Impact Hub London is thrilled to announce the return of the Shine Program UK‘s second edition – now accepting applications!

Once again, we are teaming up with Swiss Re and our partners at BOOKBRIDGE to incubate resilience in the UK. The Shine Program UK’s second edition aims to empower the next generation of social innovators in transforming their ideas and solutions into scalable business models with the potential for maximum social impact. After a successful first edition last year, we are looking to support early-stage entrepreneurs, who are trying to address challenges in the areas of climate risk management (Climate-smart agriculture, Disaster risk reduction, transformation to net zero – e.g. renewable energy, afforestation, recycling,) and access to health (including healthy nutrition).

Selected social entrepreneurs will embark on a five-month immersive nurture program. During this journey, they will be closely mentored by Swiss Re experts and receive guidance. Together, they will craft financially viable and scalable business plans.

As an added incentive, at the culmination of the Shine Program, the chosen innovator will have the opportunity to secure a financial award of up to GBP 30,000 to fuel their growth.

Don’t miss this chance to be a part of the Shine Program UK’s second edition. To apply, click here.

The application deadline is November 30.

For more details, you can also explore our brochure by clicking here.

Impact Hub London Euston at Regent’s Place will offer “affordable and accessible workspaces” to local community 

Impact Hub London is in a landmark new deal with British Land to open a new innovative workspace in partnership with London’s Knowledge Quarter at British Land’s Regent’s Place Campus, Warren Street. Impact Hub London Euston at Regent’s Place will open its doors in April 2024. 

A growing social enterprise supported by a global network, Impact Hub London Euston at Regent’s Place will offer under-served local communities affordable workspace and tailored business support, as well as arrange impactful engagement activities throughout Camden. London Euston is already part of the renowned Knowledge Quarter innovation district, home to world-class institutions such as UCL, the British Museum, the Wellcome Trust, The Francis Crick Institute, and leading tech companies such as Meta, Google, LinkedIn and Benevolent AI.   

Rooted firmly within the local community, Impact Hub London has a mission to support social, cultural, and economic development, while bridging the innovation gap between science and technology, and local communities. The Knowledge Quarter partnership will utilise the space to connect its prestigious partners with start-ups and community groups directly.   

The new space is 10 645 sq. ft and will include private offices, dedicated desks, flexible co-working spaces, meeting rooms and a large state of the art event space.  This will be the Knowledge Quarter’s new headquarters, moving from the British Library. 

The Knowledge Quarter area is an international leader in life sciences, data science and digital collections.  As a result, this has led to exciting new cross-disciplinary research and business start-ups within the area. A quarter of all London’s life sciences companies are based in the Knowledge Quarter, as well as one-third of all AI businesses in London. Looking ahead at the next few years, the Knowledge Quarter will be home to Google’s European headquarters, the UK Dementia Research Institute, a new extension of the British Library, MSD’s Discovery Research Centre and a new site for Moorfield Eye Hospital. 

The new launch follows the success of Impact Hub London’s King’s Cross location, which opened its doors in 2008 and has supported over 1000 entrepreneurs, and delivered 15 business support programmes. Across Camden and Islington, Impact Hub London currently delivers The Circular Start Up, which supports aspiring entrepreneurs develop solutions to the climate crisis, and New Roots, a mentoring and peer-to-peer programme for entrepreneurs from minority ethnic backgrounds.   

Impact Hub London will be delivering two Incubators, one in Camden and on in Islington, aimed at boosting the social economy within the life science and health sectors. This activity is part of the Boosting Life Sciences Social Economy programme funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and aims to support local entrepreneurs, to start inclusive and co-created solutions to address local health inequities. 

Devi Clark, Managing Director at Impact Hub London, commented;

“Our London Euston location is a significant milestone in our mission to empower local communities across London. This dynamic and inclusive space will foster collaboration, and promote socially and environmentally beneficial innovation, making innovation accessible and inclusive for everyone. 

Jodie Eastwood, CEO at London’s Knowledge Quarter, commented:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Impact Hub London to launch a new innovation hub within our vibrant Knowledge Quarter, affirming our dedication to inclusive innovation. The new space will be a place for businesses, academia, and the local community to converge and collaborate. By linking world-renowned institutions and ambitious start-ups with the local communities, we’re confident that this partnership will fulfil the heart of the Knowledge Quarter’s mission.”  

Simon Hepher-Davies, Asset Manager at British Land, commented:

“At Regent’s Place we are creating an innovation and life sciences campus in Central London, and it is essential that we provide a range of different types of spaces for these occupiers, from starts ups to larger businesses. This partnership enables us to provide affordable workspace for small businesses, who we can then hopefully support with future space in our campus as they evolve and grow.” 

Book a tour here

About Impact Hub London 

Impact Hub London has supported social entrepreneurs for 15 years. We seek to inspire, connect and enable people to take entrepreneurial action to pioneer a just and sustainable world where business and profit are used in service of people and planet. We are part of a global network of 110+ Impact Hubs and over 26,000 impact-driven members  

Alongside running a coworking space and online community, we deliver early and growth stage programmes and capacity building for social entrepreneurs and build ecosystems for them to collaborate, learn and deliver impact at scale. To develop a fairer and more sustainable economy, IHL provides targeted business support programmes aimed at entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds that ordinarily have less access to such support. These efforts help ensure that the sector is more inclusive and enables people to improve their livelihood and the lives of their families/communities through entrepreneurship. 

 Recognised as sector leaders in London, we are deeply engaged within the social enterprise sector, local communities, corporates and local government. We are part of the Collective Leaders Group that include Hatch and the Young Foundation, and a founding member of The Knowledge Quarter. Partners and collaborators include SEUK, Bank of America, London & Partners, Islington & Camden Councils, GLA, Housing Associations and local community organisations. 

About The Knowledge Quarter

The Knowledge Quarter is a partnership of over 100 academic, cultural, research, scientific and media organisations within a one-mile radius comprising of King’s Cross, Bloomsbury and Euston.    

Collectively, the geographic area of the Knowledge Quarter contains possibly the greatest knowledge cluster anywhere in the world and is the UK’s largest innovation district.  

  The KQ’s partners range from internationally significant research institutes to emerging organisations in the creative industries. Partners include the British Museum, Google, UCL, University of the Arts London, Digital Catapult, Wellcome Trust, and the British Library. The partners might be vastly different, but we all share one common purpose: the creation and dissemination of knowledge.   

The Knowledge Quarter works together to unlock their diverse neighbourhoods’ unique resources of knowledge and innovation, for the benefit of all. It works to break down barriers and stimulate dialogue between knowledge producing organisations across Camden and Islington  

About British Land 

Our portfolio of high-quality UK commercial property is focused on London Campuses and Retail & London Urban Logistics. We own or manage a portfolio valued at £13.0bn (British Land share: £8.9bn) as at 31 March 2023 making us one of Europe’s largest listed real estate investment companies.  

We create Places People Prefer, delivering the best, most sustainable places for our customers and communities. Our strategy is to leverage our best in class platform and proven expertise in development, repositioning and active management, investing behind two key themes: Campuses and Retail & London Urban Logistics.  

Our three Campuses at Broadgate, Paddington Central and Regent’s Place are dynamic neighbourhoods, attracting growth customers and sectors, and offering some of the best connected, highest quality and most sustainable space in London. We are delivering our fourth Campus at Canada Water, where we have planning consent to deliver 5m sq ft of residential, commercial, retail and community space over 53 acres. Our Campuses account for 63% of our portfolio.  

Retail & London Urban Logistics accounts for 37% of the portfolio and is focused on retail parks which are aligned to the growth of convenience, online and last mile fulfilment. We are complementing this with urban logistics primarily in London, focused on development-led opportunities.  

Sustainability is embedded throughout our business. Our approach is focused on three key pillars where British Land can create the most benefit: Greener Spaces, making our whole portfolio net zero carbon by 2030, Thriving Places, partnering to grow social value and wellbeing in the communities where we operate and Responsible Choices, advocating responsible business practices across British Land and throughout our supply chain, and maintaining robust governance structures.  

Further details can be found on the British Land website at 


Our latest #FoodTalks event explored,  “Where next for seafood sustainability?”, with industry experts Amy Hammond, Head of Ocean and Blue Economy Practise at Sea Horse Environmental, and Momo Kochena, a member of the Sustainable Fisheries Trust (SFACT), leading the discussion. 

When we talk about food sustainability, seafood often gets overlooked, but it plays a critical role in our global food system. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has become a recognisable benchmark for sustainability in fish and seafood with its ‘Blue Tick’ checkmark. Established in 1997 by Unilever and WWF, the MSC certifies wild fish to ensure responsible fishing practices. Over the years, it has gained significant support from major retailers and brands, leading to the certification of 20% of the world’s marine catch and almost 50% of the tuna catch. However, as the MSC’s influence grows, experts are raising questions about the future of seafood sustainability.

Managing Fish Stocks

At the latest #FoodTalks event, experts discussed the need for local communities to take a more active role in managing fish stocks. The On the Hook campaign, spearheaded by Amy Hammond, initially aimed to challenge the recertification of the world’s largest tuna fishery, the PNA. It later broadened its scope to review the MSC’s overall effectiveness. The focus is now on exploring new approaches to seafood certification, particularly for small-scale fisheries.

Small-scale fisheries play a vital role, contributing 40% of the global catch and supporting 90% of employment in the industry. Yet, they often face challenges as they remain largely invisible at policy levels. Around 90% of fishing vessels in and around the UK are small-scale, but their volume does not compare to that of large industrial vessels.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for small-scale fisheries. They require data collection that is relevant to their daily operations, combining environmental and social projects to incentivise their engagement, long-term commitment, and fair trade certification. Engaging small-scale fisheries in sustainability discussions is essential to create market access, empower communities, and share the costs of sustainability efforts.

Momo Kuchen highlighted the importance of market-based development initiatives like Community Catch. Community Catch serves as a ‘switchboard’ for small-scale fisheries, guiding them towards market access and providing the necessary tools and support infrastructure for their journey.

So, what can we do as responsible citizens? 

First and foremost, “Know where your fish comes from.” Understanding the origin of the seafood we consume allows us to make more informed choices.  Additionally, we can be more adventurous in our seafood choices, exploring a variety of species to ease pressure on heavily targeted ones.

MSC has been a significant milestone in seafood sustainability efforts, but the time has come to explore new paths. Emphasising the role of local communities, supporting small-scale fisheries, and promoting responsible consumption are vital steps toward a more sustainable future. As consumers, we hold the power to influence change through our choices, and by demanding transparency and responsibility from the seafood industry, we can contribute to a healthier ocean and a thriving seafood ecosystem.

About the Speakers:

Amy Hammond, as the Head of Ocean and Blue Economy Practice at Sea Horse Environmental, has been leading the On the Hook campaign for the past five years. This campaign focuses on critiquing and improving the MSC, especially in the context of global tuna fisheries facing complex environmental and social challenges.

Momo Kochen brings extensive experience in working with small-scale fisheries in developing countries across Indonesia and Latin America. As part of the core team at the Sustainable Fisheries Trust (SFACT), Momo is actively involved in developing new initiatives to engage small-scale fisheries in sustainability discussions, including the possibility of a better-adapted certification program.


Following the successful Environment Talks Event, How to tell your impact story and distinguish yourself from Greenwashing, where we heard from expert entrepreneurs, Camilla Marcus Dew, Head of Ventures at Connection Crew CIC & Rebecca Ghim, Founder & Director at The Ferm, we’ve put together a summary of how businesses harness impact marketing and differentiate themselves from greenwashing.

In today’s world, where environmental consciousness is rising, consumers are increasingly looking for products and services that align with their values. However, with greenwashing rampant across all sectors, distinguishing genuine environmental efforts from false claims has become a challenge. Many businesses use vague and misleading language like ‘green’, ‘natural’, and ‘environmentally friendly’, causing confusion and scepticism among customers.

Amidst this confusion, social enterprises must learn how to effectively tell their impact stories to potential customers, segment their audiences, and select the best channels to reach funders and share their journey towards positive change for people and the planet.

Showcase Your Unique Selling Points

To stand out from the competition, it’s crucial to identify and showcase your unique selling points and environmental commitments. Research your competitors and use the findings to emphasise what sets you apart.

Utilise Certifications and Measurements

In the beginning, startups may not have the resources to obtain prominent certifications. However, there are free certifications available, like SEUK or Bcorp criteria, which can provide credibility and transparency. Additionally, measuring your carbon footprint and positive impacts can be accomplished through free platforms like the SME Climate Hub.

Tailor Your Story to Different Audiences

Understanding your target audience is vital. B2B customers often value the impact of your products but still require a solid commercial message. However, B2C customers may need education about your product’s impact and relevance to environmental issues.

Be Clear and Transparent

Avoid buzzwords and jargon that confuse consumers and contribute to greenwashing. Instead, be clear and transparent about what problems your product or service genuinely addresses and the positive contributions it makes.

Simplify Your Marketing Messages

Environmental issues can be complex, but simplifying your marketing messages can make it easier for consumers to understand your impact. Focus on specific goals with measurable outcomes, such as using “compostable plastic” instead of zero single-use plastics.

Seek Support and Expertise

If you lack the technical expertise to measure and communicate your impact, seek help from organisations and universities that can guide you. Collaborating with experts can strengthen your credibility and add value to your impact story.

Prioritise Integrity and Honesty

Above all, be honest and transparent with your customers. If your product is not yet perfect or doesn’t meet certain environmental standards, communicate your intentions and goals. Customers appreciate honesty, and supporting your journey toward improvement can foster trust and loyalty.

Telling your impact story effectively and distinguishing yourself from greenwashing requires a thoughtful approach. Prioritise transparency, credibility, and authenticity in your communication. 

By showcasing your unique selling points, leveraging certifications and measurements, and understanding your audience’s needs, you can build a compelling impact marketing strategy that resonates with customers, grows your network, and sets your social enterprise on the path to success. 

Eight social enterprises (SEs) have won a spot on a unique business support programme led by Wates Group and Impact Hub London, giving them an opportunity to expand nationally and secure larger contracts.  

The seven-month Assisting Social Enterprises to Succeed (ASSETS) programme provides expert mentoring, workshops and peer sessions for a carefully selected group of social or environmental impact-driven suppliers to improve their readiness to scale up and successfully compete UK-wide. Wates employees will be volunteering their time to support the SEs as part of the project and Wates’ wider social value commitments.   

The scheme, now in its third year, has already supported nine SEs, driving an average of 25% growth across the four businesses supported in 2022. Participants said it strengthened their commercial awareness and entrepreneurial talents, laying the groundwork for future business growth. 

Now with the involvement of People’s Postcode Lottery and BSS – part of Travis Perkins Group – more businesses will benefit from the scheme. 

From supporting young offenders into work to empowering communities to care for the spaces around them, the social enterprises awarded a spot on this year’s scheme are:

Su Pickerill, Head of Social Value at Wates, said: 

“It is a real privilege to be embarking on year three of ASSETS, supporting Social Enterprises (SEs) to scale and it’s great that this year we can grow the programme by bringing in BSS, part of the Travis Perkins Group, to partner with us and support more SEs. Furthermore, input from PPL will formalise research and learning to drive impact. 

“We have identified a broad cohort of SEs that will receive mentoring and workshop input and I look forward to watching their interactions with the mentors and to seeing their knowledge, awareness and impact increase.” 

Angelica Santodomingo, Senior Programmes Manager of Impact Hub London, said: 

“We are delighted to launch the 2023 cohort of the Assisting Social Enterprises to Succeed (ASSETS) programme; it has a strong track record of supporting social enterprises in the construction industry supply chain, and we are excited to work with our partners to help more organisations achieve their goals and have a greater impact.”

Dave Castle, Managing Director of BSS, said: 

“As a business at the heart of our communities, we take great pride in making positive local changes happen. Working closely with our customers and partners we believe that collaboration can be a real engine for change, so we are excited to be a partner in this programme and support social entrepreneurs in our industry as they look to innovate and positively impact the communities where we live and work.”

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: 

“The launch of the ASSETS programme is a demonstration of our commitment to empowering social enterprises in the construction industry supply chain. We hope that the £78k awarded thanks to our players will enable participating businesses to scale their operations and secure larger contracts helping to foster a sustainable future for our construction industry.”

Find out more about ASSETS here

With the run-up to Clean Air Day on 15 June, our Board Advisor Gaby Jesson has co-written this article with Paul Finch, co-founder of a new accelerator programme: Breathable Cities.  The article explores the devastating effects of air pollution and examines why there aren’t more startups tackling toxic air – indoors and outdoors.

Air pollution contributes to 38,000 deaths in the UK alone and 6.5 million people across the world. In fact, poor air quality is the largest threat to environmental health in the UK. 

“I found it easier to raise £400k with nothing but an idea on a terrible deck than I do now” – Startup Founder

At Growth Studio, we help startups focused on improving planet health, succeed, grow and attract investment. Indeed, it’s fundamental to our own success that our startup community secure motivated investors.  And our most recent Breathable Cities programme for clean air startups is no exception. 

And yet while some stats point to a rosy picture of investment, (UK tech firms raised $29.9bn in 2022, making us the third largest country for tech investment after the US and China according to DealRoom),  on the ground – it’s been tougher than ever.  

Climate and environmentally-led startups seeking early-stage investment have been struggling. We’ve seen founders secure fewer meetings, experienced many more rounds of pitches than usual, and seen much longer and arduous due diligence and higher rates of rejections. 

2022 has been a tough year (thank you Brexit, inflation rates, war, Covid, Big Tech layoffs…). Investors have become more risk averse, some focusing on existing portfolio investments rather than new deals and de-risking what and who they invest into.  

In fact, according to a survey from London Tech Week, almost half (47%) of climate tech leaders said they could not raise enough funding last year.

But perhaps a change in this gloomy trend is underway. Recent research shows investment in climate-related technology has overtaken fintech investment. In fact, it has doubled. Could this be the beginning of a new surge of interest? PitchBook estimates the climate tech market will be near $1.4 trillion in five years, representing a сompound annual growth rate of 8.8%. 

So why aren’t there more clean air startups? 

The UK government attributes between 28,000 and 35,000 premature deaths each and every year from air pollution, with (conservative) estimates putting the number of deaths globally at over seven million. Long-term exposure can also lead to “reduced life expectancy [from] cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and lung cancer”.

As Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer says,

air pollution is everybody’s problem and a problem at all times.

In truth, air pollution is a problem in every city, in every country, every day. Air pollution is global and growing. It’s urgent. Why aren’t we inundated with new solutions from the startup world?

To answer that, we have to consider the challenges that both investors and startups have faced.

  • The B2G issue.  Many startups sell to governments, local councils and large organisations, all notorious for long, slow, laborious tender processes, iffy about new companies, and lacking on the innovation front. The long sales cycles and culture of the buyers puts investors off.
  • The intangibility of the problem. Yes, it’s a global problem. Yes, it kills. Yes, it’s an issue, but …. Can you touch it? See it? We’ve heard that the lack of a problem you can see, feel, and taste makes it harder for investors to get on board.
  • The burst of the monitoring bubble. Many investors saw the rise and fall of air monitoring startups and solutions, few of whom have turned into the go-to solution that had been predicted.
  • Impact. Frankly, it’s really hard to meaningfully assess the impact of an early-stage solution in a manner that excites investors.
  • The carbon capture dilution. As one founder put it, “Everyone conflates carbon capture (sexy) with air pollution (less so). It means that investors think they may be investing in air quality when they aren’t.”

And as for startups? The environment has been tough. 

  • Air Quality startups are capital-intensive endeavours at their early stage; they need software, hardware and smart expensive people engineers, data scientists, and environmental experts. 
  • Measuring and solving air quality often means depending on city-wide infrastructure;  other people’s buildings, streets, monitors, and data. This introduces complexity.
  • Many founders are engineers. They’re ‘product-people’ and not necessarily entrepreneurs or serial founders meaning they also have to learn how to run a business and fundraise. 4. 
  • Validation is tough. Data to help validate and model is available – but not always obvious to find. Similarly, experts are out there and want to help founders, but often not in the places a lot of founders have access to.
  • The ecosystem is vocal but fragmented. There are lots of passionate people wanting to help, but few – if any – places to centralise knowledge, learnings, skills, and hang out. It means access to people for help, introductions, expertise, and support is hard to find.
  • Air quality-specific investors are hard to find. Those who invest in hardware, tech, Smart-cities or sustainability are often open to hearing pitches, but only a handful would certify themselves as ‘air quality investors’. 

This is why we launched Breathable Cities in partnership with Impact on Urban Health. We have taken all of the challenges that have prevented the most innovative, exciting, scalable startups from seeing their deserved light of day, and designed a specialist investor-readiness programme dedicated to startups tackling air pollution in cities. We want to build on the brilliant work that is already happening in the UK and supercharge it.

And given the changing planetary and investor climate, we think it’s the right time to support the startups tackling air pollution.

Find out more here.

In 2022, Impact Hub teamed up with GoDaddy once again, this time to develop the New Roots alumni pilot programme to give additional support to those entrepreneurs who had already gone through the New Roots experience.

Since 2020, New Roots is our free business support programme, powered by GoDaddy, offering bespoke 1:1 mentorship, peer-to-peer sessions, and workshops. The programme assists local entrepreneurs from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in Camden and Islington, providing them with entrepreneurial knowledge, training, and the tools they need to achieve success. This year, New Roots collaborated with an external business consultant, Sarah Rafique, who helped design the programme, using her experience of running a social enterprise to add value to the experience of participants. 

In the alumni pilot, we welcomed back  Zey Binboga, the co-founder of Kurdish House London and who was been supported in developing her own business, Displaced, through New Roots 2.0. We sat down with Zey to talk about the alumni pilot and the progress of her business since she first became a part of New Roots.

Can you tell us about your experience with Impact Hub London and New Roots?

Being of Kurdish origin is a large part of my identity and a significant influence on my work and business. My dad is Kurdish, and my mum is German and Cypriot. I was born and raised in London until I was 11 when I moved to Cyprus for six or seven years and then came back to London.

I wanted to get to know other entrepreneurs who are Kurdish, which is when got involved in the Kurdish House London community which was based in Impact Hub. We organised recruitment events for the first New Roots cohort to make the programme known to our network, helping entrepreneurs shape their business ideas and offering our help to them to tackle the unique challenges associated with ethnic minorities. In 2020 I joined the second wave of the programme, and that is when I started developing the idea of Displaced.

Displaced is a community-focused organisation that provides workshops for diverse youth. Young people from diverse communities sometimes lose touch with the richness of culture, history, heritage and experiences that come from being a part of an ethnic minority. The goal of Displaced is to reconnect young adults with their community through conversations, like a form of group therapy, but fun!

Why did you choose to come back to New Roots?

What attracted me the most was having Sarah, the additional consultant, on the programme. We both come from minoritised backgrounds, which can come with our issues, that other people don’t necessarily understand. It can be difficult to feel like you belong in the business world and still be authentic and culturally expressive.

What were some of the difficulties you faced with your business before you joined the programme?

Before I started the alumni programme, I had paused Displaced as I was trying to get more experience running a social enterprise and testing Displaced’s methodology.  I initially thought about focusing on grants, but, due to my experience running Kurdish House London and collaborating with other grassroots community organisations, I realised that grants could be unsustainable and restrictive. I was having trouble trying to make an income without having to charge workshop participants.  

What have been the effects of the programme regarding the challenges you were facing? 

It’s been a total game-changer. The practical support I’ve received has helped me think of new ways to generate products and services creatively. For example,  one of my core products is a card game that helps initiate difficult conversations in a more intimate setting. Through the vehicle of a game, we can more easily approach difficult or traumatic conversations, helping people to connect with less resistance. 

My perspective as a founder has changed significantly through this experience. Now I understand ways to make an earned income and not rely solely on grant funding. 

Zey is raising funds to launch Displaced, via a Crowdfunder campaign. You can support her work here. 

Air pollution is responsible for 4.2 million deaths annually, with each human taking in the equivalent of a credit card of microplastic contamination a week. To counter this alarming issue, Falilat Omodudu has tapped into her experience in design as a women’s clothing designer and her master’s in material futures at Central St.Martin’s to craft recyclable, pollution-absorbing tiles and ceramics.

In 2022, Falilat enrolled in New Roots, our business support programme for aspiring entrepreneurs from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. New Roots offer bespoke 1:1 mentorship, peer-to-peer sessions, and workshops, powered by GoDaddy. The programme assists local entrepreneurs in Camden and Islington, providing them with entrepreneurial knowledge, training, and the tools they need to achieve success.

Falilat is halfway through the programme and taking advantage of peer-to-peer mentorship, training, and support to advance her business, In the Air.

We spoke with Falilat to hear more about In the Air and her journey thus far with New Roots.

What drove you to build a business that focuses on air pollution?

I was inspired by The Blue Economy by Gunter Pauli, which pushes regenerative ecosystems for a better world. The book articulates how you don’t need to invent a whole new thing to make a difference – a small change based on a simple idea is all it takes. In thinking about my business, I recognised that there are so many components to sustainability, from the social and environmental concerns, that it can feel quite overwhelming. I decided to use my design skills to combat air pollution, and in turn, help my community. 

In the Air is an expansion of my graduate project from my master’s degree, where I created tiles that can absorb pollutants and then change colours when they reach their maximum capacity. Once the tiles are full, they can be smashed up and recycled as floor or kitchen tiles.

Apart from the environmental advantages, the social side of In the Air is equally important to me, as it is mostly low-income individuals whose health suffers the most due to climate change. By cleaning the air, we’re paving the way to healthier societies and a healthier planet for everyone.

What were the difficulties you encountered with your business concept before you joined the program?

I struggled to find a source of funding for a studio and also lacked the know-how to put together a website, not knowing what content I should include as my ideas were quite complex. Taking part in New Roots has helped me refine the scope of my project, as well as my presentation skills, gain more understanding of the market and learn how to apply for grants.

What has been the influence of New Roots up to now?

Before joining New Roots, I had obtained my master’s with my business idea, but I was confused about how to put it into practice and start my own business.

Working with Sarah and Virginia, the programme advisors, helped me to clarify my business idea and understand what needed to be done to make my business come to life. Learning how to create a business plan at the beginning of this process, and having a mentor who helps me plan and implements each stage of this journey, is invaluable.

On top of the technical business advice, New Roots has reminded me of the importance of my work and helped rebuild my confidence, which I had lost while working on my master’s. As a woman of colour, the loss of confidence and imposter syndrome is something I’ve struggled with, but receiving the support and guidance from the New Roots team has made a world of difference.

Impact measurement is critical to sustainable & ethical businesses, but it is challenging to capture and measure data, resulting in poor reporting. 

What is Impact Measurement?

Impact measurement is the process of identifying and considering the positive and negative effects one’s business actions have on people and the planet, mitigating the negative impacts and maximising the positive in alignment with one’s goals. 

To help entrepreneurs better measure their impact, Impact Hub has developed the Embedding Circularity toolkit, a set of impact criteria measurement tools to help in this journey. 

We recently hosted a workshop with Mala Henriques, an Impact Hub associate, who delivered a circularity metrics workshop, to 26 businesses on our Circular Start-up programme, helping them to apply the Embedding Circularity toolkit.

Supported by JPMorgan Chase, the Circular Start-up is an 18-month business support programme aimed at helping 50 entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented communities to start businesses built around the principles of the circular economy. 

During the workshop, Mala highlighted how circularity metrics measure a business’ impact based on material use, energy use, and product design alongside the supply chain and social impact. 

We’ve created a summary of how to apply circularity metrics for businesses looking to apply circular economy principles to their businesses. 

Embedding circularity criteria

  1. Enablers and digitalization: How embedded is the circular economy within the business? 
  2. Circular business models: Does the organisation generate revenue through offering services rather than products, rethinking value for the producer and consumer? 
  3. Material use: The volume of non-virgin materials and waste recycled by the company 
  4. Circular product design: Are circular design criteria considered by the company?
  5. Energy and mobility: Does the company uses renewable electricity and energy for its logistics and operations?
  6. Social impact: Are diversity and inclusiveness embedded in the employment practices of the company? 

Applying the criteria

Impact measurement focuses on the priorities of the business. Choose the criteria that best highlight the organisation’s impact, rather than setting unrealistic goals to meet all six of the criteria.

To begin measurement

  1. Review your current circularity/impact status according to the embedding circularity criteria
  2. Decide on the most important criteria for your business
  3. Plan your roadmap to measure your impact using milestones and metrics 
  4. Regularly review your impact

Click here more about the Circular Start-up programme, or download the Embedding Circularity toolkit to begin your journey!

Today, we’re excited to share that Impact Hub King’s Cross is now Impact Hub London, It’s a change that enables us to go forward into new territories across the city.  

How it started 

When we opened the Hub in King’s Cross in 2008, we were pioneers of coworking. Our founders believed that when you bring changemakers together they create something greater than the sum of its parts. 

Over the years we have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, welcoming over 400 members every year and supporting over 800 enterprises in our programmes. We are the second oldest in a global network of 108 Impact Hubs in 63 countries, who inspire and support one another as we grow our impact together.   

Where We’re Going

With this evolution, our mission to accelerate entrepreneurial action that benefits people and the planet remains the same. Under our new name, we have greater room to grow in the city, with increased opportunities to build an even larger ecosystem of social entrepreneurs, enablers, innovators, and intrapreneurs that provoke change together.

Looking ahead, the future is as challenging as ever, but we are determined to make our economy more equitable and sustainable.  The cost of living, climate and health crises all demand urgent attention. These challenging problems require insightful solutions implemented by persistent changemakers, and we are here to help them do just that.  

We have always, at our core, been about accelerating entrepreneurial action that is impact-driven, and this mission matters now, more than ever.