A green entrepreneur from Nailsworth in Gloucestershire has received a £25,000 Start Up Loan through SWIG Finance to help create a new independent certification for cleaner air.
Poor air quality causes adverse effects for both the environment and human health. Enjoy The Air was established to tackle this by providing environmental data and analytics to help cities improve air quality in a way that is increasingly required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and needed by local people.
The Start Up Loan is being used to create a new sustainability-focused certification called HALO (High Ambitions, Low Obstacles), which recognises and rewards cities who meet the stricter WHO air quality limits. HALO will be engaging cities, businesses and communities in peer-to-peer learning to help them overcome their unique challenges and obstacles in creating cleaner air.
The business was co-founded in December 2020 by Kate Barnard and her Australian-based business partner, Errol Kruger. Errol had been running a similar venture in South East Asia, the pair met via Linkedin and decided to join forces based on their mutual beliefs, interests and expertise in minimising air pollution.
Kate is a qualified mechanical engineer with an impressive background which includes more than 20 years’ experience with Rolls Royce. As a female engineer working in a male-dominated industry, Kate is part of the 0.2% of female Fellows of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
Enjoy The Air set themselves an ambition back in 2020 to be present at COP26 and have a product to launch. The founders knew that, to retain competitive advantage and gain commercial traction, they would need to push the business to be ready for promotion at this significant climate change event, and so external funding was essential to move forwards their plans.
Because the business was “early stage”, their bank couldn’t help. However, Kate heard about SWIG Finance through her local Growth Hub, Gloucestershire First, and made an online application with the support of business manager, Sarah Osborn. Sarah was able to support Kate’s application by working with her to make the best case for finance, which resulted in the application being approved.
Enjoy The Air now employs 5 people and plan to expand their head count as the business grows.
Looking forward, Enjoy The Air plans to create a set of guiding principles to help other countries, including Australia and America, to improve their air quality using data and analytics. In the meantime, there is a focus on large towns and cities in the UK where there is a huge commitment to good environmental practice and making a difference to the air that people breathe.
In addition, the next product in the suite is ‘Air Rated’, an authoritative source on the composition of the air in UK Cities. Data on biodiversity, land use and even water quality are too often masked to put a spin on ESG and developer proposals. ETA Air Rated is a true indicator of community wellbeing and underlying prosperity.
Kate said “Without this funding we would have been quite drastically behind with our plans. We would, most likely, not have been ready to showcase our business at the COP26 event, which was the most significant climate related event in the calendar. Sarah was exceedingly tenacious on my behalf, and ultimately, because she worked so hard to understand the business and my own personal circumstance, she was able to successfully make our case”.
SWIG’s business manager, Sarah, commented “We were delighted to support Kate and Enjoy The Air. This business is innovative and radical and is paving the way for progressive change both nationally and internationally. Kate is a highly successful person with a strong background and, along with Errol, they have the passion and the technical skills needed to make a real difference”.
Richard Bearman, Managing Director at Start Up Loans, said: “Start Up Loans is here to help people like Kate Barnard gain access to the funding and support they need to start a business. What Kate has achieved with Enjoy The Air is commendable and I’m proud Start Up Loans has played a part in helping her and so many others across the country to realise their ambition of business ownership.”