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London's universities say ‘OpenSME’ to new support for capital's small businesses

A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.

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Cleantech Challenge finalists announced

15 March 2013

Cleantech Challenge finalists announced

Six finalists on the CleanTech Challenge 2013, a worldwide green business competition and run jointly by UCL and the London Business School, have been announced.

In the second stage of the competition – which took place on the evening of Tuesday 12 March – 56 teams from across the world competed for six places in the final, along with those which will be selected from regional heats in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Italy, taking the total number in the final stage of the competition in May to ten.

Those selected were whittled down from a longlist through a process of assessing them against a set of seven key criteria, by judges including UCL’s Dr Dave Chapman, who runs the university’s MSc programme in Technology Entrepreneurship, UCL Advances Deputy Director Gups Jagpal and representatives from Shell, JP Morgan and the Carbon Trust.

The six teams selected from last Tuesday’s event include a team from Imperial College which has a radical new design for flexible photovoltaic panels, an Oxford University team with a revolutionary design for filtering arsenic out of drinking water in developing countries and an intriguing concept from a joint Spanish and American team for converting power from truck engines to electricity for use when drivers are sleeping in rest areas, for heating and lighting.

The final of the Challenge – which was founded by Director of UCL Advances, Timothy Barnes, and Executive Director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at London Business School, Jeff Skinner, to enable teams of students develop green business ideas – will take place at a two-day boot camp in April. There, they will compete for the ultimate prize of £10,000 in cash.

“The calibre of teams through to the final has exceeded all my expectations,” says Gups Jagpal. “The ideas through to the final are truly ground breaking, while also having impressively solid science behind them as well. Any of these teams would make a solid winner of our final in April and taken together, they have the potential to make life greener, cleaner and healthier for people across the world.”