Durham University: Student enterprise tackling climate change

Two companies started by past students here at Durham have been accepted onto the Tech Nation Net Zero 2.0 programme, which is supporting the UK’s most promising climate tech companies drive down environmentally harmful emissions.

Introducing Sphera…

Founded in September 2019, Sphera was our first student spinout company. They are developing low carbon, next generation construction materials. They’re currently focused on a world-first – carbon zero and carbon negative concrete blocks.

We supported Sphera’s founders, Phil Buckley, Natasha Boulding and Scott Bush, through 1:1 coaching and business workshops and they won our 2019 Blueprint Start Up Challenge.

They have also secured funding from the Northern Accelerator programme, a partnership between ourselves and four universities in North East England aimed at creating real-world impact from world-leading research, commercialising innovation and boosting the region’s economy.

Introducing Tred…

Tred is the soon-to-launch green debit card that helps users spend more sustainably. Tred tracks your carbon footprint, helps you reduce your impact, and gives you a simple way to offset the rest. Every time you spend you help Tred plant trees, as their profits fund reforestation projects.

It was founded by two Durham Engineering graduates, Peter Kirby and William Smith, who also benefitted from 1:1 business coaching support.

Supporting student enterprise

Both firms got support from our Careers, Employability and Enterprise service, who support students and graduates to explore ideas and launch new ventures.

This includes startup coaching sessions, workshops, funding and access to specialist advice and mentoring support.

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