SOCIALE Sustainable Thinking Scotland CIC (STS) became the first in Scotland to secure an investment from the Catalyst Fund, receiving £ 190,000 to commercialize its biochar technology.
The £ 30million fund was launched in June to support small businesses in the third sector, helping them grow as Scotland recovers from the impacts of the coronavirus. Its funding mechanism means that the Falkirk-based social enterprise will repay the investment through a share of its income as the business grows.
STS was established in 2016 by Sean Kerr and Stephen McQueen to help solve social and environmental issues in their region of Bo’ness. It implements projects that encourage local and sustainable food production, offers recycling of green waste at community level and creates learning opportunities for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the region.
In recent years, the company has developed innovative applications for its biochar water sanitation technology to tackle the problem of nutrient pollution in waterways. Biochar, similar to charcoal, is made by “cooking” waste wood and other biomass at high temperatures and can draw carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, storing it for years.
Mr Kerr, Director of STS, said: “Our mission is to be the leading Scottish organization in the development and targeted application of biochar, spurring innovation in clean water technologies and the land management, by creating a circular economy model that benefits both our environment and the population. within our communities.
The funding, he noted, “will be the catalyst that will allow us to drive innovation and regulation within these new carbon markets, helping to set the standards for environmental recovery while contributing to net zero ambitions. of Scotland ”.
STS will use the investment to accelerate the growth of the biochar project, increase production capacity and research and development, employ staff and develop core business operations for its planned expansion.
Issued by Firstport, the Scottish development agency for social enterprise start-ups, and Social Enterprise Scotland, the fund offers loans starting at £ 50,000 using an income-based repayment model, offering businesses the flexible financing they need in the early stages of development, without compromising their social mission.