Environmental tech firm secures first investment from new Catalyst Fund

By John Glover

Sustainable Thinking Scotland (STS) has become the first social enterprise in Scotland to secure investment from Firstport and Social Enterprise Scotland's Catalyst Fund.

The biochar business has received an investment of £190,000 to enable them to bring its technology to market.

Biochar is made from baking waste wood and other biomass at high temperatures, helping to draw down carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, storing it for hundreds to thousands of years.

STS’s innovations let it be used as a bio-absorbent to tackle the problem of nutrient pollution in waterways, which can lead to toxic algae blooms. The biochar can use collected nutrients from the toxic algae blooms to be added to the soil used in food production.

The money will be used to accelerate the growth of its project, increase production capacity and research and development, as well as to employ staff and develop core business operations.

The social enterprise will repay the investment via a share of its revenue.

The Catalyst Fund, launched in June this year, is designed to finance ambitious social enterprises in Scotland.

It offers loans starting at £50,000 using a revenue-based repayment model, providing social enterprises flexible finance in the early stages of development.

STS was established in 2016 by Sean Kerr and Stephen McQueen to help tackle social and environmental issues in their local area of Bo’ness.

Kerr, director at STS, said: “Our mission is to be Scotland’s leading organisation in the development and targeted application of biochar, driving innovation within water remediation technologies and land management, creating a circular economy model which benefits both our environment and the people within our communities."

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