– OVO Energy Innovators is an initiative designed to unlock ideas to increase cycling participation and help reach a zero carbon future

– OVO Energy, in partnership with Plexal, is supporting technology and innovation companies by offering a bursary to fund the development of new concepts

– OVO Energy partnered with STEM Learning; launching a nationwide competition for 11-16 year olds to ensure the next generation of energy consumers have a say in shaping a zero-carbon future

– OVO Energy is the title sponsor of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and OVO Energy Tour of Britain

LONDON, Sept. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — OVO Energy, the UK’s leading independent retail energy provider, has today unveiled the concepts developed as part of its OVO Energy Innovators campaign. The initiative from OVO Energy saw technology and innovation companies receive a bursary from the UK energy provider, to develop ideas intended to tackle barriers to cycling participation and encourage a zero-carbon future. 

OVO Energy Innovation Showcase; harnessing innovation in cycling in pursuit of a zero carbon future. (L-R) Chris Boardman MBE, Sophie Muller (OVO Energy), Russell Gundry (Plexal) and Dr Kerry Baker (STEM Learning)

In partnership with Plexal; the east London hub for technology and innovation businesses, the OVO Energy Innovators initiative engaged approaching 20 companies, who responded to OVO Energy’s challenge, before a shortlist of three bursary recipients were decided upon.

The shortlisted companies included Emu Analytics, a leading data science and software company who have devised a data driven route mapping concept to help cyclists plan safer journeys. SWYTCH, an e-Bike developer applied their bursary from OVO Energy to the development of their existing battery efficiency. Loughborough University’s IDEA programme was the third bursary recipient; with students responding with ideas that included a bike wheel that would replenish the life of a battery.

Commenting on the OVO Energy Innovators campaign, Adrian Letts, Retail CEO, OVO Energy, said:

“The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is a key moment to inspire more people to get out on their bikes. Launching the OVO Energy Innovators initiative helped address the need for a zero-carbon future, and inspired companies and STEM students to develop innovative ideas to break down the barriers to cycling.

“If we can help more people make small changes in their everyday lives to pursue a zero carbon footprint, together we can have a positive impact on our future and make a difference.”

Former Olympic cycling champion and current Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman MBE, helped launch the OVO Energy Innovators campaign earlier this summer, offering his insight into the issue and the importance of initiatives such as the OVO Energy Innovators programme.

Chris Boardman MBE added:

“In Greater Manchester alone, there are 250 million car journeys each year that are just over 1/2 a mile long. When you consider the average car emits 287g CO2 per mile, collectively, that’s a huge amount of emissions going into our atmosphere. It’s equivalent to the total emissions of over 300,000 houses”

“By changing the way we travel, even for these short journeys, it’s clear we can make a huge difference, which is why I took on the role of Cycling and Walking Commissioner in Greater Manchester. We need to make getting around by bike easy and appealing, so people feel able to leave the car at home. Whilst cycling is statistically safe, it often doesn’t look it or feel it, so addressing this key barrier is essential. There’s a lot of technological and innovative ideas that can help people remove those barriers or simply make riding more fun, so I am excited to see what OVO Energy and its innovators unearth.”

To ensure the next generation of energy consumers are part of the journey to reach a zero carbon future, OVO Energy also partnered with STEM Learning. Extending its brief to 11-16 year olds, in a nationwide competition asking youngsters to come up with creative ways to tackle cycling participation barriers; using STEM skills. 

Entries from STEM students were in the form of short social media videos, with shortlisted entrants invited to today’s OVO Energy Innovation Showcase to present their ideas to a panel which included Chris Boardman MBE, Sophie Muller, Head of Brand at OVO Energy,

STEM Learning UK’s Strategic Initiatives Lead, Dr Kerry Baker and Head of Innovation Strategy at Plexal Russel Gundry.

Team ‘Besculator’ from Walton Priory Middle School was awarded a £1,000 prize to put towards STEM subjects based on its students idea to create a solar powered and portable escalator for bikes to assist everyday cyclists with steep hill climbs. They have also won a VIP experience day at OVO Energy’s headquarters in Bristol, to learn more about the world of smart energy technology.

Notes to Editors:

About OVO Energy

Founded in 2009, OVO Energy is the leading independent energy retail company in the UK and OVO Group’s flagship energy brand, offering an unparalleled scope of digital energy services, solutions and technologies to its pay-monthly customers. OVO Energy redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers. Today OVO Energy is a progressive energy company striving to deliver more abundant clean energy for everyone.

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Chris Boardman at the OVO Energy Innovation Showcase