Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership - Innovators for the built environment

We are looking for the most innovative business minds with potential solutions to help unlock transformative change in one of the most resource intensive, greenhouse gas emitting and least diverse industries on the planet: the building industry.

This Accelerator aims to fast-track companies who are commercialising novel products and services in the built environment space. There is no fee and we do not take equity. Delivered over six weeks of interactive online sessions, with contributors from the University of Cambridge and experts from the built environment, investment and innovation communities, the focus will be to support small businesses with new products to bring to market or those with initial customers looking to take the next step.

Key dates: Applications close 6 April. The programme will run from 19 April – 28 May, with an optional session in June.


  • Dr Jennifer Barrett, Director, coLAB & Senior Lecturer, University of Central Lancashire
  • Indy Johar, Co-founder & ED, Dark Matters Labs
  • Emma Hoskyn, Head of Sustainable Client Solutions, JLL
  • Dr Michael Anstey, Partner, Cambridge Innovation Capital 
  • Emma-Jane Houghton, Commercial Director, Cabinet Office
  • Jonny Anstead, Founding Director, TOWN
  • Dr Amanda Wooding, Deputy Head of Life Sciences, Cambridge Enterprise
  • Ian Robinson, Head of UX Design, Secret Escapes

About the programme
Virtual Accelerator programme to fast-track promising SMEs who are commercialising novel products and services that could help achieve net zero in the built environment.

Who should apply
This programme is part funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, and is available for free to SMEs based in England, with priority given to those in parts of the East of England.

We’re looking for small businesses with commercial propositions who are looking to bring new products or services to the market, or who have existing clients and are looking to grow. This is particularly in the areas of:

  • Decarbonisation of buildings – technologies and business propositions to decarbonise construction of new buildings and retrofit applications, including the use of AI or other strategies to improve and monitor construction standards
  • Materials & circularity – novel materials, 3D printing and new circular business models for construction materials and resources consumed during building lifetime, such as water
  • Biodiversity – innovative approaches to encourage greater biodiversity in the built environment and assist with monitoring and enforcement regimes
  • Climate adaptation and resilience – new products or services to create greater resilience to drought, higher summer temperatures, storms and flooding, for example, in ways that are low in embodied energy and do not create future waste issues
  • People centred solutions –improving occupational health and safety for people in the construction industry and providing consumer education on sustainability behaviour relating to buildings to help encourage low impact lifestyles

Find out more about the programme here