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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Innovators for change

The Innovators for change online Accelerator programme, designed for early stage start-ups and entrepreneurs, aims to accelerate innovation that builds resilience in one of three areas: business continuity; socially inclusive services; or environmental protection. Applications for this programme are now closed. If you are interested in discussing future opportunities on this topic please get in touch.

This programme is part funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, and is open to start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs based in England with, with priority given to parts of the East of England.


Innovators for change

The outbreak of Covid-19 has unveiled the vulnerabilities in our current business and economic systems. With rising global temperatures, it is expected that future shocks caused by climate-related disasters will become more frequent and far reaching, posing serious challenges to economies and escalating social unrest. There is a critical need for new and innovative approaches that can strengthen resilience, contribute to the recovery and minimise the economic and social impact of future disruption. We are looking for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and technologies that build resilience in three areas: business continuity, socially inclusive services and environmental protection.

Business innovation will play a critical role in both the recovery from the current pandemic, and developing resilience to future shocks, as we strive to build a new rewired economy that is underpinned by sustainability principles, reducing inequality and improving wellbeing.



Ben Kellard

Ben Kellard 

Director of Business Strategy, CISL


Beata BienkowskaBeata Bienkowska

Programme Manager, CISL

Ivo DewitIvo Dewit

PhD of Product Development at University of Antwerp, co-founder of Service Design Network Chapter Belgium


Nick LythNick Lyth

CEO of Green Angel Syndicate

Simon HumphreySimon Humphrey

Senior Sustainability Manager, Arm


Helen TurtonHelen Turton

New Client Manager, Enterprise Europe Network

Peter BachmanPeter Bachman

Angel Investor and Fund Manager, Vala Capital


Richard DavisRichard Davis

Chief Business Strategy Officer, Dentsu Aegis Network

I4C Contributor   Andrea GangheriAndrea Gangheri

Senior Associate, CISL


I4C Contributor   Matthew HarrisonMatthew Harrison

CEO, B2B International

I4C + I4SF Contributor   Katie AtkinsonKatie Atkinson

CEO, The Runway Media


I4C Contributor   Nick VilliersNick Villiers

Director the Centre for Sustainable Finance, CISL

I4C Contributor   Gianluca RuggieroGianluca Ruggiero

CEO, Massive Data Heights


I4C +SI4FD Contributor   ViolaViola Jardon

Programme Manager, CISL

I4C Contributor   Andrew BloxhamAndrew Bloxam

Director, Foresight 


I4C Contributor   Arun MuthirulanArun Muthirulan

Lead Innovation Growth Adviser, Exemplas



How it works

The Innovators for Change Accelerator programme will provide fast track business support to develop and strengthen your innovation through a structured eight-week online programme, delivered by the CISL Accelerator.

Programme outline:

Week 1: Introduction - virtual meet the cohort, introduce your concept, and explore the key challenges and opportunities for innovators to develop business models with greater resilience, futureproofed for times of disruption.

Week 2-6: Business Labs with peer-innovators to exchange ideas, insights and best practices. The labs will cover topics of core importance to business development including: designing/re-designing your business model, growing and scaling-up your innovation; measuring and communicating impact; and financing your innovation.

Week 7: One-to-one clinics with CISL Accelerator Programme Managers and mentors from CISL’s network to develop your business concept and refine your pitch.

Week 8: Pitch to innovators – An online pitch competition, giving participating innovators an opportunity to translate all acquired knowledge and skills into action. Peer-to-peer feedback from the innovator community and the CISL Accelerator team. 

Estimated workload per week: 1-2 hours of online participation, plus preparation for the sessions of around 2-3 hours.


Applications for this programme are now closed. If you are interested in discussing future opportunities on this topic please get in touch.



Apply now