skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Accelerator to Net Zero II


Virtual Accelerator programme for startups with high impact potential for enabling the net zero transition, accelerating their pathway towards commercial success in sustainability-driven markets.  


Six-week, free-of-charge, virtual Accelerator programme with bespoke one-to-one mentoring, culminating in a Demo Day in Cambridge. 


Startups at the early stage of market entry, developing scalable innovative products and services for decarbonising the economy.  

Key Dates 

Deadline for applications is 23:59 GMT, 16 October. The programme will run between 1 November and 9 December. 

Applications for this programme have now closed.


Following the success of last year's Accelerator to Net Zero, we are happy to announce our second free net zero programme for startups offering scalable innovative solutions for decarbonising the economy.

It is essential the world economy reduces CO2 emissions in order to help fulfil net zero targets, and the opportunities that it presents for new businesses are vast. Zero carbon solutions are now becoming competitive across all sectors representing 25% of emissions.[i] This accelerator aims to help you transform your skillsets, challenge your preconceptions and prepare your enterprise for the next steps on its journey.



The emphasis of the programme is on product development for maximising the opportunities arising from the net zero transition, and on launching these new products in increasingly sustainability-driven markets.


Content and benefits

There will be dedicated support, and comprehensive workshops on

  • creating social and economic value from net zero transition opportunities,
  • explore challenges in product development and marketing for the net zero economy,
  • protecting and commercialising intellectual property rights,
  • negotiating effectively,
  • securing funding,
  • pitching and putting it into practice in a demo day.

The programme offers bespoke one-to-one mentoring, peer-to-peer networking, and access to CISL's sustainability ecosystem. In addition, there will be a dedicated networking session with our programme sponsor, The British Standards Institution.

The cohort will benefit from interacting with leading experts from the industry, investment and entrepreneurial communities. The qualifying alumni will have the chance to get a free, six months-long virtual membership to the Canopy.



The six-week, free-of-charge programme will be delivered mostly virtually, with an in-person demo day in Cambridge, by a dedicated CISL team with a great selection of expert speakers.



Juliet Davenport

OBE - President, the Energy Institute

Clare Shine

Director and CEO of University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership


Peter Bachmann

Managing Director, Sustainable Infrastructure, Gresham House

Dr Michael Anstey

Partner, Cambridge Innovation Capital


Helen Turton

Client Engagement and Ecosystem Relationship Manager, Innovate UK EDGE

Arun Muthirulan

Lead Innovation and Growth Specialist, Innovate UK EDGE


Dr Doroteya Vladimirova

Fellow, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Erenn Ore

Programme Manager, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership


James Thwaites

Associate Director, Whitecap Consulting Limited

Joseph Simon-Brown

Partner, J A Kemp


Devon Smiley

Negotiation & Commercial Consultant




Application criteria

  • Incorporated in England at least one year prior to the start of the programme. The priority will be given to those located in parts of the East of England
  • Employ full-time staff.
  • Have already secured external funding.
  • Have innovative product(s) and service(s) with clear potential to accelerate the net zero transition.
  • Be at the early stage of market entry or the piloting stage.

Applications for this programme have now closed.


Key dates

Deadline for applications is 23:59 GMT, 16 October. The programme will run between 1 November and 8 of December.




The Accelerator to Net Zero is co-funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund and the British Standards Institution.

Founded in 1901, the BSI is a world-leading national standards body that helps its clients operate in a way that is safer, more secure and more sustainable. BSI recently established a Cambridge Innovation Lab with pure focus on sustainability.