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Accelerator and Sustainability Hub

The CISL Accelerator and Sustainability Hub supports small businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs to push boundaries in sustainability, building a new wave of adaptive, just and future-fit business. This is delivered through a combination of online and face to face programmes, events, webinars, hackathons and innovation sprints. 


Accelerating a new era of business innovation

The CISL Accelerator supports entrepreneurs creating innovative sustainability solutions, as well as SMEs wanting to integrate sustainability into the core of their business operations.

Drawing on CISL’s expertise working with companies and leaders over 30 years, alongside our international network of business leaders, sustainability experts, and the extensive Cambridge cluster, we provide business support to accelerate innovation, and future-proof business success. Entrepreneurs and small business will play a vital role in creating the future we want and transforming current systems to decarbonise our economy, restore nature and create inclusive societies.

The CISL Accelerator is delivered through a combination of online and face to face programmes, events, webinars, hackathons and innovation sprints, framed around ten of the most challenging areas where solutions are needed, and where innovators can have the greatest impact:

business innovation diagram

Our rolling programme of business support will also cover a range of core skills needed for entrepreneurs and SMEs to accelerate sustainability, including access to funding, impact reporting, embedding ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) into your business, and business model innovation.

This work is part funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund. Businesses based in the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough area can apply to receive 12 hours free business support.


Current programmes

Follow the links below for information on our upcoming programmes, download our flyer, or get in touch to find out more about the CISL Accelerator. 

Innovators for change

Innovators for change 

8-weeks, online. Apply by Wednesday 20 May.

Online accelerator programme to fast track resilience in times of disruption. Open to early stage start-ups and entrepreneurs with innovations that build resilience in one of three areas: business continuity; socially inclusive services; or environmental protection.


Understanding Impact

Understanding Impact

Short online programme. Apply by Monday 8 June.

An introduction to sustainability reporting for SMEs. Delivered through a three-part series of one-hour interactive webinars, experts from CISL and SME business leaders will explore how SMEs can understand, track and report on their social and environmental impact.


Accessing start-up funding in an increasingly volatile world 

Webinar, Wednesday 20 May, 11:00-12:00 BST

Gain insight from investors on the role that start-ups and entrepreneurs can play in accelerating innovation; the need for transformative business models; and how to access funding in increasingly uncertain times.


Webinar, Thursday 4 June, 10:00-11:00 BST.

Explore the role of SMEs in shaping a better economy, and how small businesses can build resilience and pioneer change through ambitious and progressive sustainability leadership. 

Food bank

Free support to help SMEs innovate and redress supply chain shocks

Customised business support.

SMEs based in the Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough area are eligible for support to enable them to find new innovative ways to operate, rewire supply chains, and ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are met.



The Sustainability Hub: collaborative co-working space in central Cambridge

Due to open 2021, CISL’s flexible co-working space will bring together SMEs, researchers, corporations and start-ups under one roof in our Sustainability Hub. Housed in the pioneering low carbon retrofit Entopia Building, the space will enable collaboration and inspire innovation. Get in touch to find out more about locating your business at the CISL Sustainability Hub.