Sustainable Start-up Award

Sustainable Start-up Award


PNE Group delivered a bespoke grant funding programme for North East businesses tackling issues around sustainability.


About the Sustainable Start-up Award (SSA)

The Award provides up to £1,000 to start-ups that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The discretionary grants can be for businesses making a positive social or environmental impact, or to cover costs that enable the business to be more sustainable (for example, purchasing recycled materials or energy efficient tools or equipment). As well as financial assistance, successful applicants are eligible for one-to-one mentoring and invited to attend workshops and masterclasses by leading business professionals. The initiative, which is supported by a private funder, is aimed at businesses ready to launch, or that are less than twelve months old, and founded by North East (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Teesside) residents aged 18-30.


The result:

The fund continues to deliver support to sustainability focused businesses in the North East. Examples of businesses supported by the fund include:


Isabella West, Hirestreet

“The Sustainable Start-up Award has helped me fund the business myself, keeping it 100% privately owned. This gives me the freedom to continue to build Hirestreet in line with my vision, without having to worry about external investor demands, or aggressively driving revenues to pay off loans. The impact will therefore continue to be felt as we grow organically over the coming months.”

Hirestreet enables customers to rent and return high-street fashion for a fraction of the retail price. Founded by 25-year-old Isabella West, the business aims to tackle the textile waste problem by providing affordable clothing available to rent for 10 days. A recipient of PNE Enterprise’s Sustainable Start-up Award, Isabella hopes Hirestreet will support women across the UK to reduce their fashion footprint.

View the case study >


Beth Fuller, Noa Vee

“The Sustainable Start-up Award has allowed me to ensure that I begin the e-commerce element of my business with the best first step, meaning that the legal side of things are taken care of and I’m moving forward with a legitimate and secure working relationship with the brands I platform.”

The standards of the beauty industry are ever-changing, influenced by shifting expectations in society and representations in the media. Embracing diversity has become a top priority for brands across the globe, and new movements are championing authentic beauty. Noa Vee, one of the first businesses to have been awarded the Sustainable Start-up Award, is just one of the newly-founded brands leading the movement.


Dale Parker, Buddy Bubbles

“Gaining the Sustainable Start-up Award was huge for me. Getting the funds to gain my safety assessments and insurance has helped me start my business a lot sooner than I would have if I didn’t have that funding.”

When it comes to the overall health and well-being of our canine companions, there’s no underestimating the importance of grooming. For one North East start-up, Buddy Bubbles, the solution is simple: remove unnecessary chemicals and detergents in favour of natural, homemade and vegan alternatives to dog shampoo and conditioner.


What we did:

Our delivery of the Sustainable Start-up Award includes:

  • Benchmarking the regional sustainable start-up support offer to identify the market need
  • The design of the fund to meet provision gaps identified in the benchmarking study and to optimise impact
  • The recruitment, assessment, funding and monitoring of applicants


Find out more about our grant management services >


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