DIATOMIC India Accelerator

Applications close 24 July

Apply now

West Midlands based companies developing clean technologies are invited to apply to take part in a new six-month export-led programme led by Connected Places Catapult in partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

Known as the DIATOMIC India Accelerator, the programme is designed to prepare up to eight small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with innovative solutions to pressing climate issues, to access the burgeoning Indian market.

Applicants must have their main operational base in the West Midlands, and have products or solutions that are at least of a Technology Readiness Level of six – which means they have been demonstrated in a relevant environment.

A total funding pot of £80,000 is on offer which companies can apply for to carry out trials. Successful participants also benefit from business support, the chance to trial their technology, and the chance to explore new collaborations with Indian stakeholders.

Winning companies will be invited to send one senior team member on two market visits to Delhi, the National Capital Region and Haryana in November 2024 and February 2025, with travel expenses covered including flights and accommodation. The visit in February will coincide with India Energy Week.

Three challenges have been set for the DIATOMIC India Accelerator:

  • Future of Energy;
  • Future of Mobility;
  • Sustainable Urban Areas.

Companies who are welcomed onto the programme will receive tailored market readiness coaching as well as business support, pitch coaching and introductions to key commercial stakeholders.

The programme is aimed at growing bilateral innovation collaborations, trade and investment opportunities between India and the West Midlands – two markets recognised as having strong links in the past – as well as boosting jobs and growth for the UK.

Details of the three challenges for DIATOMIC India and eligibility criteria can be found below.

India offers great potential for the introduction of sustainable innovations to solve several pressing national challenges. These include tackling poor air quality, addressing a scarcity of water and deforestation. The country has also introduced several measures to introduce digital innovation through academic institutions, including the Indian Institute of Technology and the Delhi Urban Mobility Lab.

Application Support Webinar

Connected Places Catapult held an Application Support Webinar which offered more information about the programme, challenges and guidance on the application process. There was also a chance to ask any questions that applicants had. Watch the webinar below.

Key Dates

Programme Challenges

1: Future of Energy

India, with its rapidly growing population and accelerating economic development, is at a pivotal moment in balancing its energy demands with sustainability goals. As the nation advances toward ambitious targets – ensuring energy security, combating climate change, and providing reliable electricity for all – there is a pressing need for ground breaking energy solutions. Ranked third globally in renewable energy production, India aims to generate 500GW from renewables by 2030. This ambitious target presents unparalleled opportunities for innovation in the energy sector. We invite tech entrepreneurs from the West Midlands to drive this transformation by addressing key energy challenges:

  • Renewable energy production – Solar energy, wind energy and hydro energy, small-scale renewable energy production, hydrogen technologies.
  • Energy efficiency & optimisation – Scalable energy efficiency solutions for renewables (hydro, solar, wind), city wide energy mapping and management, energy efficient public street lighting.
  • Energy storage & distribution – Innovative battery technologies and alternative renewable energy storages, smart grid solutions, off-grid electrification.
  • Future Fuels – Renewable fuels production, storage and distribution, technologies and applications utilising renewable fuels (e.g. solar-pumps).
  • Heating & cooling technologies – Heat-pump technologies, district heating and cooling technologies, green fuels heating and cooling technologies, moveable / retrofit heating and cooling systems.

2: Future of Mobility

By 2050, around 60% of India’s population will reside in cities (Mint), calling for a robust, efficient, and clean urban mobility infrastructure to accommodate this urbanisation. India’s transport sector contributes 13.5% of energy-related emissions, with road transport accounting for 90% of the sector’s energy consumption (WRI India), making the transition to alternative fuel vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs) vital for decarbonisation.

Reliable cold chain networks are also needed to transport food and vaccines safely and efficiently. We are looking for innovative solutions in the following areas:

  • Technology powering Electric Vehicles (EVs): Electric vehicles 2 Wheel (W) / 3W / 4W, EV supportive technologies, EV charging
  • Last Mile Logistics (e.g. drones, community 2W)
  • Urban and inter regional cold chain transport for perishable food (from farm to retail) and/or pharmaceuticals and vaccines

3: Sustainable Urban Areas

India is rapidly urbanising. To meet the challenges of this urban expansion, India has launched several successful programmes aimed at creating sustainable cities through modern urban planning. As the focus intensifies on how to improve air and water quality and manage waste effectively, there is an urgent need for innovative technologies. Tech entrepreneurs from the West Midlands are invited to propose pioneering solutions in the following areas and beyond:

  • Waste Management, Resource Management & Circular Economy – Waste to energy, E-waste management, wastewater sludge to value, dumpsite remediation.
  • Green & Sustainable Construction – Sustainable housing, resource efficiency, district cooling, green places.
  • Air Quality – Emission measurement, emission control devices, non-harming chemicals and solvents, eliminating waste-to-air emissions, remote sensing.
  • Water Quality – Wastewater recycle and use, non-revenue water mitigation, energy efficiency for water utilities.
  • Citizen Engagement – Sustainability consultancy, E-governance, community engagement platforms, behavioural transformation.

What’s on offer to SMEs?

Two Market Visits to India

Including tailored business meetings and showcasing opportunities.

Travel and Hotel Costs

Expenses covered for accommodation and flights to India for one senior team member.

Market Readiness Support

Tailored support to prepare you for doing business in India.

Funding Opportunities

Opportunity to access our fund for product or trial development.

Coaching and Mentoring

Including pitch coaching, business support and VC support.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, applicants: 

  • You must be a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise
  • You must be a UK registered company
  • Your company’s main operational base must be in the West Midlands
  • An innovative solution with a Technology Readiness Level of 6 or above
  • You must be able to attend both market visits to India
  • You must be willing to travel on occasion for face-to-face meetings in addition to the market visits in India (but most of the business support programme will be conducted virtually)
  • You must have a fit with one (or more) of the challenges
  • You might already be working in India, or starting to explore opportunities there, or have identified India as a high potential market which is a good fit for your business

How to apply

Apply through the link below. Applications close 24 July.

Apply now

Supporting Documents

Accelerator Terms & ConditionsAdditional ContextApplication Guidance

Point of contact

If you have any questions about the programme and application, please contact:

David Watters, Accelerator Programme Manager, Connected Places Catapult. david.watters@cp.catapult.org.uk

Venetia Hulse, Accelerator Programme Team Lead, Connected Places Catapult. venetia.hulse@cp.catapult.org.uk

The DIATOMIC India Accelerator is being led by Connected Places Catapult in collaboration with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and the West Midlands Growth Company, the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology, Innovate UK and the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Logo of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, featuring a stylized "B" with a leaf motif in black and blue, next to the text "Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.