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EDF Energy Blue Lab, the innovation accelerator of UK energy producer EDF Energy, has launched a new program for startups and entrepreneurs – The EDF Energy Blue Lab Connected Home and Business Challenge.

The challenge is part of EDF Energy’s Pulse Awards, which is also running challenges in the areas of children and STEM, health and safety at work, and energy monitoring and inspection.

The Connected Home and Business Challenge is tasked with finding innovative new solutions in the energy space for homes and businesses.

The Blue Lab accelerator is accepting five startups to join the 10-week programme at EDF Energy’s Brighton location, where they will avail of free office space and access to valuable mentors. The one startup that impresses the most will take home £30,000 and a potential investment from Electranova Capital and L Marks.

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“This is a brilliant opportunity for startups, small companies across the globe to collaborate with EDF Energy and to bring new business ideas to life,” said Jean-Benoit Ritz, director of innovation.

EDF Energy wants to create an open innovation network to source the best and latest ideas that address some of the biggest problems facing the energy sector. “We are looking particularly for products and services that enable us to bring the home together as a single entity that reacts to the people that live in it,” said Roberto Hortal, head of connected homes. The accelerator is seeking ideas and innovations in four different areas:

  • Data and display – Solutions that help consumers view, monitor and manage their energy use, for example in the use of smart meters and thermostats.
  • Switched on – EDF Energy Blue Lab is searching for smart ideas that help people and businesses control their energy features around their home or premises.
  • Customer engagement – In this area, EDF Energy Blue Lab is welcoming ideas on how to improve the company’s engagement with customers and their interest in smarter energy consumption.
  • Wildcard – This category is for the ideas and startups that don’t fit into any neat groupings but may be equally innovative ideas for EDF Energy.

All entrepreneurs are welcome to apply but EDF Energy will give priority to products and services that are fully developed or have a prototype ready.

Applications are now open and will close on September 30.

On November 11, a shortlist of up to 25 startups will join EDF Energy for a pitch day and win a potential place on the accelerator programme kicking off in December where successful candidates will take part in the EDF Energy Blue Lab Challenge Induction Day, followed by a demo day in February for the startups to present their products.