at the Sage Gateshead ONE of the world's biggest energy companies is looking to invest in North East start-ups through a [euro]100m fund.

Speaking at yesterday's Venturefest conference at Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, Caroline Hopkins, development director for ENGIE, explained that the group had set itself the goal of becoming Europe's leader in energy transition - moving people away from traditional sources of power - through a focus on innovation.

To help it achieve this, the company has set aside a [euro]100m New Ventures fund, aimed at boosting entrepreneurial creativity that aligns with its ambitions around creating "cities of tomorrow".

Already, the French multinational has considered around 70 businesses around the world as part of the project, allocating a total of [euro]24m across a select group working in an array of specialisms.

Through the latest funding call, it is looking in particular at companies with a focus on the Internet of Things and smart data, should their work coincide with a number of set themes: decentralised energy, renewables, smart cities and technologies, and home comforts.

Ms Hopkins told The Journal: "We launched an innovation programme about 18 months ago and, with [euro]100m sitting in the New Ventures fund, we are actively looking for startup businesses we can either work as partners with or invest in.

"We have identified we want to be the leader in energy transition so we need to find new ways of working - devolved decision-making, decentralised energies and renewables in particular.

"To move forward five, 10, or 20 years we need to be innovative, so we're looking for internal innovators as well.

"It's an exciting time for the company, but there's also lots of excitement in the North East, where there are lots of businesses like ours trying to be innovative. …

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