We have been helping Waterblade Limited develop some aspects of its highly innovative water-saving device since November 2014. As part of the ongoing assistance we have provided through the Green Growth Platform we were asked to assist with the preparation of the Waterblade application for the Gogarburn Challenge
Gogarburn is the HQ of RBS group in Edinburgh, the competition was run earlier this year with the objective to find innovative products and solutions for the RBS Group which include reducing energy and water use, waste creation or even enhancing biodiversity on their site. Gogarburn is due for a major regeneration which will increase staff numbers on site from 3,500 at present to 6,000 members in the future.
Waterblade was selected together with 7 other winners from a field of 107 entrants and will now have the potential to demonstrate its product on this massive site. We are hugely proud to be associated with this great environmental product.
Mark Hadley, Managing Director of Isis Environmental has been involved from the start with the great team of Eastbourne-based expertise that underpins this innovative Community Interest Company. It has been a long time in the making, but after the best part of 6 months since Tech Resort CIC and its directors were successful in winning a major grant in excess of £150,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund, it finally launched the Tech Resort at it’s new premises, Kestrel House on the 10th July 2015. A full photo archive can be accessed via Avant Photographic ( a really great commercial photographer based here in our Town).
A group of entrepreneurs and digital activists wanted to make a difference to Eastbourne by creating a new space which could be used to teach children and teenagers how to ‘Code’ as well as developing their other skills, in a fresh new Creative and Digital environment. Our MD has been involved since 2013 with the ideas that underpin this, managing to find a small amount of seed funding through the RSA right at the every beginning of the project, and offering assistance at all stages of the development of this remarkable organisation.
Tech Resort CIC aims to greatly enhance the resources available to young people locally, providing a wide programme of events and courses to support and encourage children to learn about coding, electronics, electronic design and 3D Printing and a range of other valuable skill sets.
Tech Resort has already been running events for children in the Town for about 18 months based on volunteers, and with help from Aidan Delaney from the University of Brighton, and using space kindly donated by CoHub. It now has it’s own fabulous premises, over 1000 sq. feet of space on the seafront within shoutign distance of Eastbourne’s iconic (Somewhat charred) Pier and will be running a full programme of courses between now and Christmas 2016, mostly free, a few contributory.
Apart from the coding activities sessions undertaken by ‘Tech Resort Teens’ Kestrel House will be used as a ‘Maker Space’ – in other words a community centre which provides technology, manufacturing equipment and educational opportunities to students and the general public, but especially for the Devonshire Ward in Eastbourne where the main project funding is needed and has subsequently been directed.
Tech Resort will also help older residents in the local area gain the skills and find support to get online, making sure they are secure when doing so and ensuring they have the same access to the internet so many of us take for granted.
Many community groups and local CDIT businesses have signed up to a ‘Pledge’. This was the idea of Will Callaghan the driving force behind Tech Resort which aims to make Eastbourne a great town for digital, tech and creative people, but this will only be managed if all the stakeholders in the Town work together in a coordinated way. The ‘Pledge’ is a first step to achieving this.
It was great to see that former long-term Eastbourne MP – Stephen Lloyd and recently elected Eastbourne MP – Caroline Ansell have been wholly supportive of the aims of Tech Resort. There was recent coverage in the local Eastbourne Herald newspaper and significant publicity surrounding last weeks launch, with a broad range of local supporters present.
Our Company can help start up ventures like Tech Resort by sourcing sound local service providers such as Shredded Neat (another of our Clients) and introducing suitable local, trusted expertise to such organisations, in this case in financial management (Mark Foster from Tax help Services) and digital service providers ABCOM IT Solutions for broadband connectivity and Conxserv who are one of the few Sussex-based service providers who have total independence from the market and their own ‘dedicated’ data centres here in the County, incidentally long time friends and service providers to Isis Environmental Limited.
Why is Isis involved with this? well we want to make a difference in our own back yard, put something back into the community, having had great successes in the past in the digital arena, with businesses such as Groundsure Limited which went from a tiny idea in a tiny space in Brighton to a £40 million market sale a decade previously.
Tech Resort finally has the financial backing and premises it needs to deliver it current vision, if we can achieve what we think we can here, in our home town, we will have made a huge difference to the expectations of a whole cohort of children in the town and sown the seeds for encouraging Eastbourne to become one of the most interesting and ambitious digital communities in the United Kingdom.
Isis Environment were very pleased to be introduced to an exciting and award winning new venture called ‘Planet Feed’ assisting them between January and March 2015
As a member of the University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform Green Growth Platform we worked with the founder of Planet Feed, Charlie Clarke on some aspects the business’s approach to its next stage of development.
Already piloted www.planetfeed.org takes locally sourced food waste and turns it into high quality liquid fertiliser, putting this back into the community from whence it came. We came in to take a look at the work so far, review the existing business plan and examine the business model.
In the short time available to us, we worked on a funding and sponsorship strategy, developed some targets and honed together a suitable elevator pitch for the business
Our approach is increasingly taking us into areas with social enterprises such as Planet Feed where we can add value through our contacts and knowledge across a very broad range of environmental products and services.
We are pleased to have been associated with this organisation from the very outset, with one of our Director’s Mark Hadley taking an active role in the formation of the Community Interest Company, and one of a small number of Directors who have supported Tech Resort CIC since inception.
Mark provided some very early seed funding for what was a project at that stage from the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) Regional Fund to get the ball rolling.
Tech Resort has in its first year been run on a shoestring, but managed some great achievements in the local community.
Now it has been successful in the award of a grant from the Coastal Communities Fund which was awarded on the 25th January. The grant is the result of six months’ careful planning by Tech Resort with partners – Driving Devonshire Forward, Eastbourne Homes, Eastbourne Borough Council and the Towner Gallery. The bid team as a whole has won £1.84m which will make a massive difference to Eastbourne and put Tech Resort CIC on the map.
Tech Resort CIC will be expanding its code clubs and widening its appeal to include new disciplines such as making and electronics. It aims to start digital literacy sessions for people who’re unable to use computers and get online as well as launching a matching service for talented creative, digital and tech students and local businesses.
It is always worthwhile taking the time to participate in events which are taking place in your area, and it was with this in mind that we attended the inaugural launch of the Green Growth Platform in May this year.
The Green Growth Platform will act as a catalyst for growth and innovation, and will provide a range of services to small and medium-sized enterprises and is a five year programme with £3 million of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council.
The University of Brighton has for many years worked in partnership with businesses to combine academic expertise and research with business applications and we have had continued links with the University over many years, originally working to supply an environmental auditing course back in the 1990’s and providing an external examiner for the MSc in environmental science, to more recent training work.
We very much support the work being done by Green Growth Platform being both members as well as advisers to this innovative initiative.
2012 was a busy year for Isis Environmental Ltd., with a number of key presentations made during the year. These included our first presentation on the 13.03.2012 entitled ‘WEEE a Short Post -Implementation Review’ which was delivered at the London law offices of Norton Rose LLB http://www.nortonrose.com on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) http://www.ciwem.org where we serve on the Waste Management Panel as technical advisers. CIWEM WEEE Presentation
This was followed by our participation in the innovative inaugural meeting of ‘Enabling Catalysts’ part of the ‘One Leadership Project’ http://www.enablingcatalysts.com held in Lewes in July 2012 to review how business leaders could share their knowledge based on proven skills in this area.
External work with a business entrepreneurship pathfinder project, supported By the RSA http://www.thersa.org/ was a big part of 2012, with the first presentations made to RSA Fellows in Brighton at the Pub du Vin on the 26th July . This was culmination of 7 months work as part of the RSA Fellow-led project called ‘ The Vital Few’ fitting in nicely with our own CSR programme. The Vital Few_EBCan2
This project aims to help young entrepreneurs in schools throughout the South-East UK. set up their own businesses and mentor them through to successful business outcomes. By the 16th November, we were delivering a business entrepreneurship presentation to The Princes Trust in Eastbourne, helping young entrepreneurs with the basics of setting up a business and pointing out some of the pitfalls. Our last presentation of 2012 involved a presentation to the highly innovative and rapidly growing civic activism group, http://eastbournecan.com/ on the RSA Vital Few project as the same time as the RSA Executive Steering Group succeeded in it’s mission to secure a ‘Catalyst’ grant from the RSA in October 2012, a successful outcome which only 1 in 20 applicants succeed in achieving.
July and August 2012 saw an in-depth research project to examine the impact of UK data losses on a range of public and private sector organisations, as well as occasionally on individuals directly. The report was produced for confidential shredding and data destruction company -Shredded Neat Limited, based just north of Brighton, United Kingdom
The study showed that the main medium for data loss over the last 20 years was document loss, followed closely by HDD loss, the circumstances leading up to the data loss were evenly spread between theft; accidental loss in transit; insecure storage and poor waste disposal practice, interestingly a significant number of loss incidents were associated with locations where alcohol was available.
In terms of our study fines occurred in 21% of the losses though a significant number of prosecutions are still pending arrival in court, which would lift the likelihood to 30%. The study underestimates the likelihood that an organisation will be fined, since the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) which was responsible for the majority of these, has only had the necessary powers to fine organisations since 2010. The average level of fine imposed by the ICO was £155,000 in a range from £60,000 – £325,000. Other regulatory bodies can impose fines, and the study found a fine of £2,300,000 imposed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and another by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) which fined McLaren F1 Team US$100 million.
The total amount of fines levied in the UK for data breaches by the FSA since November 2010 has been seven fines, totalling £7,777,000 and a further 23 fines by the ICO, to a total value of £2,426,000
The study provided a significant support document for the company’s business development plans to demonstrate the need for certifiable, secure data destruction services in the UK.
Back in the mid 1990’s our principal was running a small environmental consultancy and had the bright idea that there must be some commercial value in collecting environmental data, in the form of national datasets for it’s own site evaluation processes.
Datasets were acquired and developed into a simple database called ‘ContamiCheck’, the value in the reports was thought to be attractive to solicitors, surveyors and other property professionals to provide basic environmental due diligence on sites they were acquiring or selling for their clients.
The initial reports were very simple, paper delivered assessments of which a few dozen were produced each month. Eventually, this database was taken out from the former business and used as the basis for an ambitious punt at acquiring venture capital to build a new stand alone business.
Metropolitan Venture Partners provided the first tranche of about £650k investment, for the new Company -Groundsure in 2000 and the business launched in 2001.
The Company grew and developed, one of only three key businesses in the fast evolving environmental data market. In April 2007 Emap Ltd announced its acquisition of the entire shareholding capital of GroundSure in a deal valuing the business at around £45 million.
Our principal was recently engaged on an interesting business development opportunity in Libya during this time, spending an initial visit in conjunction with the Middle East Association in Tripoli, but quickly augmenting this with local visits to known Libyan business contacts in country.
At this time, Colonel Gaddafi was still in power, and it was clear there was a vast appetite in Libya for knowledge transfer, reliable and experienced training and specific skills in risk assessment, land contamination and waste management. Visits followed with senior commercial parties and we were on the brink of landing a major opportunity for a series of prestigious presentations to the Oil & Gas Industry. We also established some interesting commercial linkages, which were cemented at one of our meetings in the stunning Roman city of Sabrata, to which we were given sole access for a personal visit one day.
Then the revolution came, and quite rightly all these plans were put on temporary hold whilst we prayed our Libyan friends would be safe. They were, so whilst the new Libya rebuilds itself and its civic institutions we decided to get together with two other companies, Common Resource Ltd and Scientists International Ltd to develop a new platform for Anglo-Libyan co-operation.
The emphasis is on capacity building, bringing together our in-depth knowledge of social and environmental systems to assist in the redevelopment of civic society in Libya.
We have already attracted the interest of a significant number of skilled and experienced environmental and socio-economic scientists, engineers and energy specialists. We are in the process of developing a structure that will allow full participation and involvement in the project. This will be augmented by an ARABIC translation service will facilitate participation by a wide variety of UK and Libyan Businesses, and provide a focus for pre-existing contacts in Libya who already support our project.
We are awaiting the outcome of the July 2012 elections in Libya, as is everyone, and hope that our efforts and energy and the opportunity to develop commercial, social and intellectual links with our friends in Libya will be hugely successful.
One of the more interesting companies formed by our MD back in the 1980’s, was Tecnitas (UK) Limited.
In the mid 80’s he had joined the International Certification Organisation Bureau Veritas S.A., which at the time offered onshore and offshore industrial and marine inspection services, certification and a range of allied surveys.
At this time, Bureau Veritas SA had no environmental scientists, or subsidiaries so our MD suggested to the Group that if he could find fee-paying work in the environmental sector, this could be carried out within the Group, and he would get himself a job.
He did; and early high profile headline projects with the UK Geothermal site at Rosmanowes Quarry in Cornwall, better known as the “Hot Dry Rocks Project” established the fledgling business with its environmental sensitivity mapping skills, all doe by hand then, there was no GIS to fall back on.
The success of the business, both in the UK and overseas led to him setting up a purpose-built business under the aegis of the consultancy arm of Bureau Veritas, called Tecnitas SA, based at the time in La Défense, Paris. This new subsidiary was called Tecnitas (UK) and located in London Bridge, London.
The Company quickly grew on the back of the new Environmental Impact Assessment regulations, and carried ot a number of major projects over the years. The best know of these were pipeline EIA’s, and major surveys and planning statements were prepared for the 238 km long UK ‘Finaline’, a high pressure white oil products line running between the Lindsey Oil refinery in Humberside and the later notorious Buncefield Terminal near Hemel Hempstead, as was as the aviation kerosene line to Manchester International Airport.