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Cambridge University launches free fashion tech innovation programme

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership is calling on fashion start-ups and entrepreneurs based in England to apply for its ‘Innovators for Sustainable Fashion’ free accelerator programme.

The six-week virtual accelerator programme, which will take 2 – 3 hours per week, has been designed to bring together a select cohort of innovators to help fast track their sustainability solutions, with expert contributors from the United Nations, the University of Cambridge and experts from the fashion, investment and tech sectors.

The initiative 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.

The university is looking for early-stage start-ups and entrepreneurs with innovations in sustainable fashion, particularly in the areas of: Material innovation and biotech – such as fibre innovation, enzymology and molecular biology; Manufacturing and processing - supply chain transparency, blockchain technology, water and chemical use, waste reduction and energy efficiency; Packaging and delivery - innovation in packaging materials, shipping and logistics, and waste reduction; and People-centred solutions – to improve health and safety for people in the garment production, consumer education on sustainable consumption, and post-consumer solutions.

Free virtual accelerator programme to fast track tech innovation for a sustainable fashion industry calls for applications

Applicants must be based in England, and be available to attend the full six-week virtual programme, with the online sessions delivered every Wednesday from September 9 to October 14.

Participants will explore the social and environmental challenges facing the fashion industry, as well as learn from leading innovators driving change in the industry, while building their own business pitch with insight on business planning, marketing and storytelling.

In addition, there will be sessions from investors on the do’s and don’ts for accessing start-up funding, and information on how to build a network with other innovators in sustainable fashion.

The innovation showroom contributors include Jessi Baker, founder and chief executive of Provenance, Yudi Ding, founder of Hide Biotech, Ayca Field, co-founder of SoluBlue, Jim Ajioka, chief scientific officer at Colorifix, Hasna Kourda, co-founder of Save Your Wardrobe, and Sacha Newell, founder and chief executive of My Wardrobe HQ.

While contributors to the course programme will feature: Michael Stanley-Jones co-secretary, UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Fashion Innovation Agency, London College of Fashion, UAL; Wendy Yu, founder and chief executive of Yu Holdings; Shaunie Brett, sustainability consultant, Sussed Consulting; and Marina Atarova, manager at Farfetch Dream Assembly Accelerator and founder of FashHack.

Prospective applicants have until August 26 to apply via the universities website.

Image: from Pexels

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