Six Technology Trailblazers Enrol in Catapult’s North East Cleantech Accelerator Programme

Published 11 March 2020

£20,000 investment available for offshore wind technology development through Launch Academy North East and North East Innovation Fund. 

Six UK innovators have won out against fierce competition to secure a place in the first intake of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s industry-backed regional cleantech accelerator programme, the Launch Academy North East.

From high quality applications, six companies were selected by a panel made up of industry representatives from ORE Catapult, EDF Energy, Royal IHC, Northstar Ventures, Sintons Law, Blu Sky, Newcastle Eagle Lab and TusPark Newcastle.

The successful companies – OxraGrid, Origin Tech, Beluga Seatech, Utility AR, Wootzano and Build Stream – are all developing ambitious and innovative cleantech solutions in order to enhance the North East of England’s offshore wind supply chain and drive cost reduction through innovation.

The companies will now undertake a 12-week programme of core modules provided by the partners, including funding, legal, IP, accountancy and investor readiness support, as well as modules delivered by ORE Catapult such as technology assessment, supply chain readiness and business case review. In addition, they will each access £20,000 of investment, provided by the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures.

James Battensby, ORE Catapult’s Head of Research Business Development, said: “The North East of England has long played a pivotal role in the energy innovation landscape. Launch Academy North East will continue this tradition accelerating new products and services to market which will support the low carbon transition. The Offshore Wind Sector Deal has ambitious targets to create 27,000 jobs and £2.6 billion in exports by 2030, and so supporting innovative new companies will be critical to achieving this goal”

Stephen Price, Investment Director for Northstar Ventures, said: “We’re delighted to be working with this ambitious programme that is supporting an industry sector with huge growth potential for the North East and beyond.  Through the programme, we’re looking forward to backing some exciting, early stage technology businesses, which have the potential to address some of the key challenges in the sector.”

John Marsden, Commercial Director of Origin Tech, said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for us to work with the blue-chip industry partners and showcase our innovative technology. The Launch Academy will provide us with the insight and renewable industry market drivers that will massively accelerate our commercialisation. Being based here in the North East is testament to how well the regional supply chain can support the future of offshore wind.”

The Launch Academy North East initiative focuses on cleantech technology solutions across challenge areas such as digital applications for offshore assets, predictive maintenance, robotics and artificial intelligence and energy system management. The companies will have the opportunity to develop their innovations and demonstrate them to potential investors.

To find out more about the programme, visit


Information About The North East Fund

The North East Fund is a suite five venture capital and loan funds which was established in April 2018, to invest £120m in around 600 North East businesses in the period to March 2023.  The fund managers provide business development advice and investment finance to small and medium sized enterprises based in the seven Local Authority areas of North East England: Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, South Tyneside, Gateshead Sunderland and County Durham.  The programme encourages investment in and the commercialisation of new technologies, including low carbon technologies, as well as stimulating new business creation, private investment and entrepreneurialism in the North East, with a view to creating over 2,500 new jobs.  The North East Fund has overall responsibility for the programme, which is delivered through five separate funds, each managed by independent, FCA regulated fund managers.  Details of these, and up to date information on the progress of the programme, is available on The North East Fund’s website:

The North East Fund has been established with funding from the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and from returns on previous North East based, publicly supported investment funds.  It is jointly owned by the seven North East local authorities.


Information About the European Regional Development Fund

The North East Fund will receive up to £58,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.  Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit


Information About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend up to £60,000,000 to the North East Fund programme.  The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.  For more information, visit:


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