Innovate Energy at the Royal Cornwall Show

Innovate Energy wins Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award

New start-up, Innovate Energy, founded by recent graduates from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall have just won £5000 to invest in their business, which will hire out battery packs to charge mobile phones. They will also go forward to Shell Livewires Young Entrepreneur of the Year with the chance of winning £25,000.

The team, made up of Hugo Tilmouth, Hakeem Buge and Chris Aoun, who met as students, now have Masters degrees in Renewable Energy Engineering. They aim to set up an extensive network so the batteries – all charged using energy from green supplier Ecotricity– can be picked up and dropped off at a vast range of locations including coffee shops, train stations, stadiums and more.

The award from Shell will go towards the cost of developing the vending machines, which will loan out the batteries at £1 an hour, and start building the network. “We want to be everywhere – the aim is to create a worldwide, sustainable charging network,” said Hugo. The team has successfully sold the advertising space on the first 500 batteries, providing another source of funding to allow more stations to be developed.

Director of Education for Renewable Energy, Richard Cochrane added, “It has been great to see graduates from our course working together as the Innovate Energy team and using the broad engineering skills on the Renewable Energy programme to develop a novel entrepreneurial business.”

The fledgling business was successful in receiving an initial award of £1,400 from Exeter’s Think:Try:Do Student Startup Support Programme, headed up by Joe Pearce in Exeter, and Jim Williams and Michael Hanley in Cornwall. This funding enabled them to conduct vital market research and testing for their ChargedUp concept.

Cornwall Research Commercialisation manager Jim Williams says, “The Innovate Energy team clearly has real grit and determination to take their solution to market and make a tangible positive environmental and societal impact through enterprise. It’s great to see Cornwall graduates so quickly setting up new enterprises and putting into action the knowledge they acquired studying at Exeter’s campus in Cornwall”

Following this success, from October Jim and Michael will be running a weekly drop in clinic at the Career Zone for all University of Exeter students (of all levels of study) interested in starting their own business, whether that be a charity, sole trader, social enterprise or technology start up with global ambition.

For more information about ChargedUp, visit or follow them on social media @ChargedUpWorld.


Date: 3 August 2017

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